Foreplay - what it is, how to do it, and why it matters
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Foreplay is usually a big part of sex – some might even say the best part. 

What is foreplay?

Foreplay builds sexual arousal and pleasure through physical and mental stimulation. Touching, kissing, licking, dirty talk, teasing, – as long as it’s consensual, pleasurable and safe, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

Why is foreplay important?

Foreplay helps your mind and body get in the mood. It’s a way of building arousal and pleasure.

Physiologically, it can make penises and clitorises erect and vaginas and penises self-lubricate. These changes are what make sexual friction and penetration feel good rather than uncomfortable or even painful.

Emotionally, arousal can feel like connection and desire. Foreplay can increase intimacy between you and your partner and can help you discover and communicate your sexual interests.

Sex is about pleasure, not just orgasming – orgasm may not happen every time you have sex, but it should always feel good. 

Foreplay provides a way of gaining sexual pleasure that focuses on enjoyment, rather than just the end goal 

What if I don’t like what my partner is doing?

Sometimes sex is awkward. Communication is key when this happens. Let your partner know what you enjoy. We can all feel vulnerable during sex, especially when we’re with a new partner or experimenting with new things. Starting with “It’d be really hot if you…” can be a flirty way of discussing what you’d like. Or you can simply say “This doesn’t feel great for me, let’s try…”.

Does foreplay always lead to sex afterwards?

Not always. Foreplay is enjoyable on its own. Sex doesn’t have to follow.

I like foreplay and I’m mostly aroused – but I don’t always get ‘there’. What’s up?

Things like our mood can affect arousal. If you’re not into it, don’t feel pressure to have sex. You don’t owe anyone sex, even after foreplay. If you or your partner are aroused, but not ‘wet’ enough, you might need extra lubricant to comfortably have sex.

If you want to know more you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.