Where there is arousal, there is foreplay. And vice versa.

Without arousal, sex is...not good.

Like, to the point of being really bad, and even painful (especially for women).

No matter what form foreplay it takes, all genders should be properly turned the funk on before escalation ensues. Even if the game you’re playing is one that involves pretending there is no foreplay,  getting turned on is necessary.

Getting creative sexually with a receptive partner can most definitely leave you feeling more satisfied and wanting more. Not to mention, sex can and likely will last longer, and give you new ways to foster deeper intimacy. If that’s what you’re after.

You don’t have to have been seeing someone for long to get creative, and you definitely don’t have to feel like things are “stale” before tappin’ that inspiration.

So if your mind is always on the edge of suggesting something nasty or gnarly or funky or just plain different-than-ever-before to your love-thang, here are 10 guiding lust lights to shine the way, complete with a built-in mini soundtrack to get you in the #mood…

1. Mind sex

Dead Prez truly said it best. From eating a tasty salad, to jousting at a game of chess, to seeing through that prolonged eye contact, the lingering question of “will we or won’t we?” as it reverberates in the air between two lovers can make for epic foreplay.

Conversation is very much a thing; exchange recipes, or exchange fantasies—whatever the mood dictates. Those mental juices are, um, intimately connected to all your other bodies of water.

2. Making out

It’s not just for teenagers! You can express so much with a kiss; there are few more erotic, intimate acts.

If a guy (or gal) doesn’t like kissing, this usually signals an intense fear of intimacy that’s hard to break through. Just sayin’.

Making out every now and then without any expectation of sex can be incredibly hot. We all want what we can’t quite reach. Why not play with that?

3. Role play

When it comes to the world of lustful languor, you can quite literally choose to be anybody you’ve dreamed of being. You can bring power play into it; you can be rough, gentle, or explore the psychological tension in any given scenario, from a visit to the doctor to being held prisoner by an army sergeant.

The best part: you have to discuss the scenario with your partner, which automatically turns up the temperature, in and of itself.

Did I mention, talking is hot?

4. Dirty talk

It doesn’t always come naturally. And it often depends on the dynamic you have with the person you’re schtooping.

But if you think they’d find it weird to start talking in a way other than the way they normally talk, at least experiment/ bring it up before dismissing it, if this is something you’re craving. It’s a fine line between “yes, right there baby,” and more florid uses of language. Start with simply talking, and see if it gets dirty all on its own.

5. Orgasm denial

In the world of BDSM, orgasm denial can increase feelings of control and power for dominant partners, and sensations of submission and objectification for submissive partners.

But whether or not you identify as dominant, submissive, or even kinky, let me personally vouch for this approach to good lovin'.

I once had a lover who was quite obsessed with spending hours (you heard me, hours, plural) bringing me to the brink of orgasm and then stopping EXACTLY the moment before I came. He knew his (my) stuff. He would repeat this 4-5 times before letting me cum, and had me begging for it.

Maybe you fancy yourself on the other end of this equation. Either way, a worthwhile experiment.

6. Tantric sex

For a mini initiation to this ancient Indian tradition of beliefs, meditation, and rituals that go all the way back to the 5th century, check out my recent foray into Tantra. Expect: a slow build-up (the journey very literally IS the destination), deep intimate connection via talk and touch, and, with the right partner, way more satisfying sex. Don’t expect: a quick(ie) fix.

7. Change

Consensually switching things up can be incredibly hot.

If you shy away from public displays of affection, trying a street smooch on for size might be hot. Or not.

If you usually do it with the lights off, try on. Always felt like candles were too mushy and romantic? There’s another one to try. How about a new location? Your car, maybe? Or somewhere you can be underneath the stars, preferably without getting sand in your knickers.

Never underestimate the power of a fresh perspective when it comes to upping the anti.

8. Visuals  

Costumes, lingerie.

Personally, I get really turned on at the sight of myself dressed up to please a man. Others (often men) get really turned on seeing someone dressed up (or down) with them in mind.

No joke, but just the fact that I’m wearing a lacy thong or a pair of tight too-short cut-offs under my skirt and that it’s my secret till he discovers it can go a long way toward my foreplay quota.

Whether part of a role play scenario, a random surprise, or something you discuss in advance, and in detail, don’t hide those hot pants away in your closet if your true fantasy is being a private dancer.

9. Toys & props

From an endlessly exciting remote control party in your panties to the infinite selection of vibrators, dildos, double penetration toys, whips, nipple pinchers, restraints for bondage, and oh-so-much more, we’re fortunate enough to be alive in an age where there’s a toy out there to satisfy virtually any fantasy we can dream up.

10. Games

They come in many forms.

Here’s one: try paying extra attention to one of your lover’s body parts. One that you normally wouldn’t spend as much time on.

For instance, maybe they feel amazing every time you graze their ear, but haven’t mentioned it. Start there. Take turns.

This is an amazing way to get to know someone’s body (and mind) a lot better.

Recap

Yes, we need to protect ourselves emotionally, no, we don’t have to love the people we’re banging, and no we can’t orchestrate passion.

The fact remains, though, that opening up and showing oneself in the heat of the moment always has and always will be a major turn on. All’s I’m saying is don’t be afraid to get creative—get a little paint on your hands, so to speak.

Most of us are scared to be the sensual and artistic masterminds we know we are—out of fear of rejection, looking stupid, or screwing something up that’s already “good.”

Bottom line: in our hyper efficient hook up culture, guess what’s actually hot, different, and refreshing?

Vulnerability. Authenticity. Slowing down.

Get it, bb.