Better sex requires more foreplay. Here's how to maximize your warm-up for a bigger, better climax

By Sara Angle
Updated: February 11, 2015
Corbis Images

Whether you don't like to waste time, think he hates foreplay, or simply aren't sure what to do, skipping the lead-up to sex could be decreasing your chances of total bliss. No one is denying that quickies are great, but dragging out the process can heighten the anticipation, leading to a longer, better O. "Some people think intercourse is the main event, and they don't want an opening act, but a great appetizer is sometimes better than a main course," says sex educator Sari Locker, Ph.D. In fact, a study in the Journal of Sex Research actually found that both men and women crave about 18 minutes of foreplay before sex. (Here are 8 Ways to Fake Looking Like a Pro in Bed.)

Here's why: Orgasms are about the mind just as much as the body, research shows. And foreplay creates the excitement and arousal necessary. It's also an essential time for lubrication, explains Locker. "You can feel amazing thrills from kissing, touching, and oral sex, which may be just as exciting as intercourse," she says.

To have more fun with foreplay, first think about what turns you on, and then what usually works with your partner. Make sure you communicate and experiment together to figure out what types of kissing and touching work best, then use your experiments to fuel the fire in the future.

While Locker notes methods of foreplay depend on the partners in a relationship, she suggests a shoulder massage, kissing, and touching before sex. And if you like receiving oral sex, you're in luck-it may just be the perfect pre-sex activity, because it provides you with all the lubrication you need prior to the main act, Locker says.

Another way to spice things up? "Experiment with all five senses in order to bring variety into your routine," advises Locker. "Change the lighting, wear perfume, play with food during sex, and use hard touches and feather touches for variety." It's not quite Fifty Shades, but it could be all you need to get off. (Try adding a toy! Here are 5 Luxe Vibrators Worth the Price Tag.)

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