Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Would you like to increase the chances of having sex with your partner tonight?
Then I suggest you start honing your foreplay skills immediately. What did you just picture in your mind? Oral sex, perhaps? Manual stimulation? A combination of the two? I’ve got a better idea: try unloading the dishwasher.
To this very day, our dictionaries define foreplay as “sexual activity that precedes intercourse.” It’s a fundamentally flawed definition. For one thing, it implies that intercourse is the end goal and that any other form of sexual play is merely a preamble to “the main event.” But even if we accepted this premise, it only directs us in how to get someone interested in intercourse. So how do we pique interest in the sexual activity which, according to this archaic definition, precedes it?
Let me offer a better, more expansive understanding of foreplay: it is everything that happens between the moment your last sexual encounter ends and the next one begins. It is the sum total of all interaction you have with your partner, regardless of whether the time between your sexual encounters is an hour, a day, or a week. Yep--foreplay is 24/7.
It is not uncommon for someone in a relationship to desire sex more frequently than his or her partner, often attributing this disparity to a shortcoming in the partner. What they fail to account for, however, is their behavior leading up to a sexual request--otherwise known as foreplay. Did the two of you have a fight earlier today in which you said something insulting or demeaning? Perhaps you've apologized and it's resolved, but that doesn't mean you're having sex tonight. Your partner may be still feeling the sting of the insult; this is not exactly an aphrodisiac. Less egregious but equally deleterious is a day in which you have had minimal to no contact, or what little interaction you do have is bereft of emotion or caring.
So what should you be doing? Ask yourself this: have you been kind to you partner? Have you been more complimentary than critical? Have you been affectionate without expectation of something more sexual? Have you been thoughtful? Have you listened--really listened to what your partner is saying? Do you remember the things requested of you? And yes--did you unload the dishwasher, fold laundry or cook a meal? If you've been away all day, have you made an effort to maintain contact, perhaps through sweet texts, flirty emojis, or a quick call to say hello?
This is foreplay, folks. It's seduction through words, actions, expression of feelings, affection, kindness, being present and staying connected. Of course, one hopes this behavior is motivated by more than just sex: ideally you're with someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself. Do these things because it's nice to be nice, because your relationship will be closer, and because you like to see your partner happy.
But you'll probably have more sex, too.