Want to become a master of foreplay? Feel like you need to brush up on – or level up – your foreplay skills? Well, while you’ll find a host of websites promising you Ten Foreplay Tips To Drive Her Wild In Bed or Six Foreplay Secrets Only Sexperts Know, we’re just here to give you the only foreplay secret that matters.
Just the one.
Most of what you think is ‘foreplay’ is actually sex.
Foreplay vs sex
It might seem weird to you to think of foreplay and sex as the same thing, but we guarantee by the time you reach the end of this blog post you’ll be on the same page as us. Let’s begin with the myth of ‘real sex’ versus ‘foreplay.’
When you were at school, during sex education classes you were probably taught that sex is all about putting a penis into a vagina. While your teachers may have mentioned some of the things that come before that – everything from adolescence to arousal to fumbling-with-a-condom-packet – chances are that these things all built up to a climax, so to speak, of penis in vagina sex. They then tell you that’s how you get STIs, or pregnant, and you make notes then head off home.
The problem is that this is an incredibly limited view of sex. Firstly it assumes that everyone who has sex is straight, which is obviously untrue. It also assumes that everyone has the same kind of genitals – ones which tesselate in one particular way and which also respond in exactly the same way to stimulation. It assumes that everyone with a penis is capable of getting an erection at any time, and anyone with a vagina will enjoy – and be able to orgasm from – penetration. When you start to think about gay people, trans people, intersex people, people with erectile dysfunction or other issues like vaginismus, those who simply don’t like penetrative sex… the list starts to grow so long that you wonder why we ever thought the ‘penis goes in vagina’ definition of sex was adequate in the first place.
What exactly counts as ‘sex’?
So. Let’s scratch the definition of sex as ‘penetration by a penis in a vagina’ (it’s sounding less sexy every time we type it, right?) and instead consider: what do people find sexy? What do they find pleasurable? What turns them on? What helps them get off?
As soon as we consider it from this angle, a whole new world of possibility opens up: sex is pleasurable sensation of a particular kind that you do with your genitals. Just your genitals? Well, not really, because there are plenty of pleasurable sensations you can have that include other parts of your body – just ask a BDSM fan, or our guest blogger Leandra Vane whose disability means that she has explored interesting techniques for ‘thinking herself off’ and enjoying sensation in other parts of her body.
For others with disabilities that inhibit their movement, penetrative sex may not even be possible let alone desirable – their sexual pleasure may come from mutual masturbation, oral sex, kissing, fantasies, and almost anything else you care to think of. If someone has vaginismus – a condition that makes penetration actively painful – then the standard ‘penis goes in vagina’ definition of sex wouldn’t just fail on the pleasure test, it would be actively painful. More akin to a visit to the dentist than a sensual evening in.
What we mean when we talk about foreplay
When we talk about ‘foreplay’ we usually mean ‘things that happen during the build-up to sex’ – anything from kissing, dirty talk and watching porn to more physical activities like mutual masturbation, oral sex, or pouring custard over your lover before you dive in for a wrestling session. But the word ‘foreplay’ implies that these things are a prologue – an hors d’oeuvre before the main course. The more we discuss these activities in that way, the more we reinforce the idea that there’s a ‘real’ or ‘proper’ way to have sex at the end of the warm-up. Everything else is less important.
That might not be a problem for you if you’re a penis-in-vagina, penetrative-sex fan. However, maintaining the ‘foreplay’ versus ‘real sex’ distinction means that plenty of people get sidelined along the way: some disabled people, queer and trans people, people with vaginismus, and everyone else we mentioned above.
What’s more, those of us who do like penetrative sex are missing out too. When we think of other activities as ‘foreplay’, we’re encouraged to think in terms of a natural progression: first base, second base, third base, etc. It becomes harder to ask for exactly what we want at any given time – whether that’s a nice hand-job, a play with our latest awesome couples sex toy, oral sex, or whatever – because ‘foreplay’ takes it as read that penetrative sex is the final goal. The ultimate thing. The Best.
And it might be, sometimes. It might be for you. But… wouldn’t you like to have the choice?
Why we use ‘foreplay’
Should we just ditch the word ‘foreplay’ altogether then? After all, when we understand the sheer scope of sexual activity, the term itself doesn’t really mean anything.
Well, we’re going to say a tentative ‘no.’ While we’d like to imagine a future where foreplay and sex aren’t placed on two sides of some arbitrary line, for now there are still plenty of people who think of foreplay as separate to sex. Many of them are exactly the kind of people we really want to visit our site. We’d love for them to pick up a PULSE III DUO, use it in a variety of non-penetrative sex positions, and realise that you don’t always need penetration, or even an erection, if you want to have amazing sex!
In an ideal world the distinction between ‘foreplay’ and ‘sex’ would disappear – we’d have a more pleasure-focused definition of sex, and we wouldn’t dismiss so much fun sexual activity by implying that it’s only valuable as a build up to penetration. But in the meantime foreplay is a useful word to help draw people in – as we hope we’ve drawn you. Sneaky? Perhaps. But we drew you in with a promise of a foreplay secret, and got the chance to talk to you about some (hopefully) useful stuff. And now you can share this post, encourage more people to learn ‘one foreplay secret’ and get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you’ve opened their mind to an interesting sexual idea.
The only foreplay secret you need to know
There are any number of fantastic tricks you can use to turn your partner on and give them pleasure – oral, manual, dirty-talk, kissing, frotting, sharing porn, sending saucy texts… the list is almost infinite. But the only real foreplay secret you need to know is this:
Most of what we’re told is ‘foreplay’… is actually sex.