Foreplay Tips: Do More Of It To Build Her Sexual Desire

man and woman kissing as part of foreplay

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?!

image of a woman with a funny quote: " skip the foreplay and just do it already, said no girl ever!"

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.

image of a couple engaging in foreplay

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.

Slow touching 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.

erotic woman photo

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.

image of lubricant

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.

Your thoughts

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!


  1. Hi Ethan,

    I am very fan of you are your articles too, especially ED and timing one really helped me a lot. I am married, but my wife never takes an interest in sex, it’s just work for her or as a job. She never asks me for sex even if we don’t do anything for 2, 3 weeks too. She never comes on top as she says she has no interest in doing it. Although she gets wet but never discharge (as I have seen girls in porn movies). As well as she never moans at all :(

    I know I have watched porn and have higher expectations but I’ll overcome.

    You know we are very friendly but don’t know what to do so she takes interest in sex :(

    • Hi Ali
      I’m glad to hear you liked the site. Have you spoken to her openly about her sexual desire? Some people do have a low libido, for many reasons. But it might be that there is something, or various things, that she would like to do differently. You might never know unless you ask her honestly, calmly and in a positive way.

  2. My best female friend has had a number of horrible experiences totally turning her off sex. As we have become more than friends I’ve patiently been bringing down those walls. Been reading your articles about touch and listening to her body. I took my time, made it my goal to please her first. Well it’s working flawlessly.. I’ve realised you can have her shaking uncontrollably without entering her. She is still apprehensive but I think I’m on the right track. Thanks

    • Hi James
      It sounds like you’re just the thing she might need then after a run of bad luck. A man who takes the time to learn how to please a woman better, and is patient with her, is probably going to be great for both her, and the both of you.
      I wish you all the best together!

  3. I believe I am going to undergo a small paradigm shift. While I had considered patience in playing with my wife’s genital area to be essential (but as stated previously this is not working as standalone foreplay), I now realize from yours and other comments that one should engage a two-step process: Get her sex interest going first in a mostly clothed state, foreplay phase #1 with a bit of tease, then move onto phase #2, the undressed foreplay using tease and patience.

    Incidentally, I read that doing dishes, rubbing feet etc are good ways to get her interested; not here. But I must admit she has hinted that “I should focus more on her, not just her genitals”. With luck on this new adventure, I hope I will be able to play with her more/longer. Maybe I just haven’t been doing things right.

  4. I appreciate the guidance given – the “gold standard”.

    My wife and I are in our early 70’s. For a number of years I have experienced a reversal of the process. While I would like to draw things out with more foreplay, especially the touching phase, she is less patient and the majority of times wants to move to intercourse after brief play. This almost always requires some lubrication assistance, but the end result is always satisfying – every 3 to 5 days, but there are “misfires” occasionally where I run out of steam. I feel cheated (if you can imagine that) that I cannot play with her longer. She does feel that there is a risk of more “misfires” when things are delayed, but this subjective and I believe a relatively low risk. I frequently make it clear that I would like to play with her longer, its a lota fun, but to no avail.

    Are you aware of cases where the husband wants more foreplay time, and the woman wants reduced foreplay time?

    • Hi there
      Yes, there are definitely more partners out there where the man wants more foreplay but then woman wants to get straight to the ‘good bit’. Perhaps there’s a compromise, or perhaps it’s a good time to practice your teasing of her.

  5. Do you think it’s ok to send this link to my partner. He doesn’t know what to do aside from fiddling with my nipples which is getting really boring

    • Hi there
      Sure, if you think he’ll take it well. Alternatively, you could read through it together in a moment when you’re feeling connected and think he’ll take it well!

    • Hi there
      You’re very welcome! I think there’s a bit more to making matrimonial advice blissful, but good foreplay will certainly help.

  6. I really wish my boyfriend would take the initiative to read this. We recently both had sex for the first time and already I can tell that there is a lot missing because all he ever wants is the penetration itself. My question is, how do I bring up the sensitive topic of foreplay without seeming demanding or hurting his feelings?

    • Hi Hlupekile
      Well, it’s not always necessary to bring it up in a conversation right away, especially if he is inexperienced. You could first try taking the lead, playing with him and teasing him, and making him realize more subtly that you expect and enjoy more foreplay before getting to sex. If you play the seductive, but also in control role, he might get it and play along. But if that doesn’t work, and he really doesn’t understand and just rushes to sex, then yes, you need to just tell him. It doesn’t have to be all serious – you can be smiley, laugh and tell him ‘hold on a second mister…’ with a cheeky grin. Then tell him you really enjoy the sex, but want to enjoy each other’s bodies in other ways too before rushing to sex. Make him feel that you like him so much you want to spend even more time getting hot and horny before sex. And if that still doesn’t work, then a more direct conversation either before or after sex might be needed!

  7. Foreplay, as you layed it out, is not just warming up to intimacy as it is also the magical glue, or ‘bonding’ that a couple relies on, stated or not, foreplay is a natural phenomenon in a committed relationship. While I agree that ‘foreplay’ as a means to and end (sex) is a hot topic, I’m grateful that at 52 years of age, it isn’t always that ‘end’ in my mind. I believe my gal is fortunate that ‘foreplay’ is a daily meal for us, a natural tendency toward the other, where we are spontaneous when intimacy is triggered. It’s magical for her, for me, ‘overflow’, as we refer to it. Do you think ‘foreplay’ is culturally marginalized as the ‘key to sex’?

    • Hi Richard
      It’s great that you have such a wonderful and intimate connection with your partner by the sound of it. I don’t think foreplay is necessarily culturally marginalized – it’s just that most people think the word means the sexual activity that leads up to sex. If you choose to take foreplay out of the bedroom and into daily life, that’s great, but perhaps not what everyone would feel like doing.

  8. I find this article very useful with many techniques I have either forgotten to use or never have done. Thank you!
    For me the foreplay is a big pleasure and fun to do. I can do it for hours depending on my partner. But, you really have to be able to sense your partner and to choose the right moment too. Recently I ran into the situation of no desire in my, I’d say future partner. It was pleasure for both of us, but she has recently left her previous boyfriend and was not completely ready for new relationship or sex.
    I am wondering if this is right.. Or, maybe I was doing something wrong she didn’t like. She says she need time before getting into new relationship. From a man standpoint it’s difficult to understand that, because men are ready almost all the time. We need just a few days, weeks or months (the worst case) to get it started with the new girl. But, women are different. No question about it!
    So, my question is, is this situation normal from a woman standpoint. Or, maybe she is just trying to get rid of me?

    • Hi Antonino
      This is very normal and nothing to panic about. It might be that she thought she was ready, or just went with the moment because she likes you and it attracted to you. But only when she actually got physical, did she maybe realise that she’s not quite ready.
      My advice is to be patient and understanding. Tell her you understand, and don’t need to rush anything. Let her feel that she has space and room to work through her feelings and also maybe see you. The worst thing you can do it pressure her or make her feel bad for not going further, as she probably won’t respond well to that. So just be patient if you really like her:-)

    • Foreplay is very important to bring a woman in orgasm. The most effective foreplay is mututal oral sex. It gives immense pleasure to both and the lady feels more pleasure and will orgasm very quickly. With this practice, vagina becomes wet within no time and both of you can enjoy sex.

  9. I have been with my bf for 5 yrs and he doesn’t foreplay at all hasn’t a clue what to do below my breasts don’t think he has had many partners…he thinks our sex life is great. can’t bring myself to scream at him…he doesn’t touch me at all below my beasts…how do I guide or tell him nicely ….

    • Hi Sharon
      Well, maybe if he’s that unaware of what foreplay is all about, the only way might be to just tell him openly and as nicely as possible what you’d like him to do! It’s not always easy to find a subtle way to get a guy to do more or less of something, so it’s often best just to be straight up honest. But make sure you first tell him all the stuff you love that he does. Start with some positives, then go in for the chat about things you’d like more of.

      • I find it hard to say anything as I haven’t ever had to with previous partners…I’m trying to avoid sex altogether..we had to buy ky gel as has he doesn’t touch me down there and i was getting sore …sometimes he just says hope on …I do. just to get it over with …doesnt he think well why do we need gel ?obviously he has no clue. we dont talk about it at all which I know is very odd in a relationship .which questions me is he really for me ..he asks me to wear something sexy and I think it ok mate wot about me ….so I don’t wear it ..don’t laugh but he even lets me watch tv while he’s having sex with my breasts lol ….which says it all really …

        • Hi Sharon
          It sounds like a lack of intimacy, romance, eroticism going on there. Have you tried setting something up where you’re more in control? Set the scene in the bedroom with candles, low lighting, soft music, wear something nice that you want to wear. Invite him in, take control, seduce him, tell him to relax and be patient while you teach him through example.

  10. This was really helpful, I’ve never done anything sexual before, due to being with the wrong people. But now I’ve found someone I’m comfortable with and we’re starting to get to that point, but she is very experienced and I feel like I’m not enough, so reading this has actually made me feel so much better, thanks.

    • Hi Sheldon
      You’re very welcome. I think it’s a good idea to do some reading to prepare yourself. But try not to stress about it too much about the difference in experience. We’re always learning new things, and it’s a different experience with each partner we have. So no matter what she knows, it’s a fresh start and something for you two to enjoy and explore together.

  11. You have brought a new taste of wonder to an elderly academic. Thank you so much. Go from strength to strength. The remarks about diet are very cogent.

  12. Well written article. A little lengthy but a very good read. I especially appreciated the part about non erogenous zones…. most men overlook that. Love the words of advice given.

  13. Without reading the comments I did the practical of what you are suggesting. It was all about her. When finished I asked her how was that, it was the best ever; we have been married for 46-years. I continue to research for the best options, can’t wait until the next time, there is a timing of when and how often. I don’t want her to think I am sex driven. I did buy her an extremely sheer bra, her nipples looked great I started at the top and worked my way down. Just simply rubbing her nipples in this bra was a real turn on for her. I touched her new black underwear; the thrust of her pussy was enough to tell me we were well on the way……you can fill in the blanks.

    • Hi Larry
      I’m very pleased she thought it was the best ever! That’s the best outcome possible. I hope things keep getting better and better.

  14. Thanks for the awesome tips, I really appreciate it! I love spending time on foreplay with my gf, so you’ve given me some fun new ideas to try!

    • Hi Elves
      What do you mean by strong exactly? I think the best thing for good sexual performance of any type is to just eat the healthiest, most balanced diet you can, and drink plenty of water. Try to avoid smoking, too much alcohol or drugs.

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