How To Approach Your Partner About Engaging In More Foreplay

Foreplay is an essential part of a satisfying sex life. According to WebMD, foreplay — also known as outercourse — is comprised of the sexual acts that lead up to intercourse, which typically help stimulate erotic pleasure. It can include everything from cuddling, kissing, dirty talk, and anything else sexually pleasurable that can invite your partner into the steps leading up to sex. If you're new to dating or sexual activity otherwise, approaching your partner about foreplay can be daunting. On the other hand, you might be missing out on the most exciting parts of sex, especially with a new person.


Having satisfying sex can lead to a routine that works best for you and your partner, while still keeping things spontaneous and exciting. However, finding a routine that's pleasurable for both parties takes time, effort, and honesty, but the result is always worth it. According to sex educator Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez, "Foreplay is the mental build-up of arousal in which you and your partner start to feel sexual tension," she explained to Cosmopolitan. "Foreplay creates time for desire to build, which increases pleasure for when you do start sexing."

Before taking things straight to the bedroom, it's important to build the tension and sexual desires between you and your partner. Foreplay is commonly believed as one of the best parts of sex, and that means finding new ways to make it exciting. From a crash course on dirty talk to sex toy brands created for women, we've got you covered. If you're worried or confused about how to approach your partner about the importance, benefits, and personal explorations of foreplay, don't worry. You've come to the right place.


Understanding the importance of foreplay

Cisgender men are often clueless about the importance of foreplay, especially when intercourse is quicker and equally as satisfying for the male reproductive system without any pre-show rituals. On the other hand, sexual arousal for women depends on more in-depth and ritualistic activities, like foreplay. But it's not just for women — with the right kind of foreplay, men can learn to appreciate it, too. According to sex and relationship expert Melissa Stone, "Foreplay is not just about physical touch," she explained to Verywell Mind. "It's also about creating a sense of connection and intimacy between partners." Leaving room for foreplay will not only increase the longevity of sex, but invites intimacy to be a part of the process.


Foreplay also sparks hormonal stimulation that prepares the body for sex, like releasing oxytocin (aka the love hormone), while reducing stress-inducing hormones like cortisol. Through the release and regulation of these hormones, we see an increase in mental, physical, and emotional stimulation, often unimaginable for the human body to conquer all at once. If you and your partner have never explored foreplay, you can start by noting these benefits and how effective they are for ultimate sexual satisfaction. It's likely that your partner wants you to feel as satisfied as possible after sex, and that starts by explaining what they can do for you.

Start small, then get bigger

Introducing something new to you and your partner's sex life can feel intimidating, but there are ways to slowly familiarize yourself with the idea and encourage your partner to try new things. For example, sexual messaging — verbally or via text — can help get the conversation started and build anticipation. As Stone explained to Verywell Mind, "Offering compliments or engaging in playful flirting can help to build sexual tension and create a sense of anticipation before any sexual pleasure or physical stimulation." This can include sending a risque picture, complimenting your partner, sending an article about foreplay (like this one!), or letting them know you're waiting for them to come home.


Once the initial engagement starts, you can turn up the heat through roleplay, games, and even self-pleasure. According to sex and relationship coach Claudia Six, initiating foreplay outside of the bedroom is even sexier. "It's the unexpected that keeps things interesting," she explained to Glamour. There are so many places to have sex besides the bedroom — like the kitchen, dining room, living room, floor, office, car, etc. — that can spice things up in unexpected ways. Of course, comfort matters most, so try preparing different areas around the house with comfortable spots for intimacy.

Advocating for yourself

As women, it can be difficult bringing up foreplay, especially if it's meant to serve your needs rather than someone else's. Women are conditioned to believe that advocacy is only valid when its purpose is to serve another person or community, but that just isn't true. On the other hand, unlearning our misconceptions of advocacy starts with jumping in head-first — like telling your partner you'd like more out of your sex life. You can start by explaining how intercourse isn't always sexually satisfying for cishet women, specifically when it comes to penetration. The term 'foreplay' can reinforce the idea that intercourse is the final and most important event, but that isn't true.


In an interview with HuffPost, clinical sexologist Lawrence Siegel explained that foreplay is a misleading word. "Of course, anything that helps increase erotic desire is good," he said. "And anything referred to as foreplay can be a complete sexual or erotic experience unto itself." Bringing the conversation of foreplay outside the bedroom might allow your partner to take your concerns more seriously, as you can explain, critique, and leave room for any questions without ruining the moment. Having a serious conversation about foreplay will build intimacy and the erotic desires that make foreplay so great, and both you and your partner will be better for it.

Be open, kind, and understanding

Sexual intimacy can't be great without a kind and compassionate connection between both parties. Showing up for your partner, hearing them out, and prioritizing consent are just a few ways to build an open and honest relationship. According to sex, family, and marriage therapist Tom Murray, "Foreplay also includes daily events where you demonstrate a desire for your partner as a person: showing up in ways that make life easier for your partner — doing a load of laundry, taking the kids to the park, making sure bills are paid on time," he explained to HuffPost. "Kindness and consideration are sexy!" We couldn't agree more.


Kindness and consideration can also apply to the speed at which you move, which contributes to the quality of foreplay and sexual satisfaction between you and your partner. That means following through with ongoing consent, prioritizing pleasure over a timely finish, and lingering in places you're quick to move on from. It is ultimately up to you and your partner the speed at which you move together, but challenge yourselves to be more present by increasing the longevity of foreplay. And don't forget — it's an essential part of sex.