Foreplay Tips to Make S#x Even Better


Foreplay isn’t optional. It’s not something that you can half-ass for two minutes before

rushing into P-in-V or P-in-B sex. Instead, it's something you should take your time with to get both your partner and yourself in the mood—after all, you shouldn’t be feigning excitement or mindlessly going through the motions just for your partner’s sake. Foreplay is something that should turn on everyone involved.

 Without foreplay, [sex] is equivalent to putting a frozen turkey in a 250 degree oven,” explains Taylor Sparks, erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven, one of the largest BIPOC-owned online intimacy shops. “Oh, it will defrost at some point and it will cook within the next 4 or 5 days. But why go that route when you can defrost it and then warm it up the correct way at the correct temperature?”

Honestly, the term "foreplay" is a misnomer because it implies that what comes next—the actual “play” or intercourse—is somehow better. But that’s not the case. Most people with a vulva can’t orgasm through penetration alone. They require clitoral stimulation in order to experience climax, which happens when the external clitoral glans are engaged. The most reliable ways of doing this are not through penetration, but through oral, hand, or toy sex. (That said, it’s important to note that sex is not all about orgasming—it's about pleasure, and there's a difference.) 

Foreplay is not the “before” part; think of it as MORE-play. It’s a huge piece of this puzzle that deserves a better reputation than some optional “pre-sex” fun. In fact, penetrative sex doesn't even need to be on the table at all for sex to be sex. Sex is everything involving genitals (or other body parts) that brings someone sexual pleasure. We need to open our minds, people! Prioritizing intercourse is so over.

Now, to get the best foreplay moreplay tips, we spoke to various sex experts. Try one, two, or all of these tips and techniques the next time you start fooling around, and watch some magic happen.

1) Ask your partner what turns them on.

When in doubt, just come right out and ask what your partner likes during sex. “Most [people] appreciate men who want to make sure they’re satisfied,” says Barbara Bartlik, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Cornell University. “If [they] notice you’re working hard to please them, “[they’ll] be more likely to return the favor.”

Communication is essential for good sex, no matter what kind of sex you’re having. Being open and honest about your turn-ons and inviting your partner to do the same creates an erotic atmosphere that’s both sexy and trusting.

2) Sext throughout the day.

Foreplay doesn’t simply start in the bedroom. It can start from the moment you wake up. Little texts like “Can’t wait to get naked with you tonight” can get your partner excited before you even set foot in the same room. If sending nudes is something that turns you and your partner on, go ahead and swap some sexy photos with one another. Then you can text what you plan to do to their naked body. Sexting gets the fires going so early that by the time you’re actually in bed, you’ll be RARING to go.

3) Add some temperature play into the mix

Ice cubes and candles that double as massage oil are a fun and easy way to turn up the heat on your foreplay, explains Sofiya Alexandra, co-host of the podcast Private Parts Unknown

“Hold an ice cube between your teeth and draw it down your partner’s body," Alexandra says. "Or, if you’re more into heat, like me, you can get candles involved—one of my college boyfriends and I used to use just regular soy candles to drip wax on each other for a little BDSM fun."

That said, a massage candle is a safer way to dip your toe into wax play if it’s new to you. “Drip high at first to cool the oil down before initial contact with skin, and take your time slowly massaging it in for maximum pleasure," Alexandra says. "You want your partner’s body to buzz like a hive of murder hornets.”

4) Take your time removing articles of clothing.

Moreplay is a marathon, not a sprint. (Though if you are pressed for time, here are the best sex position for quickies.) Instead of quickly stripping down, start by taking off their shirt. Wait a few minutes before you take off their pants, and so on. You can then focus on that newly revealed body part with kisses and licks. After taking off your partner’s pants, massage their legs. Once the top is gone, you can lick and gently suck on their nipples. (Nipple play can be enjoyable for all gender.)

5) Get wet together.

If you’ve ever attempted to have sex in the shower or in a body of water, you’ll know that it’s nearly impossible to thrust while your body is submerged in liquid. 

That’s why Courtney Kocak, co-host of Private Parts Unknown, suggests using the tub as a means of foreplay. “I feel like sexy fantasies that involve candlelit bubble baths or steamy showers are ingrained in us,” Kocak says. “Enjoy stripping down with your partner before you get in—maybe set a playful tone by taking turns underdressing each other.” Just make sure to keep the water hot so you can stay in for a while and really explore the intimacy of touch.

6) Give your partner a strip tease.

In a similar vein, go ahead and give your partner a little strip tease. (If you need inspiration, you can always check out the SNLskit with Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze auditioning to be Chip ‘n’ Dale dancers.)

If you’re a shite dancer, at least you’ll come off as endearing, but if you do in fact strip well, your partner just might want to pounce on you. (FYI, here's how to strip-tease like a dancer in Magic Mike.) Honestly, your partner is going to be turned on by you getting naked no matter how silly you feel. Sex isn’t always serious. It can be playful and funny while still being very orgasmic.

7) Wear sexy underwear.

Sexy underwear is for everyone. If you find the right fit, you can really turn your partner on. (If you've never tried low-rise briefs, we highly recommend them!)

More of a tighty-whitey type? Rock on, my friend. Whatever makes you feel like a true sexual icon is the right way to go. Pssst … that might even mean going commando. 

8) Give an erotic massage.

If you’re going to have penetrative sex, start by giving your partner an erotic massage that both relaxes and teases them. Prior to even touching them, you’ll want to set the mood with lighting and music (we recommend soft lighting - stay the hell away from fluorescents), and then go ahead and whip out the massage oil. 

From there you want to start massaging them. Start with arms, legs, back etc. Relax their muscles before moving to *sexier* areas. Once they're really relaxed, that’s when you start massaging those naughty bits.

9) Focus on enjoying all of this good pleasure, pal.

People get turned on by knowing their partner is having fun, too. That’s what makes sex, in all its forms, so hot. “If you act as if you’re just going through the motions to get to [intercourse], [they’re] going to notice, and it will take longer for [them] to get excited,” says Michael Perry, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Encino, California.

In other words, get into all your moreplay activities, and enjoy them while you're doing them. If you like how your partner’s calves feel, stroke them in appreciation. If you like their butt, kiss it. “When a man is loving what he’s doing, it’s going to show through and turn [them] on, too,” says Perry.

10) Take it easy at first.

No matter your partner’s genitals, it’s important to start off slowly and gently. This is especially true if there is a clitoris involved. As wonderful as the clit is, it can be easily overstimulated if you rush right to it. “Direct stimulation of the clitoris can actually be painful,” says Cathy Winks, author of The Good Vibrations Guide to the G-spot. “It’s much better to rub the clitoral hood [where the tops of the labia meet] or to rub along the side of the clitoris than it is to go straight for the head of it.”

When playing with the clitoris during oral sex, Birch’s advice is to take the focus on and off that super-sensitive area. "The clitoris reacts best to being teased, so you want to lick it and suck on it a little, build a little tension, then back off on it a bit before going at it again," she adds.

When it comes to penises, going right for it might not cause pain, but it will certainly cause increased pleasure if you take your time getting to oral or hand sex. Slow down, bucko. We’re all here to have a good time.

11) Expand your repertoire.

There are plenty of ways to expand your oral sex repertoire, and you should always be looking to add new moves and mix things up. For starters, try lying perpendicular to their body and stroking their clitoris with your tongue in a horizontal motion, rather than up and down. They’ll appreciate the change in stimulation, hopefully enough to return the favor.

If your partner has a penis, try moving your mouth and hand in a circular-twisting motion, instead of just going up and down. Get your tongue in on the action and run it over the head.

Oh, and don’t forget the toys if you’re considering some prostate action. Check out this guide on how to use anal toys during sex.

12) Try the figure-8 technique.

The figure-8 tongue technique is one of the most tried and true ways to get things going below the belt with vulva-owners. When you’re down below, work the super sensitive area around the clitoris in a figure-8 pattern. Arouse them with gentle sucking until the little button swells, then carefully expose the area with your fingers.

Use the slippery underside of your tongue to circle to the left and then to the right. With the rougher top side of the tongue, flick from right to left and then up and down. Finally, work up to figure-8s, alternating between your tongue's smooth underside and firmer tip. Constantly vary the degrees of pressure you use.

And this figure-8 technique is not just for vulvas. If your partner has a penis (and is into rimming), try running your tongue from the top of the perineum (just under the balls) down around their anus, and back up in a figure-8. 

13) Explore their entire body.

Don't just zero in on your partner’s genitals. The body is filled with erogenous zones like the neck, thighs and breasts.

“Genitals are fascinating and fun, but try to spend some time focusing on your partner’s entire body instead of going straight for her crotch,” says Cassie Fuller, cofounder of Baltimore sex-ed company Touch Of Flavor. “Try caressing, licking, or nibbling other erogenous zones, such as her neck, back, ears, belly, or wrists.”

14) Don't overlook the rest of the vulva.

Oft overlooked as mere barriers to the vagina, the labia are packed with nerve endings and shouldn't be ignored. Hold each one between your thumb and forefinger and massage them, working your way up and down. 

Or, using all of your fingers and your palm, gently “smoosh” the labia together, almost like you’re (gently!) kneading dough. You can also explore the mons pubis, the fleshy patch where their pubic hair lives, and carefully press your palm into it for a grounded, sexy feel. This motion can help relax the pelvic floor and engage the internal clitoris indirectly. 

15) If your partner has a penis, there is a lot to explore.

If your partner has a penis, don’t ignore the perineum and balls. Explore everything, lick everything, and enjoy. Don’t be shy about being vulnerable and going beyond the “usual” sexual menu, no matter how casual the relationship. “Foreplay is about enjoying the journey and unlocking new levels of pleasure along the way. Have fun by not taking yourself too seriously along the way. Vulnerability helps build intimacy with anyone, not just lovers,” says Tiana GlittersaurusRex, polyamorous educator and activist and co-founder of The Sex Work Survival Guide, a non-profit organization advocating for the rights and safety of sex workers.

For tips on how to really enjoy analingus, check out our guide to eating ass.

16) Try a vibrator.

Rechargeable Massage Wand Vibrator

A vibrator buzzing around your partner’s erogenous zones can be just as stimulating, if not more, than using your hands alone. Bring one in for the assist during foreplay, touching your partner everywhere.

Run it up and down their labia, over the mons, the inner thighs, and around the clitoris. “I have such a hot sex life with my vibrator ... so if you want to get me turned on *instantly*, just tell me to grab my toy and enthusiastically ask me to show you what I do with it,” Kocak says. "Then, you can take over its operation yourself.” Try one of Men's Health's Best Sex Toys of the Year, The Le Wand Massager.

You can also use vibrators on balls, the tip of the penis, and on the perineum. Vibrators are for all body parts. If your partner has a prostate, you can get a vibrating prostate massager that can really take things to the next level. Check out our top prostate massagers here.

17) Try other fun sex toys.

Not all toys vibrate. There are so many to choose from, it's kind of mind-blowing. For instance, you can try a sucking toy such as the Satisfyer or Womanizer or a rotation toy like the Zumio. Check out our guide to all the different types of vibrators and non-vibrators here. These alternatives can be fabulous for people who aren’t huge fans of vibration.

Have fun choosing which toys to use during sex by communicating and figuring out what works for both of you. And remember, toys are not gender-specific. You can even go shopping together online and choose some fun things to try together. 

18) Mix in some BDSM.

BDSM can be a very fun way to explore dominance and submission in the bedroom. Before trying this play, you’ll need to be very clear about your boundaries and limits and be able to have an honest and open conversation with your partner so you both feel safe. 

“If getting spanked, choked, whatever turns you on like nobody’s business then you owe it to yourself to get that conversation started ASAP,” Kocak says. “Plus, it might lead to other sexy convos about things each of you would like to try, and you can start building a mutual fantasy together.”

Check out this guide to effective communication in BDSM for more information on having these discussions. One of the easiest way to play with BDSM? Some erotic spanking.

19) Engage all the senses.

There is a lot more to sex than orgasms; sensory play is absolutely incredible. This means tapping into touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight. Be “mindful of lighting, scents in the room, and music playing in the background,” says GlittersaurusRex. “Feed each other bite-sized food like fruit and berries with chocolate. You can eye-gaze, lick each other's fingers or place the food on other parts of the body to nibble on.” 

This might include some gear, too. “This kitfrom LELO is perfect for a sexy foreplay scene. It has a feather teaser, silk blindfold, and a couple's vibrator,” says Kenneth Play, an International Educator and Creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Series. “Sensory deprivation, sensation, G-spot and clitoral stimulation are such a delicious combo together. When you add a luxurious feel to this, it makes the experience decadent and indulgent, which brings you towards focusing on your senses and being in the moment.” 

20) Get good at talking dirty.

Dirty talk is super hot. Here's a guide to doing it well, including specific scripts to help you get the ball rolling.

If you want to get [them] hot and bothered, brush your lips against [their] ear and whisper what you want to do to [them]," says Ryn Pfeuffer, sex and relationships writer and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating. "Be slow, deliberate, and as dirty as possible, and I pinky swear promise, I’m all yours. Work in some stealth eye contact, and OH MY GAWD."

21) Check in with your partner regularly.

Check in every so often to be sure you’re both having fun and feel safe. Everybody is different, so make sure you're able to read how they respond to what you're doing. It shouldn't be hard to tell what's working, and to then use this information to keep a good thing going.

“If [they] wince when you talk dirty, move onto your next play,” says relationship expert April Masini. “Or if [they’re] really into making out on the sofa, don’t try to move it to the bedroom.” Enthusiastic consent and full-on enjoyment are a must for everyone.

22) Pay attention to how you feel.

If you’re worried about getting off too early during intercourse, try becoming more aware of your pre-orgasmic sensations. Most men and penis-owners only recognize that last, no-turning-back, feeling that occurs just before ejaculation, says David Copeland, author of How to Succeed with Women. By then it’s too late to do anything about it. Try to become familiar with the two or three more subtle sensations that precede that one, so that you can slow down at the right time.

When it comes to your emotions, listen to them closely. Don’t forget to communicate and advocate for yourself. Remember, we’re all here to enjoy each other’s bodies and have lots of pleasure. If something is making you feel uncomfortable or strange, stop what you’re doing and take a beat. You can simply say, “Babe, I’m feeling a little strange. Can we just cuddle for a while?” 

female hands gripping man's back, close up

23) Don't forget about kissing.

“Women get their greatest erotic pleasure from frequent, passionate kissing,” says Patti Britton, Ph.D., clinical sexologist, and author of The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice. “If you get the sense that she’s starting to lose interest, kissing is always the best way to bring her back into it.”

Just remember that passionate kissing doesn’t always mean frantically swabbing your partner's tonsils. Try to mix up your tongue play with the occasional closed-mouth kiss on their nose, eyes, and forehead. 

24) Create rituals together.

Connecting intimately with a partner can become easier when you put some weight behind it. This can mean creating special, loving rituals together in a way that brings you out of a stressful state and into a sexy one. “Changing clothes, drinking some tea or a glass of wine together, or any other ritual that works for you all help you switch modes,” Play says.

Your rituals will be unique to you and won’t follow a set script. It can be helpful to sit down and connect intimately with your partner to start. Co-create a special “moreplay menu” wherein you discuss all the things that make you feel sexy. Then, take it from there.

25) Use words of encouragement.

When your partner takes on the role of initiator (and you’re into it), be sure to let them know how turned on that makes you. We all can use some words of affirmation here and there. When we know we’re going to be met with praise, we’re more likely to initiate in the future.

Tell them how you loved how they got things going and how you’d love them to do that more in the future. When we feel rejected, we get a message that it’s unsafe or wrong to initiate sex, so letting your partner know it was awesome will encourage them. It improves sexual self-esteem, which is very necessary for everyone to have an orgasm. 

26) You can skip foreplay occasionally, if you’re both down.

It’s perfectly all right to occasionally skip foreplay, if you both want to jump right to intercourse. Sex is a co-created experience and you can choose your own adventure. Just be sure everyone is 100 percent here for this journey.

“When you’ve been creating a larger sexual context in your relationship, you’re basically operating in that [state of foreplay] all the time,” says psychologist and relationship therapist Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. "If you’ve been together for a while, you should know them well enough to know when it’s okay to jump straight to the main event."


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