Unless you’re a member of The Fast and Furious squad, you probably don’t go from zero to sixty the second you hop in the car. So why do you think you can go from holding hands to full-on thrusting when you’re in the bedroom? Nah, you need some foreplay tips to ease your way into the main event.
Though you might view foreplay as a seriously delicious appetiser (I’m talking, arancini balls–level good, y’all), some foreplay ideas can be the whole d*mn meal. I mean it: You don’t have to make foreplay solely a prelude to intercourse, says Lori Buckley, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist in Pasadena, California.
In fact, “there are many roads to intimacy, and foreplay is one,” says Janet Brito, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist at the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Honolulu. “Foreplay leads us to a deeper sense of who we are and what we prefer sexually.”
The more you get in touch with each other’s sexual selves (both figuratively and literally), the more comfortable you’ll be sharing your desires, fantasies, all that good stuff.
Excited already? Yeah, thought so. But before you fire up that engine, here are the best foreplay tips and ideas to try ASAP.
1. Think outside the bedroom.
If your go-to foreplay routine involves a little kissing and touching—then goes right into wham, bam, thank you, ma’am—it’s time to mix it up. “Foreplay should definitely begin before you get into the bedroom to have sex,” says Buckley. She suggests getting low-key frisky with your S.O. when you’re out to dinner (footsie, haiiii), watching TV in the living room, and anywhere else you’re feeling the ~vibe~.
Both Brito and Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist, sexuality counselor specializing in sex therapy, and author of She Comes First, agree. He adds that simply “having fun and doing things that are exciting to each other” can be a form of foreplay.
How can something kinda meh lead to oh yeahhh? Well, it’s all thanks to (brace yourself for a scientific name) the excitation-transfer theory, which means that when you do a stimulating activity in one domain, the hyped-up feeling you get can then be transferred into another, explains Kerner.
So even if you get jazzed flirting over veggies at the farmer’s market together (hey, not judging), that’s a form of foreplay.
2. Fill your day with foreplay.
After all, who doesn’t want breakfast with a side of arousal? Foreplay can start in the morning and can go All. Day. Long. through sexy little suggestions here and there, says Buckley. Maybe you hop in the shower with them before work (save the shower sex for the main event) or text them a sexy little something during their lunch break (more on that in a sec).
Whatever you’re into, “you can have lots of moments of foreplay leading up to sex that happens later,” explains Kerner. In fact, just knowing you’re not going to get it on until later that night or even the next day can ramp up the anticipation and make foreplay feel even hotter.
3. Sext them sultry little somethings.
Buckley and Kerner both agree that sexting can be a hot AF form of foreplay, especially when it includes teasing the person on the other side of the screen. Let your partner know what you’re going to do to them when you see them, or hint at what you’d like them to do to you, suggests Buckley.
Try something like: “It was so great the last time we _____. I loved it when you touched me in this way, or when you sucked on that.” You can head down the sweet and sensual route or go straight-up pornographic. If it feels right in that moment, you can’t go wrong. “Anything that creates anticipation and arousal is great,” Kerner says.
4. Send a sexy pic.
Sure, dirty talk is hot, but a picture leaves a lot less to the imagination. Assuming your partner is someone you know and trust (important detail!), why not send a little something to start setting the mood before they even get home?
5. Spell it o-u-t.
Full disclosure: This tip’s as basic as wearing Uggs and a North Face while sipping a PSL from Starbucks (don’t @ me, you know it’s true), but it’s still pretty darn important. When you’re flirting or sexting with your partner, let them know exactly what you find attractive about them, advises Kerner. Even if you think they already know because of the whole wanting-to-have-sex-with-them thing, it never hurts to remind them how much their abs, ass, or even ambition turns you on.
“Remember that the language of sex is a lot different than the language you commonly use in your relationship vocabulary,” Kerner says. “You can be going through your day and communicating back and forth in very respectful, egalitarian ways, but you may also jump into some language that’s very erotic or sexual.”
Basically, whenever the opportunity to seduce your partner presents itself, seize it. And when it doesn’t…create it.
6. Play up the sexiness of not being able to have sex (yet).
Crank your next date night up a notch—or ten—by teasing your partner when you’re cuddled up at a cozy restaurant or low-lit bar. “Teasing is really important because when we can’t have what it is that we want, that creates desire,” says Buckley.
She and Brito suggest whispering in your partner’s ear about what you’re looking forward to that night, nibbling on their neck, or discreetly touching them wherever they’ll take notice. When you know you can’t have sex, it becomes all the more arousing, Buckley explains.
7. Use psychological lube.
The last thing you want to think about when getting frisky is your errand list or a work project. Simply put, not being in the right headspace can be enough to kill your boner.
That’s why Kerner always suggests adding “psychological excitement” into your foreplay routine, rather than relying solely on physical touch and stimulation.
But WTF qualifies as psychological excitement? Turns out, tons of sexy stuff: listening to an erotic podcast, watching porn together (btw, there’s audible porn now, too), reading erotica aloud to each other, and even playing sex games.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.