The importance of foreplay

Flirting with someone at the bar is exciting – you see them across the room and make sultry eye contact, you share some spicy margs, they whisper something naughty in your ear, you go back home together… and realise that without the dim lights and the sharp tequila smell, you’re just two people with bodies that want to have sex, which is pretty awkward. What do you do?



Foreplay is a series of emotionally and physically intimate acts between people that are meant to arouse both of them.


Take it easy – that’s where the foreplay comes in. Sex should never leap from A to Z - foreplay is a gradual process, and each stage should be fun whether it's between you and a long-term partner, or incorporated into more casual, non-committal sexual adventures.

Foreplay makes sure that the end result isn’t the only thing that’s important by placing emphasis on pleasure, both physically and mentally. Foreplay has psychological effects too, which makes the sex itself feel much deeper and more exciting.

Girls just wanna have fun

Foreplay is important for many reasons. In the UK, 1/6 women report that they find intercourse painful, and women typically take longer to orgasm, but foreplay lessens the gap between male and female pleasure. Female genitals become engorged and erect in the same way as male genitals do. The inner labia increases up to 3 times in size, the clitoris extends, and the G-spot swells. Erect penises may be more obvious, but this doesn’t mean they’re more important. Having vaginal intercourse before a woman is sufficiently turned on is painful and not enjoyable, and foreplay prevents that from happening.

How long should foreplay last?

This will vary for different people, and sometimes you don’t have all the time in the world, but longer foreplay does pay off. 10 minutes might be all you need, especially if you’re already horny and if you haven’t had sex in a while. But where you can, try and extend foreplay to around 30 minutes, or even longer if it’s working for you. If your intuition is telling you to do less or more, then stay true to what you need, but teasing yourself and seeing how far both you and your partner can go will make the desire palpable (in a good way!)

Does foreplay affect sex quality?

The short answer? Yes. Delayed gratification makes for some very intense and memorable orgasms because you want it more, your body is more ready, and above all, you feel that your other needs have been fulfilled. There’s a time and place for hot and fast sex, don’t get us wrong, but making sure all pleasure points have been stimulated is important – it’s not just your genitals that need to be involved. Other parts of your body and, of course, your mind will thank you for a long and steamy foreplay session.

What should foreplay look like?

Foreplay can take many forms. Physically, it’s important to not just go straight for the genitals. Focus on kissing, touching, licking, and stroking other erogenous zones, like the inner thighs, the neck, the chest, and the ears. You could incorporate a slow and oily massage for a layered sensory experience, as well as a relaxing one. Taking turns to massage your sexual partner will allow you to give their whole body the attention it deserves and to receive the same in return.  

Foreplay is also as psychological as it is physical – making sure to address any issues that may have arisen between you and your partner that day, or being clear about their sexual boundaries, can help increase the feeling of comfort and intimacy preceding the act itself.

Lean into what feels good! The aim of foreplay is to make you feel ready and relaxed before sex, so listen to your body and mind.

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