So is oral sex. Touching, hugging, playing games – almost everything that's sexual, except for penetrative sex, can be described as foreplay.
In fact, the word 'foreplay' is misleading, because it suggests that sexual intercourse is the main dish on the menu and the build-up is just the starter.
Not true! Foreplay is sex. You can enjoy it on its own, and it doesn't have to lead to intercourse. Foreplay is equally important as intercourse, and sometimes even more so. Women don't usually enjoy sexual intercourse without some foreplay first. It also makes it much more enjoyable for men.
Almost anything you do with your partner that feels sexy is a kind of foreplay, but here are some of the most common ones.
Know each other
The nice thing about making love is you can find out about each other. Everyone has their own personal preferences and everyone experiences lovemaking differently. Making love can be gentle and tender or wild and passionate.
C for Consent
You only have sex if you want to. That means if you’re ready for it. But is the other person also ready for it? And when does that time arrive? It’s different for everyone.
Sometimes you can both sense it in each other and you both want the same thing, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. This can lead to unpleasant misunderstandings. So be clear with each other about what you want. You can do this with words, but also without them.
Flirting can be very sexy, and it doesn't have to lead to anything. Being in a relationship doesn't mean you can't still flirt with your partner, and take it further by talking while you're kissing and touching each other. Tell them what you like, what you want them to do, what you'd like to do to them. Use your imagination! Language can build intimacy as much as touch.
Don't be in a hurry to get naked. Undressing in front of your partner can be a big turn-on for both of you – the slower the better. Or enjoy taking your partner's clothes off and showing them how much you love their body.
Touching and caressing
You can enjoy the feeling of your partner's body, whether or not you've got your clothes on. Take it slowly and make it playful.
Finding the sensitive spots
Explore your partner's body, and not just the obvious places. Everyone's different, so you can enjoy finding out what works for your partner as you touch and kiss your way around their body. Some people have very sensitive ears; others love it when you kiss their neck or their toes.
Kissing all over
Kissing on the mouth isn't the only kind of kissing. Try kissing your partner all over their body, and even nibbling them gently.
There are all sorts of games you can play to turn up the heat in the bedroom. These games can start much earlier, as you tease your partner with the anticipation of what's coming later. Or try exchanging some sexy texts during the day. You could try blindfolding your partner and taking control – or the other way around. Or think of a card game you could play, and make a rule that the loser has to take off an item of clothing.
Making love is not the same as cuddling. When you cuddle someone, it doesn't have to be about sex. Everyone needs a cuddle sometimes to feel happy.
Cuddling is about warmth and affection. Making love is about sexual arousal and pleasure. A relationship should have space for both sex and cuddles.