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You’ve probably heard it before, but we’re here to say it again: better foreplay, better sex. Seriously. That being said, though, we feel like the concept of “foreplay” embodies a lot more than most folks traditionally think it to be. It doesn’t just start with physical touch; foreplay can certainly be physical (slowly feeling your partner’s body and/or giving them a massage, going down on one another, etc), but foreplay is so much more than the physical. Sending naughty nudes or sexts or voice notes, going on an incredible, sensual date, whispering one of your fantasies… all of that is foreplay!

Keep reading to learn about what foreplay really is, the benefits of it, and a few ideas for you and your partner(s) to supercharge and switch your pre-sex play up a little bit.

What is foreplay, really?

Put very simply, consider foreplay your sexual warmup — and sticking with that metaphor, athletes about to play in a match don’t just need to warm up their bodies. Mind and spirit are equally as important. Similarly, sex isn’t just physical. It’s mental and emotional too, and good foreplay helps all three of those bodies align. And if mind, body, and spirit are all relaxed, present, and sexually charged? You’ll have the best sex of your life, guaranteed.

We do have a serious caveat for that metaphor, though: sex shouldn’t really be thought of as a match, a game on the calendar to play and win — that’s a fairly gendered and heteronormative way of thinking about sex, and we might challenge you to broaden your horizons. Instead of centering sex around penetrative sex and/or orgasm, maybe expand your definition to any and all sexual activity. And by that definition, foreplay becomes less of a defined physical act — cunnilingus, ____, felatio, and so on — and moreso a sensual state of being that leads to greater arousal, excitement, and pleasure.

What are the benefits?

As far as physical benefits go, leaning into foreplay certainly assists with reaching physical states of arousal. If you send your partner dirty sexts throughout the day, for example, then give them a sensual massage when they get home, and then get down to penetration or otherwise? It might be a lot easier for everyone involved to reach arousal (self-lubrication, erection, etc.), rather than expecting yourself or partners to suddenly be on.

Then of course, the thing that hand-in-hand with reaching an ideal and sustained level of arousal? Pleasure. Being fully turned on ups the ante on the excitement and the climax, generally making it easier for participants to achieve orgasm. 

Again, though, foreplay isn’t just about the reward of orgasm — it’s about the entirety of the sexual experience, from the second you send that first “I want you” text, to exchanging sexually charged glances over dinner and/or a glass or a few of wine, to finally touching one another, to intercourse. Pleasure isn’t just a few moments, and proper foreplay ensures that pleasure is both felt and reciprocated along the way.

Ok, got it — any ideas to help my partner(s) and I get started?

Always, ALWAYS, tip #1 is to be open and honest with partners about your wants and needs, and to listen to what they want and need in turn. Communication makes for better sex, which also means better foreplay. (Besides, is it not sexy to feel heard?? WHILE whispering your desires?? How hot!)

That aside, we do have some tangible suggestions for spicing things up between the sheets (or elsewhere) that you might want to try out:

  • Naughty nudes, sexts, voice messages, and so on: If the digital world has given us anything, it’s the ability to tease and be teased by sexual partners throughout the day. Send a dirty message or photo to them at work, describing your desires in detail. If you want to go old-school, leave them a physical note instead — analog hotness!

  • Play with the senses: Cold ice cubes and warm wax are classic stimulators. Used safely, both are exciting and arousing.

  • Take turns blindfolding one another: Another exciting way to play with the sensory experience. Lay out some boundaries, then have fun exciting and exploring each other.

  • Experiment with toys: Toys can be used during foreplay, too — not just intercourse. Maybe give different types of vibrators, some bondage tools, or even anal beads a whirl.

  • Take a shower or a bath: Get super soapy, and scrub each other down. Wash each other’s hair (sounds cheesy, but it’s so hot). Trust us — getting each other clean feels very, very dirty.

  • Whipped cream and chocolate sauce: We promise, eating off of each other is actually crazy hot. Find something you’re both into, and give it a try.

Oh, and in general, a bit of extra lubrication never hurt anyone. Trust us.


For a limited time save 20% on our For Play Duo because playtime and pleasure feel so much better when intimate skin is smooth, soothed, and nourished.

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This article is by Maggie Harrison-- a rural Pennsylvania-raised, currently New Orleans-based writer and creative whose work covers everything from wellness to social media to grief and loss. Head to her website to learn more about her work, or follow along on Instagram or Twitter.



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