Foreplay not just pre-sex ritual

2012-02-01_Hump_Day_Ryan_Edwards0103

Ryan Edwards

(Photo illustration)

Elyana Barrera

Editor's note: Hump Day is The Daily Texan's weekly sex and sexuality column.

There seems to be a lot of advice in magazines and daytime talk shows about “trying out new things” while having sex with your partner. It almost seems like if you aren't experimenting with a new toy or trying out every position from some crazy sex book (“The Snuggie Sutra” anyone?), then you aren't having great sex.

But is all this advice about “trying out new things” leaving good ol' foreplay in the dust?

Let's go back in time to junior high when just touching and holding hands with a member of your preferred sex made you excited. You felt butterflies; you were nervous — a good nervous — and you felt a rush full of attraction towards that person. Simple, small actions can still have that effect if you give them a chance, and when it does come to the big moment, foreplay and sensual gestures can make sex feel even more gratifying.

“Foreplay doesn't have to happen in bed … it can happen over a hug and a squeeze in the middle of the day, a long luscious kiss before lunch or a hand up a skirt and between warm thighs during dinner,” writes Dr. Susan Block in her book “The Ten Commandments of Pleasure.” Let's get real — college students know what foreplay is and most will tell you that it's something you do right before sex. However, foreplay doesn't necessarily have to come before sex and it shouldn't be initiated with a goal in mind.

Teasing your partner by sneaking kisses during a study break in the library or lovingly spanking him or her at a party while no one is watching can be just as exciting as having a full-on sex session, which can feel quite mechanical at times. The key to good foreplay is to make your partner feel comfortable and relaxed, yet at the same time aroused and emotionally stimulated. This can help relieve tension and strengthen your connection to each other.

You want to be aware of your partner's reactions and always keep him or her in mind. It's important to have a strong sense of communication. You might feel like you're doing something really special by rubbing your partner's feet after they have a long day at work, but if they would rather do something that involves more of a partnered effort such as slow dancing or cooking dessert together, you may miss out on some great opportunities and leave your partner feeling disconnected. Ask him or her what they want and don’t be afraid to ask how they want to be touched.

When the time does come around for you and your partner to have sex, whether it is after an intense massage or an intimate day of holding hands and talking at the park, you can bet that it will be more fruitful than if you hadn't spent time lusting after one another. The release of all of the sexual energy you will have built up during foreplay will be worth it.

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Printed on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 as: Foreplay: subtle moves just as effective