Or "sexplay," as Lori Buckley, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist in Pasadena, California, thoughtfully puts it. Though you might view foreplay as a seriously delicious appetizer (I'm talking, mozzarella stickslevel good, y'all), it can be the whole d*mn meal. I mean it: You don't have to make foreplay solely a prelude to intercourse, says Buckley.
\"What foreplay does is lead us to a deeper sense of who we are and what we prefer sexually.\"
In fact, "there are many roads to intimacy, and foreplay is one," says Janet Brito, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist at the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Honolulu. "What foreplay does is lead us to a deeper sense of who we are and what we prefer sexually."
The more you get in touch with each other's sexual selves (both figuratively and literally), the more comfortable you'll be sharing your desires, fantasies, all that good stuff.
Excited already? Yeah, thought so. But before you fire up that engine, here are the best foreplay tips to try ASAP.
1. Think outside the bedroom.
If youre go-to foreplay routine involves a little kissing and touchingthen goes right into wham, bam, thank you, maamits time to mix it up. "Foreplay should definitely begin before you get into the bedroom to have sex," says Buckley. She suggests getting low-key frisky with your S.O. when you're out to dinner (footsie, haiiii), watching TV in the living room, and anywhere else youre feeling the ~vibe~.
Both Brito and Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist, sexuality counselor specializing in sex therapy, and author of She Comes First , agrees. He adds that simply "having fun and doing things that are exciting to each other" can be a form of foreplay.
How can something kinda meh lead to oh yeahhh? Well, its all thanks to (brace yourself for a scientific name) the excitation-transfer theory, which means that when you do a stimulating activity in one domain, the hyped-up feeling you get can then be transferred into another, explains Kerner.
So even if you get jazzed flirting over veggies at the farmers market together (hey, not judging), thats a form of foreplay.
2. Fill your day with foreplay.
After all, who doesnt want breakfast with a side of arousal? Foreplay can start in the morning and can go All. Day. Long. through sexy little suggestions here and there, says Buckley. Maybe you hop in the shower with them before work (save the shower sex for the main event) or text them a sexy little something during their lunch break (more on that in a sec).
Whatever youre into, "you can have lots of moments of foreplay leading up to sex that happens later," explains Kerner. In fact, just knowing you're not going to get it on until later that night or even the next day can ramp up the anticipation and make foreplay feel even hotter.
3. Sext them sultry little somethings.
Buckley and Kerner both agree that sexting can be a hot AF form of foreplay, especially when it includes teasing the person on the other side of the screen. Let your partner know what you're going to do to them when you see them, or hint at what you'd like them to do to you, suggests Buckley.
Try something like: "It was so great the last time we _____. I loved it when you touched me in this way, or when you sucked on that." You can head down the sweet and sensual route or go straight-up pornographic. If it feels right in that moment, you can't go wrong. "Anything that creates anticipation and arousal is great," Kerner says.
4. Spell it o-u-t.
Full disclosure: This tip's as basic as wearing Uggs and a North Face while sipping a PSL from Starbucks (don't @ me, you know it's true), but it's still pretty darn important. When you're flirting or sexting with your partner, let them know exactly what you find attractive about them, advises Kerner. Even if you think they already know because of the whole wanting-to-have-sex-with-them thing, it never hurts to remind them how much their abs, ass, or even ambition turns you on.
"Remember that the language of sex is a lot different than the language you commonly use in your relationship vocabulary," Kerner says. "You can be going through your day and communicating back and forth in very respectful, egalitarian ways, but you may also jump into some language that's very erotic or sexual."
Basically, whenever the opportunity to seduce your partner presents itself, seize it. And when it doesn't...create it.
5. Play up the sexiness of not being able to have sex (yet).
Crank your next date night up a notchor tenby teasing your partner when youre cuddled up at a cozy restaurant or low-lit bar. "Teasing is really important because when we can't have what it is that we want, that creates desire," says Buckley.
She and Brito suggest whispering in your partner's ear about what youre looking forward to that night, nibbling on their neck, or discreetly touching them wherever they'll take notice. When you know you can't have sex, it becomes all the more arousing, Buckley explains.
6. Use psychological lube.
The last thing you want to think about when getting frisky is your errand list or a work project. Simply put, not being in the right headspace can be enough to kill your lady boner.
Thats why Kerner always suggests adding "psychological excitement" into your foreplay routine, rather than relying solely on physical touch and stimulation.
But WTF qualifies as psychological excitement? Turns out, tons of sexy stuff: listening to an erotic podcast , watching porn together (btw, theres audible porn now, too), reading erotica aloud to each other, and even playing sex games . Further along in your relationship? Kerner suggests sharing your fantasies, and then incorporating them, or some role-play, into your foreplay sesh.
Check out these six fiery hot sex games you need to try, like, yesterday:
7. Get handsy, but not too handsy.
Let's be real, many couples think foreplay is a fancy word for fingering and oral sex. If youre one of them, no shade, buuut it might be time to add a little pit stop on your way to Pleasureville.
By that, I mean that you and your partner should spend more time away from your vagina. Kerner encourages couples to let the arousal simmer by keeping it strictly above the waistkissing, touching, nibbling on necks, and dirty talking before heading straight for the goods.
Thats because "a lot of women complain that their partners move too quickly into direct clitoral stimulation, and sometimes that can tickle or even hurt if they're not that aroused," he says. Keeping things PG-13 for a bit allows you and your partner to check in with each other and make sure your "arousal arcs," as Kerner calls them, are synchronized and calibrated to each other.
(Also: Who doesn't love making out?!)
8. See how far you can gowithout going "all the way."
"Foreplay is all about the process of experiencing pleasure," says Brito. "It's the journey, and the journey is everything." And what's something you might want to pack on that journey? A sex toy. Kerner recommends playing with one (or two, or three) to get those creativeand, of course, otherjuices flowing.
Whether using toys or your good old-fashioned hands and mouths, feel free to take your time exploring each other's erogenous zones, both Brito and Kerner advise. You can even make a game of it, says Kerner, by seeing how far you can go through outercourse (a.k.a. what you've likely called "everything but").
9. Keep the foreplay coming.
\"There\'s something really erotic and exciting about extending the sexual experience.\"
Newsflash, peeps: Not only can you start foreplay anytime and anywhere, but you technically never have to stopeven when it leads to intercourse. "There's something really erotic and exciting about extending the sexual experience," Buckley says.
To keep the party going, she suggests having sex for a little while, but stopping before either person orgasms. Then flip it and reverse it Missy Elliotstyle back to foreplay.
Ever heard of edging ? Just in case you haven't, it's when you bring yourself juuust to the edge of orgasm (ha, get it?) before backing off. You do it as many times as you can standand then, when those, ahem, fireworks do go off, the climax is that much more intense.
10. Don't sweat the small stuff.
You might be literally sweaty from all the hot teasing, sexting, and caressing you're doing, but I'm talking figuratively here: If foreplay doesn't go exactly the way you fantasized, just channel everyone's favorite Disney princess (that's Elsa, duh) and let it go.
"It's important not to pressure each other to have a specific type of experience or to impose your definition of foreplay on someone else," Brito says. Take things as they come, and remember that if something doesn't work this time around, you can always try it again.
11. If you wanna change it up, talk it out.
The more you and your partner add foreplay into your everyday, the easier it'll be to share your wildest sexual fantasies , says Brito. Just make sure to speak up before getting busy.
"If you're curious about exploring a specific type of foreplay"perhaps you're thinking in kinky terms"it's best to talk with your partner and obtain consent before trying something new," she says.
Okay, but how? Well, if you're an open Kama Sutra, you likely won't have a problem telling your partner what you want.
If you're in a new relationship or just naturally more shy, though, you could try broaching a fantasy by telling your partner you had a sexy dream or fantasy about them, suggests Kerner. (That's also something you can sext, btw.) This way, you make your desires known, without putting yourself or your partner on the spot.
12. Enjoy the ride.
At this point, you're probably convinced that foreplay is the best thing since whipped cream to happen to your sex life, right? (Good, I did my job!) So make sure to take the time to enjoy itfrom the second you wake up to your last satisfied sigh before sleep.
The more you can do that, the more you will have the tools you need to hone your foreplay skills and seduce your partner, says Buckley. Couples who master the art of foreplay, she adds, "will inevitably have sex more often."
And while fooling around on the reg doesn't automatically mean you'll live happily ever after, "when foreplay is done with intention, it's likely to enhance a romantic relationship tenfold," says Brito.
All the more reason to start your engines...grab that phone, perhaps?