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Foreplay refers to the sexual and intimate acts that occur in preparation for intercourse. Foreplay increases arousal and desire between partners. It also helps to lower inhibitions and increase emotional intimacy. Kissing, touching, oral sex, massage, and other sexual acts that don't bring either partner to climax may be considered part of foreplay.
Foreplay is especially important for women. Unlike men, who can become aroused and ready for sex very quickly, some studies say that it takes up to 20 minutes of foreplay for a woman to become adequately aroused and lubricated to enjoy sex. Women who receive adequate foreplay are also more likely to orgasm.
That said, foreplay is hardly just for women! No matter who initiates it, it's a great time to throw in new things and experiment with other types of sex play that may not be part of intercourse.