Sex Tips

The 411 on Foreplay & Why You Shouldn't Skip It

Bed on checkered background.
Whether it's "start your engines" or "let's get ready to rumble," notable activities have signature starters. Getting busy is no different. But when it comes to sex, it's worth noting that the opening act can be just as important as the main event. We're talkin' about foreplay.

What is Sexual Foreplay?

Foreplay touches on all the attention-grabbing, arousing activities that help get you in the mood and ready for sex - simple gestures (or elaborate moves if you've got 'em), playful words and flirty glances to name a few. Does foreplay have to lead to intercourse? No, that would be selling it way too short.

Whether short and to the point or an extended exploration, foreplay can be a heart-pumping, toe curling, satisfying pleasure all unto itself. Speaking of short, how long should foreplay be? Sexy foreplay should last as long, or be as quick as you and your partner mutually enjoy.

Do You Have to Use Foreplay?

Foreplay is important because it sets the tone for a heightened, sensual experience. Sensational quickies aside, trying to have great sex without foreplay is like trying to boil pasta in cold water with no heat source - it's not gonna work. You've gotta heat things up, and foreplay does that on several levels.

Physical Turn Ons

As foreplay gets the heart pumping, the blood supply to body tissues and nerve endings increases, especially in the genitals. Erectile tissue activates in the nipples and penis, and the natural lubrication in the vagina increases. These changes help reduce friction, intensify pleasure, and increase chances of orgasm. Who'd want to pass up on that?

Deepens Relationships

In addition to building on sexual tension to make things hot and steamy, foreplay can also enhance emotional intimacy.

Long-term couples can use foreplay to keep things interesting or reignite passion with spontaneity and fun. For new partners, foreplay is an opportunity to become more comfortable with each other and lower inhibitions. This is where we revisit sexual consent. Now? Yes! Foreplay can be very persuasive, but it is not a means for obtaining consent. Foreplay should begin with consent already clearly in place.

What Does Foreplaying Consist of?

Foreplay isn't a one-size-fits-all activity or a carefully prescribed sequence of steps. Great foreplaying consists of communication, imagination and thoughtful foreplay techniques. It can be anything that turns you and your partner on from hours of great kisses to a sensual massage to licking and touching.

Foreplay success is not as much about what to do, or how to do it, as it is about approach. These foreplay tips can help you get started.

Communicate with Your Partner

Find out each other's likes and dislikes explicitly. Talk about it before, during and after - it's not supposed to be a guessing game. When trying something new, make sure it's OK with your partner so you know whether or not to continue.

Indulge in Fantasies

Imagination and spontaneity (or at least switching it up once in a while) can go a long way in creating excitement. Don't always settle for what worked before. Foreplay should be an ever evolving pursuit.

Timing can vary. Foreplay doesn't always have to come immediately before sex. Try sending sexy messages throughout the day, and never underestimate the power of a well-placed compliment. Sexting can help keep the passion going and it's also a great way to build anticipation for the next time you're together.

Engage the Senses - the More the Merrier

For a full, mind-blowing experience, the more of the five senses you include in your foreplay the better.

Sight. Nothing like a little window shopping to rouse interest. Ambient lighting, sexy clothing (or lack of clothing), a strip tease or watching a sexy movie are a few foreplay ideas that can get things going visually.

Touch. It's not just about where you touch, but how and with what. While kissing is a classic that shouldn't be taken for granted, there are many other enticing options to consider. Experiment with texture and temperature, skin-to-skin contact and touching with objects like sex toys and lubes. Also vary the speed and pressure of your touch.

Sound. Music can help set the tone. Racy and raunchy, smooth and romantic, new age or the classics, it's up to you. Sexy, explicit talk can raise temperatures and provide the added bonus of communicating desires and needs.

Smell. Perfumes, body sprays, scented candles, etc. can enhance the experience, but aren't necessary. Be careful of heavy fragrances which can be off putting to some people. And it goes without saying (although we're saying it anyway) that good personal hygiene is sexy.

Taste. Feeding each other foods with interesting flavors and textures can be a turn on, but it's probably best to avoid anything too strong - like garlic, for example. Flavored massage oils and erotic products can also add an element of fun. If using lotions or oils, make sure they're compatible with any condoms you're using.

Mastering foreplay enhances sexual experiences and Trojan is here to help. Make Trojan part of the fun from condoms to pleasure enhancing products so you and your partner can have your best sex.