Foreplay Part 2: It’s Foreplay, Not Choreplay!
Foreplay can be a really big and confusing topic for people. In Foreplay Part 1: What is Foreplay? we talked about expanding our definition of foreplay, and shared some ideas and tips on how important communication with your partner(s) is for having the kind of foreplay that works for you.
In this post we’re going to share some more specific suggestions of what to consider when trying to improve or engage in foreplay. But before that, here are some general things to keep in mind:
- Keep it Low-Pressure: Just like with any kind of sexual activity, putting too much pressure on foreplay can quickly turn things from sexy to stressful. Try to give yourself and your partner(s) space to relax, experiment, and laugh. Having a sense of humour can really ease the tension of moments where you might feel silly or awkward trying something new.
- It might not always work: Just because certain foreplay activities have worked for other people, doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. Just because something’s worked for you in the past doesn’t mean it’ll work all the time. Foreplay isn’t like a secret code that unlocks sex for us every time. Be prepared to accept when you’re not in the mood, and feel free to try new or old foreplay activities again in the future.
- Planning ahead can be sexy! Sure, being spontaneous can be really hot. But you know what’s also hot? Planning ahead so that those spontaneous moments can happen smoothly! Having conversations about foreplay with your partners ahead of time or keeping things like condoms or lube near where you have sex can help keep the flow of foreplay and sex acts easy for when the mood strikes you. Remember, planning doesn’t guarantee that foreplay or sex will happen, it can just increase the chances of things going more smoothly if it does!
- Different Activities Need Different Preparation: There’s no single foreplay activity that will get everybody in the mood for every type of sexual activity. People may require different types of foreplay depending on what you’re doing, how much time you have, how you’re feeling, where you are, who you’re with, what time of day it is, etc. It can help to be mindful of what people are interested in and capable of on any given day, and engage in foreplay that fits that situation or mood.
- It’s Foreplay, not Choreplay! If you’re feeling like the foreplay you’re doing is a drag, then try something new! Foreplay can be a great way to experiment with new techniques, toys, or scenarios (if you feel so inclined). And remember, there’s no need to feel ashamed about taking whatever time your body needs to feel desire and desirable. If you can, try to enjoy enjoying yourself!
How much time should it take?
Before a run, you would first warm up your body by stretching — sex is not much different! And some people may need longer to warm up than others. But unlike going for a run, foreplay/sex is not a race! Feel free to slow down and take your time. Even though movies and porn make it seem like sex can happen right away, it usually takes people a little bit of time to really get in the mood. Penetrative activities can definitely take more than 30 seconds to prepare for. Give yourself and your partner a gift by being present and being yourself. This can help keep you in the moment when you (or your partner) starts feeling more intimate and pleasurable sensations.
Getting in the Mood
Getting in the mood is often both a physical and mental process for people. Not everybody is interested or ready for sex (any kind of sex) just because someone’s partner runs into a room and is like “Hey! Let’s have sex!” And so sometimes it takes specific activities to get people horny. There are no rules to which of these activities do or do not count as foreplay; whatever gets you in the mood is foreplay for you! So what kinds of things can people do to get in the mood? What activities or behaviours are good foreplay? These are good questions to ask yourself and your partners, but here are some ideas:
- Set the Scene: Flowers. Candles. A Sexy playlist. Sometimes cliches are actually great for making a moment feel more sensual! Other things to consider: Are the curtains closed? Did you brush your teeth? All of these things can contribute to the vibe of the space, which can affect how comfortable a person feels being intimate or vulnerable.
- Get in the Zone: What do you need to do to feel ready and comfortable for sex? Some people like to take a bath or shower. Some people need a moment to themselves to decompress from a busy day. Try and figure out what helps you relax and focus on the sensations and activities you’re doing with your partner(s) in the moment.
- Practicing Safer Sex: It can be difficult to feel comfortable during sex if you’re constantly stressing about getting pregnant or getting an STI. Using condoms, dental dams, or birth control can help put someone’s mind at ease and focus on the matter at hand (aka sex). For condoms specifically, it can help to incorporate them into your foreplay; try keeping them near where you have sex, or give yourself time to roll around after you put the condom on/in before any penetration. Just because a condom’s out of its package, doesn’t mean there’s a need to start rushing things.
Touching and More
- Kissing: Foreplay doesn’t need to be elaborate or fancy. Some people just need a good amount of kissing to get in the mood. Consider making time for longer makeouts. You can also talk to your partner if it feels good to kiss places other than their mouths (like necks, ears, toes, bellies, etc.).
- Massages: A massage can help relieve tension, as well as help partners feel more physically intimate. You don’t have to be an expert masseuse to rub someone’s shoulders or back or whatever it is that helps get them in the mood. There are also lots of body oils that people use to enhance the experience.
- Oral Sex and Masturbation: While oral sex and and mutual masturbation are wonderful activities by themselves, lots of people engage in them as warm-up to things like penetrative sex. If this is the case for you, spend lots of time on oral sex or masturbation! Edging your partner (or yourself) in this way can help a lot in getting people in the mood, which can lead to things like greater vaginal lubrication or more confident erections.
- Engage the 5 Senses: Foreplay doesn’t just have to be about touching. It can also be about tastes, smells, sights, and sounds. Think about incorporating things like massages, chocolate, candles, mood music, etc. These examples may be a bit cheesy, but finding the sensations that work for you and your partner(s) can also help get everyone in the mood.
- Books & Movies: If things like erotica or porn turn you on (and if you’re over 18), then consider incorporating it into your foreplay. Some people might read or watch something alone before hooking up with their partner(s), and some partners like watching or reading sexy stuff together. This can also be a way to learn about new things that you could do in foreplay. However, remember that what you see in porn or erotica is fantasy, not reality. Don’t expect you or your partner(s) to like everything that people do in fantasy spaces, or even be turned on by it in the same way. If you’re under 18, there try to find non-explicit, age-appropriate content that work for you. There are definitely lots of sexy stories, images, or videos out there that are also legal for you to access or use.
Other Things to Think About
- Eating and Drinking: What you eat and what you drink have a huge effect on how your body feels. Did you just eat a giant burrito? You might feel too bloated or burpy for sex. Have you had enough water today? You might dehydrate quickly, or get a headache. Kind of like how you’re not supposed to swim right after eating or you could cramp, it’s worth thinking about what kinds of things you’re consuming beforehand and how that might affect the sex you have. Food as foreplay!
- Laundry and Tidying Up: If you’re having sex in a bed, when’s the last time you washed your sheets? Not only do clean sheets feel great, but having a clean environment for sex can help ease a person’s mind if they’re worried about germs and things. Wherever you end up having sex, consider cleaning or tidying the space ahead of time if that’s a priority for you or your partner(s).
- Physical Activity: Exercise can totally be a type of foreplay (when not done to the point of exhaustion). Moving around a bunch can wake you up, get blood pumping throughout your body, and start to tingle your senses. This can make your body hungry for more sensations, or primed for certain activities. And sometimes working up a sweat can turn your partner(s) on if they like the sight or smell of your glistening bod!
Again, these are just some suggestions! Foreplay is a huge topic, which we’ll cover more in future blog posts. For more info on how to make your sex life sexier, check out some of our info pages:
- Making Sex Feel Good
- Making Safer Sex Sexy