The most useful points I can tell you about foreplay are to simply spend more time on it, go slowly to build sexual tension and arousal, and not to move on until she’s obviously ready for sex.
A common complaint from women (and sometimes men) is that their partner doesn’t spend long enough on foreplay. So how long should it last, and what should you do during foreplay?
Let’s take a look at some key facts and some practical suggestions for what makes great foreplay.
How long do people spend on foreplay?
A survey of 4400 Brits in 2017 by the adult company LoveHoney found 10 minutes was the average time of foreplay (with another 9 for sex). Another survey of 1000 young women by Glamour found it was 5 to 9 minutes on average.
In 2004, a sex research study found 11 to 13 minutes of foreplay was the average. Interestingly though, both men and women wanted foreplay to last longer.
So before even getting to the suggestions for good foreplay, keep in mind that even just spending more time on foreplay is a positive first step.
Why is foreplay so important?!
If you’re a man, you might find it very easy to go from zero to having an erection and being ready for sex. Foreplay might be something you love. But equally, it might be no more than an appetizer you can skip if you’re hungry for the main event.
As a general rule, however, women need that precious foreplay time in order for sex to be both desirable and enjoyable.
On a practical level, there’s the simple matter of natural lubrication. It can take time, and some women take longer than others.
A woman can be turned on without being wet at all, but without lubrication sex is painful. One of the main aims of foreplay is to get her wet so that she (and you too) can enjoy sex.
Then there’s the level of desire itself. Foreplay helps build sexual tension and desire. In short, the more time you spend on foreplay, they more she will feel like she wants sex, and the more she will enjoy it when it happens.
The long game
Foreplay is a long game. You might have heard it said that sex for women is a mental thing, and that’s somewhat true. To be a master of foreplay you need to know that it never stops.
We’re not talking about ten minutes before getting down to the real action; we’re talking about an entire evening. Don’t panic though – I’m not suggesting you spend hours giving her oral sex!
What I mean is building up during the day. Try surprising her with a cheeky or romantic text message. Hand holding when you’re walking down the street, touching, caressing, sliding your arm around her waist – all these things count.
And ideally, during the course of your evening, you want to maintain as much casual touching as possible.
In terms of more intense foreplay, how long should you be spending? That depends on you and your partner. No woman is the same. Actually, no encounter is the same.
I know that’s not exactly a definitive answer, but putting a time limit on these things is tough. If you want a basic rule: keep going until either she’s obviously lubricated and turned on, or until she asks for more.
More on that in a bit.
So, you’ve been doing the sweet stuff like holding hands and casually touching all night. Now it’s time to move on to something a little more passionate: kissing.
Don’t underestimate it and don’t over-complicate things. Kissing is a fantastic start and an important step.
Begin gently and softly, and take your cue from her. When she starts to exert more pressure, go in for deeper kisses. Kiss like you were in high school; kiss like sex isn’t an option and kissing is all you’ll be allowed to do.
And when you’re both ready, move things to the bedroom (or wherever else you like), and begin removing clothing. And by ready, I mean you honestly can’t take anymore and you have to move on.
Don’t make the mistake of attempting to undress her too early on. You’re building up to a climax, so don’t rush it.
ouching and caressing
Once you’re comfortable and (mostly) naked, move on to touch. But steer clear of the erogenous zones for now (the breasts and genitals). Neck kissing, kissing down her chest to her stomach, stroking the insides of her thighs all feel good.
Get creative with the way you touch, for example lifting her arms over her head and very gently stroking the tips of your fingers down from her wrists to the upper arm to the armpit and then down the side of her body to her hips.
The idea is to prolong the sensuality of the experience, subtly teasing her and showing her you’re into her whole body, not just the parts men like most.
So when you do get to the more intimate regions of her body, she’s ready to be touched there. In fact, she’s longing to be touched there.
The erogenous zones
When breathing is harder, and pulses are racing, you’re ready to turn things up a notch. But you can still leave the genitals alone for a little longer. Head up to the breasts, stroke them gently, run your thumb across her nipples.
When her nipples are hard, tease her by seductively licking around them at first. Then you can lick her nipples, and finally suck them, keeping a steady rhythm.
Nipples are sensitive, and you need to be gentle unless she asks for more pressure. Don’t twist and turn her nipples – very few women like this. Sucking, on the other hand, is much more pleasurable.
You can also stroke the inside of her thighs, moving your hand closer and closer, maybe even brushing over her vagina, but not touching anything directly yet.
A quick interlude
Before we get to the main event, we need to come back and address the lubrication issue again. Here’s a new rule for you:
Nothing dry touches a vagina. Ever.
All women are different. Some women will get literally dripping wet, others won’t get wet at all. And it’s possible for a woman to be very turned on without being wet at all. Don’t take it personally.
Also realize that even if a woman is getting wet, that lubrication is coming from inside her. That means that the outside part of her genitals won’t necessarily be wet. Which brings us back to our new rule.
If you’re about to touch her down there you need to discreetly pop your finger into your mouth and wet it first. Consider this a courtesy, and do it every time. A dry finger isn’t comfortable.
Things aren’t getting wet down there? Don’t panic. Keep a bottle of lube in your bedside drawer.
Put the lube on her (don’t just hand her the bottle). If this is a new thing, and you’re worried about how she’ll react, then put a little lube on yourself first, then some on her. That way she’ll know that it’s for everyone’s pleasure.
Oh, and one more thing. Be a gent and warm it up in your hand first if the bedroom is chilly – nothing makes a woman recoil quicker than a guy slapping cold lube on her sensitive bits.
Back to the action
You’re ready to head to the down below, and now you’ve got a choice to make: you can either use your hand or your tongue. Either way, your initial move is to stroke and caress around the vulva. Ignore her clitoris for a little longer.
The sensitive areas you should be aiming for? Well, there are three. The first is the silky area of skin just at the bottom of her opening. The second is the first few millimeters inside the opening itself. And the third is the sweet spot.
The sweet spot is a little place just to the side of the clitoris. If you imagine that the clitoris is the face of a clock, stroke gently at what would be about one o’clock. You’ll know when you hit it (she’ll react), so stroke that area rhythmically.
Oral sex is arguably an art form, and not everyone has a good handle on it. So rather than give a quick summary here, I highly recommend taking the time to read my detailed oral sex tips.
Is she ready for sex yet?
So, are you ready for sex now? There are some sure signs. The surest of all is that she asks you. Sounds simple, but there it is.
However, if she’s well lubricated (naturally or artificially), her lips (both the ones on her face and the ones down below) are swollen, and the color of her vagina has deepened, then yes, she’s almost certainly ready.
Becoming the master of foreplay
If you want to be a true master of foreplay, then there are two things that you really need to know. Firstly, communicate. Ask her directly if she likes what you do. And pay attention to her responses when you’re doing them. If her breathing quickens and she moans a little, you’re probably doing something right.
Secondly, the one big thing that makes a difference is desire. No matter how clumsy you might be (or feel), whether your technique is good or not, whether you have tons of experience or none at all, nothing takes the place of desire.
Be present and connect with her. Look at her and touch her as if she’s the only thing in the world that matters. That will do more to turn her on than anything else. Sounds corny, but it’s true.
Foreplay is essential for good sex. There’s no way around it. But it’s not difficult to do (honestly, it’s really not) and just by deciding to spend plenty of time on it, you’ve already taken the most important step.
What does foreplay mean to you? What do you like to do with your partner? Feel free to share your ideas and ask questions in the comments below!