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Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts

  • 5 min read
Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts - The Cowgirl Blog

Written by sex journalist and expert, Gabrielle Kassel, for The Cowgirl.

Foreplay is like flossing. Most people know it’s something they should be doing, but don’t often do it—usually because they’re lazy, short on time, or tired.

We believe that another reason people short-change acts of pleasure classified as foreplay is because of how we, as a society, conceptualize foreplay. That’s why we put together this guide on the right way to think about foreplay, as well as 9 foreplay tips you and your FWBs and baes will want to try ASAP.

It’s time to re-define foreplay

The direct translation of foreplay is anything that happens before sex. Because the exact definition of sex varies based on who’s doing the defining, so does the definition of foreplay.

Unfortunately, most people are taught an incredibly limited, ableist, heterocentric definition of sex that says only penetrative vaginal intercourse is sex. And everything else is the before stuff or the foreplay. Sigh.

At The Cowgirl, however, we like to define far more expansively and inclusively than that. We define sex as solo, partnered, or multi-partnered act of pleasure. Depending on pleasure preferences, that could be anything from kissing and neck biting, to analingus and anal bead play, to oral sex and hand sex.

Because the word foreplay is rooted in such a limited understanding of sex, we prefer to use the words ‘pre-play’, ‘outercourse’, or ‘non-penetrative pleasure’, all of which allow for a broader understanding of sex.

9 tips to make foreplay as pleasurable as possible

1. Expand your definition of what qualifies as sex.

Babes, we aren’t just expanding the definition for foreplay to win some linguistics games. We are expanding the definition because it has the power to open up new realms of pleasure for everyone involved.

So, read the above section one more time. Then, take some time to think through the ways that your (*cough cough*) former definition of foreplay may have hijacked your or your partner(s) pleasure in the past.

Have you, for example, transitioned out of a sex act you and/or your partner were really enjoying because of some internal pressure that it was time for ‘real’ sex, or time to get the ‘show on the road’? Or, have you ever felt bamboozled because you had the pleasure of going down on or touching a partner with your hands, but not with your genitals?

2. Get on the same page as your partner.

As far as sex goes, you can never go wrong with communicating MORE. And that means communicating before, during, and after the goings go down.

Because foreplay and sex mean something different to everyone, it’s a good idea to talk through what sex acts are (and are not) on the table before mouths start meeting, zippers start unzippering, and hands start traveling.

Before you and your partner start hooking up, you might say, “I would really like to kiss you tonight. Is that on the table for you?” or “Can we name the amount of sexual tension in the room right now? I would love to explore it, if you’re open to it.”

As you get further into the evening, it can be beneficial to check in about what sex acts you’re mutually interested in exploring together. You might say:

  • “Are there any sex acts that you know you do—or don’t—want to explore together tonight?”
  • “I’d love to go down on you tonight, is that something you might be interested in?”.
  • “Do you want me to use my mouth to give you a nipple orgasm?”.

3. Make it last all day.

Another RomCom-facilitated sex myth is that sex begins and ends in the bedroom. But you know what else can count as sex? Bringing your partner coffee in bed in the morning, sending them a naughty mid-day text, or wearing lingerie under your work clothes.

Anything that reminds you (or them!) of the intimacy, romance, and spark between you, will help get you both thinking about sex. And when you’re thinking about sex you’re more likely to be in the mood for it!

Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts - Shower Together - The Cowgirl Blog

4. Shower together.

There’s no better way to prep for one hot wet experience (sex), than with another (showering).

Even solo, taking a shower or bath before sex can help you get in the mood for sexual play by releasing some of the tension stored in your muscles, as well as relaxing your mind.

But when done with your oh-so-nude boo, showering has the added benefit of giving you the perfect excuse to soap, massage, touch, and rub each other all over.

Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts - The Cowgirl Blog

5. Explore sensation play.

Sensation play is a type of erotic play that involves experimenting with different tastes, scents, sounds, touches, and visuals for the sake of heightening pleasure. In addition to adding a dose of spice and creativity into your play, sensation play also gives you and your partner an opportunity to learn more about your bodies. Plus, it rarely involves penetration or other direct genital stimulation.

Some ideas for taking your sensation play to the next level:

See Hear Taste Touch Smell
  • Use a blindfold, tube sock, or eye mask to remove sight
  • Watch porn
  • Play a romantic comedy
  • Position a mirror so that you can see yourselves
  • Play porn or audio erotica in the background
  • Play music
  • Put your own sex tape on in the background
  • Talk to a phone sex operator
  • Listen to ASMR
  • Use flavored lubricant
  • Apply flavored chapstick
  • Use chocolate sauce, wine, caramel, or whipped cream in an erotic way
  • Incorporate a sensation toy like a feather, Wartenberg wheel, flogger tassel, or paddle.
  • Play with hot and cold with ice, sex wax, or stainless steel toys.
  • Light a candle
  • Put out incense
  • Begin play after a sweaty workout
  • Shower together
  • Wash the sheets

Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts - Light a Candle - The Cowgirl Blog

6. Dance!

Proud owner of Dance-dance revolution? Get after it! Love to tap? Take out your tap-dancing shoes. Big fan of slow dancing? Put on Stairway to Heaven.

Dancing, no matter the type, gives you an opportunity to connect with your sensual self in a new way. Dancing with a partner offers you both that opportunity at the same time.

Ranging from silly to sexy, athletic to aesthetic, a dance party is a great way to join bodies before joining your bodies.

7. Try eye gazing.

Take intimacy up a notch with a tantric sex practice called eye-gazing. In short, eye gazing is deep, sustained eye contact.

To do it, get into a comfortable position with your partner, then lock and hold eyes for anywhere from five to ten minutes at a time. The first few times you try it, you may feel vulnerable, awkward, or uncomfortable… persevere through those sensations because eventually, you’ll feel a deeper level of connectivity with your boo.

8. Kiss, kiss, kiss.

Lip-lock, make-out, smooch, smack. Kissing, no matter what you call it, is an A-plus way to establish, maintain, and intense intimacy. So why not spend plenty of time kissing?

Our recommendation: Take your kissing game to the next level by using different techniques and pressures. You might, for example, experiment with lip nibbling, tongue tasting, lip licking, and more.

Sexual Foreplay Do's and Don'ts - Kiss Lower Lower - The Cowgirl Blog

9. Kiss lower and lower…

Of course, your (top) lips are not the only place on the body that respond to a little lip and tongue action. Other erogenous zones like your neck, chest, earlobes, palms, fingers, and belly will delight in being pleasured orally.

Your move: Work your way down your partner's body, stopping to explore different erogenous zones along the way. As you do, you might tell your partner how good they taste, or how much you love feeling them moan or move against your mouth.