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This Lady Lowdown article is by Stef Osofsky-- writer + coach whose work focuses on sex, pleasure, intimacy and relating. Follow her work and connect through

I have to confess what will probably be an unpopular opinion-- I have a bit of a gripe with the idea of foreplay.

Yup. I said it. As a sex + relationship coach and writer, I am not shouting foreplay from the rooftops. 

Before you gasp and clutch your pearls - hear me out.

Perhaps it’d be more accurate to say that my gears are ground by how we talk about and perceive foreplay. All of the activities that foreplay defines as we widely understand it - sign me up. But if we break down the actual word, foreplay implies something I’d like for us to reimagine - that these are acts we check off the list before the main event. This language insinuates that these are smaller ways of interacting that lead us into the big show. The opener before the headliner - to really drive the analogy train home.

Foreplay is perceived as the container for actions that lead up to penetrative or genital-to-genital contact. Personally, I feel unsupported by the suggestion that the things that might come before that contact are only the supporting cast or backup singers.

The danger I see in Foreplay as a term and idea we perpetuate is that it suggests that we’re working towards or prioritizing something else happening. But if every time we connect, we get to drop into how we want to play, and we’re not leading up to something on a pedestal and instead, we’re listening and responding to what wants to be actualized between us now - then we can relax in our nervous systems and come home inside our bodies with the assurance that every act(ion) is of equal and ecstatic measure.

Being a truly epic lover asks us to treat every body we’re with presence and curiosity.

The same moves do not apply to the pleasure politics of everyone we play with. So we need to reimagine our concept of foreplay and what it insinuates. What if we were on an endless path of wonder, not an on-ramp?

Just a quick search in the Cosmopolitan archives alone results in dozens, if not hundreds of write-ups on the topic. A google search on foreplay yields 52 million results. It can’t be argued that these acts aren’t important, because they are. They are more important than their label implies. If we strike the fore, then what we’re here for in its entirety, is just play.

What I believe foreplay is trying to say - its true intention - is to slow down and be present to the body we’re with and what that body is asking for. Prioritizing what we consider foreplay asks us to take our time with each other and to move towards one another’s bodies from a place of inspiration born from what is here right now, versus memory of what we’ve done and who has liked it before.

Studies show it takes most vagina-owners up to 30-minutes to reach peak arousal. But I find that that response can be much more rapid if my lovers (of all genders) and I are intentional about how we approach each other. Eliciting a lubricated response doesn’t necessarily require running the gamut of minutes passed and acts performed. It does require that we are good communicators and active listeners. 

Let’s 86 this fore notion and focus on what it means to be in play with one another. If we’re not racing for a finish line marked by an O-face, what wants to be alive between you and whoever you’re with? Reduce your speed. Take your time with each other. Explore one another through your senses - what are you seeing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and tasting? If you took five minutes just to discover your lover through each sense, you’d already be right at that magic 30-minute mark.

Bodies are astounding and stunning in their differences. Give yourselves the gift of inviting a sense of wonder and awe into your co-creation. When you strip away the rules and ideas you’ve absorbed from the magazines in your dentist’s waiting room, what’s left is a treasure trove of experiences that are all worthy of main-event status. Before, during, after, whenever.





Let there be no rush.

Let there be no mad dash for a destination

that ignores the red + yellow signals to pause

and look both ways

through every intersection

that is


Let us stand -

witches of our crafts

above a cauldron that

bubbles and blisters

with our chemicals and cosmos -

the reaction of what we’re designing

just right here.

just right now.

Let us witness the holiness in every simmer

as it slowly does

or does not

reach boiling.


A rush is the flavor that wants

to be mouthed.

UNLESS the urgency of a specific


screams in our ears,




pegging our synapses

in a language

we both understand.

What this poem is praying is…

Let there be no

be(fore) or after.

Let there be just…


Let there be the spark of


through every millisecond of


Let us worship on our knees

at the wisdom of PLAY.

There is no destination

there is only


as we helix ourselves




one another.

I no longer wish that (fore)

would insert itself in front of


because I no longer wish

to define our creation

by a destination

that need not cum

in order for rapture

to explode

out of every


praising our names.


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