I’m going to ask you to redefine foreplay. We tend to think of it as all the delicious activities prior to penetrative sex, such as making out, massage, and oral. But truly, foreplay should be more accurately “for play,” or the glorious ways you and your partner enjoy one another’s bodies for the sake of pleasure. Yes, it’s never a bad idea to go down on someone for longer, but this isn’t foreplay 101, it’s an advanced class. Read on to learn how to have foreplay change your sex life (and therefore, your life). 

1. Redefine what “sex” means

While we’re at it, sex isn’t what they (the evil overarching patriarchy) want you to think it is either. A high school sex ed class, at least when I was in school, would have you believe sex is when a penis goes inside of a vagina and thrusts until it comes. Such straight sex can be super hot—two bodies passionately covered in sweat connected via genitalia. But sex is so much more than that. Think of sex as “any consensual touch with the intention of sensual pleasure.” That means oral sex. That means fingering and handjobs. That means foot rubs and back massages and kissing and pinching and creative uses of candles and ice cube. When we broaden our understanding of what sex means, foreplay is not only extended, but the entire experience of sex becomes better.

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2. Schedule sex

Calendars don’t usually induce throbbing clits and boners. But we’re busy. While a quickie has its time and place, if you want to enjoy a prolonged state of arousal with your partner, you must give sex the same respect you’d give a business meeting. That means literally blocking off time in your calendar for a date night. When we don’t plan ahead, it’s easy to push sex to the backburner. Pick a night that works for you and your partner and block out the entire evening. If last-minute work assignments or other social invites pop up, let others know you’re already booked. Switch your phone to airplane mode and then enjoy your scheduled sexy time. You’ve earned it. 

3. Relax about orgasms

“She comes first,” a rule often practiced by cishet couples to up their foreplay game and prolong sex has good intentions. The female orgasm is often ignored, and statistically straight women have fewer orgasms than anyone. While we should never discount female pleasure, sometimes placing too much pressure on orgasm defeats the goal. Stress and pressure surrounding orgasm is counterproductive to coming. Rather than make an orgasm the goal, make pleasure the goal. Give relaxing massages. Pay attention to the entire body, and not just the genitals, through neck kissing, back rubs, and nipple biting. The more at ease a person is, the more likely they are to experience that sought-after orgasm.

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4. Integrate toys

Sex toys such as dildos and vibrators are not a threat, they are your friend. Every couple should own a vibrator, and learn how to get creative with it. They are a surefire way to make a person with a clit come, but try teasing. I love to alternate between using a vibrator and enjoying my partner go down on me. Dildos, and penetrative anal toys, amp up foreplay through the power of sexual variety, all with the same person. Beyond dildos and vibrators, try out nipple clamps, feathers to tease the body, and restraints. Think of sex toys as a threesome partner whose emotional needs it’s okay to ignore. They also allow you to become more creative, and foreplay is rooted in creativity.

5. Enjoy intimacy all day

We’ve established that foreplay should happen both before and during sex. Let’s expand “before” to include all day long, even when you’re physically not with your partner. After you’ve scheduled a date night, begin teasing your partner by sending dirty texts or sexy selfies all day long. Let them know exactly how excited you are to screw their brains out. If by the time you finally meet up in person your oral sex and erotic use of hands leads to orgasms before you’re ready to stop making love, fret not. This is a good problem. After all, you’ve booked off all night, and when you’re over stressing about orgasm, you can keep touching one another until you can’t stay awake any longer. Then enjoy the blissful snooze of a post-fuck fest slumber. 

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Image by Matt Crump