“We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.” Orison Marden

One of the saddest of all statistics on our collective sexual health is about how little time we spend on it, with the average sexual act lasting only 7-12 minutes.

Sexual foreplay is the moments when the arousal mechanism in the limbic brain gets to align with the blood flow to the genitals. Let me just say one thing about this phase of intimacy- more is better. This is what I say to customers who write in or call and tell me that the lube didn’t work. When I ask them how they used it, and the response is I put it on and then had sex, I have to explain the limitations of even the best lube in the world. A body that is unprepared to be penetrated will not automatically turn on with a squirt of lubricant.  

And it reminds me of an errant text that I got from one of my son’s friends in their junior year of high school- “does fingering even work??”.

I replied, “it only works if you are thinking about what you are doing and not your own pleasure.” This turned into a longer lesson about the mysterious dance of foreplay techniques that at least this bright 16 year old was astute enough to ask about. Of course it was layered with other more frightening concerns of his premature ejaculation and her pain with intercourse. But rightly so, it started with “how do we start?” And the truth is, that the more attention we pay to the beginning of our intimate acts, the easier and more successful it gets at the end.   

In this way, sex is kind of oxymoron. We all worry about successfully climaxing, of being able to get to the golden ring of orgasm, but by placing our attention there, we miss the juicy and most compelling parts of coupling. Becoming more comfortable and curious in the early give and take of sexual foreplay techniques is how we cultivate a veritable harvest of passion and even, sometimes orgasmic pleasure that will surprise us.

Follow this short path to extending the love you are making and harvesting volumes more pleasure than you can find in a quick in and out.

Explore sexuality through the senses

One way to consider extending your foreplay time is to allow your thinking to get filtered through your nose, which will heighten not only your sense of smell but also your sense of touch and taste.  Awakening our arousal mechanism does not happen in the genitalia, but in the limbic brain, which is co-located with olfactory where our sense of smell is processed.

The publishers of my new book, Sex that Works requested and addendum on Love Oil because anyone who has used it will tell you how it changes the entire act of foreplay. Not only do scented oils activated the brain, but the silky quality of Love Oil being rubbed on genitalia actually alters the sensation both by the person touching and being touched. The skin transforms under the touch of the human hand and scent is our primary sense when it comes to awakening libido- do the math and add at least 10 minutes to your lovemaking.  

Learn the magic contained in the fingers

Our hands are a work of art. Our fingers have some of the densest areas of nerve endings in the body and provide the richest source of tactile feedback available to us.  The sensations we can feel through our hands are not just physical either, they can both interpret and transmit energetically.  Our hands are the perfect instruments for providing pleasure. Their combined capacity for strength and flexibility allows us to make feeling and touching each other both the fertilizer and the bounty of our intimate time.  

Touch takes on heightened meaning when we give it our full attention. Arguably, we can say at least as much and maybe more, with our hands as we do with our words.  Little is misunderstood as the body receives true communication from the hands.  Yet, inattentive touch, the kind that makes a teenage boy wonder whether fingering does anything can also make a girl recoil. To really touch, we have to bring our full presence to the tips of our fingers. Genital tissue is like none other in the body and there is maybe nothing more erotic than spreading oil into the folds and crevices that are as unique as our fingerprints but alight with nerve endings.   

Give up the end zone

Being deliberate about growing your comfort zone in foreplay techniques will translate into not only a more curious and passionate sexuality but will also be mirrored in an opening in the emotional relationship. Putting the focus on expanding foreplay also reduces the performance pressure and anxiety often associated with the act of sexual intercourse which is too often played as a race to an orgasmic finish you can’t quite locate. The truth is that orgasmic potential builds over time and when you stop chasing after it can envelop you, even in foreplay.

Taking our time erotic discovery is everything. Mindful touching is practically prayer and it is, as I reminded my young friend the crevasse that exists between hooking up and making love to someone. Bringing our full attention to the nerve endings meeting between our fingertips and genital tissue is a fireworks display.  If you are not in a mindless hurry to get somewhere else, lingering in this energetically charged exchange for as long as possible can only make the end better.

Set a goal, even if it’s just an additional five minutes each time you are intimate is an easy way to train your focus on the moment and away from the ending.   

Read more about how to do foreplay and other sexual health tips, here at Good Clean Love.