There’s something that most of us want a lot more of in the bedroom. No, it’s not oral sex (well, it’s not just oral sex). It’s foreplay. One 2004 study of 152 straight cis men and women found that both genders wanted, on average, about 20 minutes of foreplay — but were only getting around 10 minutes. Another study, this one from 2017, found that cis women of any sexual orientation were most likely to orgasm if the encounter included deep kissing, manual genital stimulation (aka fingering), and oral sex.
Broadly defined as any sexual activity leading up to sex, foreplay can include everything from kissing to massage to, yes, oral sex. Basically, it’s anything that turns you and your partner on before you begin having sex. Keep in mind that many sexual activities, particularly oral sex and manual stimulation, can be seen as either foreplay or sex, depending on what that particular sexual encounter looks like. Sex is so much more than penetration, after all.
When you’re beginning foreplay, one fun suggestion is to keep it going for as long as you can. As one foreplay lover previously told Refinery29, "The key to good foreplay is actually doing it for long enough. However long you think you should spend on foreplay, double it at least." Here are some ideas to get you started.
Put your tongue to good use! When you’re kissing your partner, open your mouth and touch tongues to begin French kissing. You can try different techniques and movements — whatever feels good to you and your partner.
Add a bit of touching — plus some neck kisses, ear nuzzling, and lip or neck biting, if either you or your partner is into that — to your French kissing, and you’ve got yourself a makeout sesh.
Foot massage, back massage, neck massage: whichever you prefer, a massage can really get you in the mood. Try incorporating massage oils or a massage candle to add some slickness. After getting out the knots, you can let your hands stray just a little...
Nipples can be really sensitive — not to mention fun to play with. You can touch, pinch, lick, suck, or gently bite your partner’s nipples (just ask if they’re into biting before you chomp down). Some people can even have a “nipplegasm” from nipple stimulation alone. For the BDSM-inclined, you can also break out the nipple clamps.
Telling your partner how much you want them can heighten both your arousal. Dirty talk can be as simple as “You make me so turned on” or “That feels so good,” or it can be as complicated as spelling out, step-by-step, exactly what you want to do to them.
Dry humping isn’t just for teens. Rub your clothed genitals against your partner’s leg, knee, genitals, or anywhere else that feels good. For people with clitorises, this indirect stimulation can be a huge turn-on that can lead to orgasms, and it can feel amazing for people with penises, too.
For many people, manual stimulation — aka fingering, hand jobs, or anal fingering — is the main course, not an appetiser. Whichever body part you're focusing on, add lube.
Like manual stimulation, oral sex is a form of sex — and it can also be used as a form of foreplay before another sex act. However you see oral, use your tongue to tease your partner’s clit or penis head, and for more fun, get your hands involved, too.