Sex isn’t the Hokey Pokey: there’s no need to rush straight into the in-out, in-out and shake it all about. For many people, building up sensation and anticipation through foreplay is essential to making a sexual session enjoyable and orgasmic. In fact, if you’re truly loving the ‘preparation’, there’s no obligation to proceed to penetration – you might decide to make so-called foreplay your main focus.
Here, sex expert Alix Fox – script consultant on Netflix’s Sex Education and co-host of BBC Radio 1 show Unexpected Fluids – shares seven imaginative ideas to ensure your foreplay scores ten outta ten.
#1: Get bloomin’ artistic
If bondage tickles your pickle, surprise your partner with a bouquet of flowers…and a roll of cling film. Stick with me on this one! Bind your lover’s arms, legs or torso – whatever feels safe and saucy for them – using the film, pressing flowers within the layers as you go, to turn them into a beautiful, kinky work of art. Choose blooms with a heady scent to perfume the atmosphere, but avoid thorns (unless pain is your partner’s thang). You might like to take some private photos for the two of you. You could also strap a toy in place, like the We-Vibe Bond or Moxie+, pinning it against their most private of places, then operating it using the app.
Keep a pair of safety scissors on hand in case anyone needs to be freed in a hurry. And keep a few flowers aside, too, to display in a vase as a secret reminder to you both of the experience.
#2: Play with playlists
Music has intense power to change the mood of an encounter. Challenge yourselves to play a different genre – from dramatic classical to slow, smoky jazz to futuristic ambient electronica – every night for a week, and see how differently it instinctively guides the style of your foreplay.
Everyone has certain songs that take them straight back to their youth, when every intimate experience was brand new, and infused with thrilling nervous excitement. Channel that rush by compiling a nostalgia-heavy playlist. You could even drive somewhere with a cute view, and have the tunes pumping through your car stereo as you get frisky on the back seat – just like those old dates where you couldn’t wait to escape your parents’ house!
#3: Take a midnight meander outside
For a great start to a passion session, take your foreplay into the great outdoors. Especially if you’ve been cooped up inside all day, stuck to the sofa like the cushions are flypaper and your booty is a bluebottle, a walk round the block together will re-energise you and help you regain your buzz before you hit the bedroom. If sex has slipped into becoming lazy lately – or not happening at all because you’re both feeling sluggish and stagnant – you may be surprised how much a simple stroll can revitalise your roll.
See your neighbourhood with new eyes as you search for hidden places to make out like teenagers. If it’s dark, grab a torch and explore each other’s bodies in the spotlight once you’ve found a secluded spot…or turn it off, and get that slightly spooky adrenaline rush of kissing in the pitch black. Seek out sensual sensations: the rough feel of a wall or tree bark pressed against your back; a cool breeze fluttering against your nipples or beneath your skirt (your lingerie can stay lingering at home, if you like). If it’s raining, tune into the soothing ASMR-esque pitter-patter of raindrops on a shared umbrella – or just get wet together. Oof.
Feeling more romantic than raw? Hold hands while you wander. Want to dial up the dirt? Fit your Moxie+ panty vibrator to your underwear using its strong magnets, so it rests right on your hot spots, and hand your partner the remote (then pray you don’t bump into a neighbour…or hey, pray that you do. 😉 ).
#4: Unleash a “casual collar”
Playing with a Dominant/submissive power dynamic and indulging in S&M gets a lot of people’s rocks off, but there’s a tendency for many folks to save all the straps, cuffs, buckles and bustiers for “special big nights in” because getting fully dressed up and trussed up can take quite a lot of time and effort. But you don’t have to go the whole hog (or hogtie) to give your foreplay a BDSM flavour. Fetish doesn’t have to be a huge faff. And it doesn’t have to be super serious and sombre, either.
Invest in a collar and leash for whoever’s playing the sub role one evening to wear while you’re both cooking and eating dinner together. Suddenly, small chores they might be doing anyway, like chopping ingredients or serving at the table, become sizzlingly sexually loaded, with just a little tug of the lead here and there, and the odd instruction delivered with a twinkle in the eye.
Even snuggling up in front of your favourite TV series can become a laidback-yet-anticipation-building tease, with the collared “pet” obediently curled up on their master’s lap, or at their feet, and being pulled towards them occasionally for a deep kiss. It’s not full-on Fifty Shades. It’s chilled. But it’ll get you both hot under the collar.
#5: Try this “stocking filler”…
Get yourself a pair of stockings, tights or a bodysuit made of wide gauge fishnet – they’re easy to find in online adult stores. Use an eyeliner to draw on your skin through the grid of the fishnet, and play a game of noughts and crosses on your chest, ass cheeks, thighs, feet…wherever you like. For every game you win, you get one minute of the Womanizer Premium against your clit. For every game you lose…well, I’ll leave you to invent the forfeit.
#6: No glove, no love
Donning a pair of leather gloves is a simple, instant way to switch up sensation and add a different dimension to foreplay. Suddenly, the usual way you stroke your lover’s skin; trail a fingertip down their spine; grip their buttocks; cup their genitals; spank their ass, if that’s something you’re both into and in the mood for…everything feels extra erotic. Blindfold your lover (if they like) before you don the gloves so the touch of the leather is excitingly unexpected. If impact play is a cuppa you both like to sip from, you can remove a glove and use it to slap a butt cheek. Handy to know.
#7: Wash you were hair
Hair play is such a rich avenue for foreplay – yet it’s undeservedly underappreciated. Slowly, caringly brushing a partner’s hair while you chat is a soothing, bonding way to help them unwind after a taxing day. But then, if and when the time is right, you could deftly segue into some light S&M, by weaving it into a plait or tying it into a ponytail which you can tug and hold to direct the movements of their head. The back of a broad hairbrush is fabulous for spanking, too.
Alternatively, wash your lover’s hair in the bath, taking time to massage their scalp and using richly scented shampoo and conditioner to make the experience feel more luxurious. You could role play as hairdresser and private client, or hotel maid and important guest. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.