How to pleasure

Want Super-Hot Sex? Follow These 9 Foreplay Do’s and Don’ts

Published: OCTOBER 27, 2020 | Updated: SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Attention and dedication to foreplay can lead to a greater number of orgasms, more intense orgasms, deeper intimacy and an intensified bond between partners.

When we hear the word “sex,” many people think of intercourse. Everything that leads up to it, we’re told, is foreplay.


I find it curious that society treats intercourse as the height of sexual experience. Sure, it’s important for procreation and is an immensely intimate act, but it doesn’t necessarily take the cake when it comes to pleasure. For one thing, intercourse doesn’t often last more than a handful of minutes—it can even become quite painful if it goes on for a long time!

It’s also not everyone’s favorite thing all the time. For example, many people don’t tend to reach orgasm through penetration alone. There are also folks who prefer to hit climax via oral sex or prostate stimulation, and those who would rather focus on more mentally focused pursuits, like BDSM.

For these reasons and more, I believe society’s got sex backwards. Foreplay’s endless buffet is the main course, while intercourse is the icing on the cake. This is all the more reason to focus on techniques, interesting toys and etiquette for ensuring that foreplay is a pleasurable, if not delectably splendid, experience.


Skipping foreplay is like jumping into the final battle of an action movie without any of the build-up. Are we invested in the characters? Do such films feel smooth and emotionally satisfying for the audience? Often, the answer is no.

If super-hot sex is what you’re after, you’ll benefit from making foreplay a priority. Here are 9 dos and don’ts to help you have a fantastic time.

1. Don’t Be Dirty. (Not the Bad Kind, Anyway.)

Hot, sweaty sex right after a hard workout has a certain appeal, but most of the time, you’ll have a better overall experience if you and your partner clean up before getting intimate. Take a shower, brush and floss your teeth, trim your nails, and do whatever else is included in your hygiene routine.


First off, bad breath and the smell of stale sweat can be a turn off for your partner. Secondly, many people find it hard to relax and get aroused if they’re feeling self-conscious. And lastly, bad hygiene can lead to bacterial infections and other issues that will completely ruin a good time. You don’t want trips to the doctor to be necessary after every sexual encounter.

Showering or bathing together can be extremely hot foreplay activities. Lather each other up, rinse each other down, wash each other’s hair or bring some waterproof toys (like the plusOne Vibrating Feather Tickler) into the mix.

plusOne vibrating feather tickler next to packaging


Warm, wet, slippery fun is great for everyone. At the very least, if you don’t have time for all that, wash your hands and your nether regions before diving in.

2. Do Set the Mood

The atmosphere around us has a huge impact on our overall mood and comfort level. As most of us need to feel comfortable to enjoy sex, taking steps to create the right vibe will always work in your favor during foreplay.

What kind of experience are you and your partner trying to have? Would low lighting, a glass of wine, and music or a movie in the background help you relax and ease in? If sensation play is on the menu, what can you do to build anticipation? You might, for example, leave your feather tickler or paddles somewhere strategic to ensure your partner sees them before the fun begins.


Get creative and see what you can do to craft a setting that appeals to the body and mind.

3. Do Take Your Time

While there’s something to be said for quickies, great sex isn’t often rushed. Instead, it unfolds one tantalizing moment at a time. Rather than racing for the finish line, adopt an attitude of curiosity about your partner. Explore every inch of their body and find out what feels good to them and what doesn’t.

plusOne vibrating feather tickler on neck


The longer the build-up, the more intense the orgasm will be if you both happen to end up climaxing. You might even try edging by backing off as your partner approaches the edge and building sensations of pleasure all over again. A few rounds of this can lead to an especially mind-blowing O.

Read: How to Make Foreplay the Main Event

4. Don’t Stress About Orgasm

On the note of orgasm: Don’t worry too much! Coming is amazing, but obsessing over how long it takes and whether or not it happens keeps many people from getting there at all.

Instead, focus on creating a holistic experience of sexual pleasure and tension for the mind, body, and soul. Kiss, lick, massage, caress, pinch, pull, spank, fuck. If you get there, great! If not, there’s always next time. No one is a failure or needs to feel terrible if it doesn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, your partner will almost certainly prefer to orgasm, so give it your all in every way you can. Just don’t let your sexual relationships hinge on a preoccupation with getting off every single time.

If one or both of you are consistently unable to reach orgasm and you’d like to change this, talk about it and consider incorporating toys (like any of those from plusOne)!

Likewise, changing your porn and masturbation habits can have a significant impact on your ability to orgasm with a partner. Experiment and have fun, but don’t fall into a spiral of shame and despair. You have options that can lead to solutions if you’re both willing to make the effort.

5. Do Explore a Variety of Sensations

Arousal and satisfaction can involve a lot more than slippery engorgement. Incorporating different sensations into your foreplay sessions is a great way to explore all that the sexual realm has to offer.

Items you’ve got around the house are great for this. For a soft, sensual touch, caress your partner’s skin with a fluffy feather or silk scarf. Pain can be pleasurable as well. Consider Wartenberg pinwheels, biting, or scratching. You might also try temperature play or foreplay involving vibration or electricity. The sky’s the limit here, so see what appeals to your senses.

There’s a wide world of adult products out there made specifically for sensation play. plusOne’s vibrating feather tickler, for instance, is a smooth, flexible, waterproof toy designed to provide vibration to areas all over the body.

plusOne vibrating feather tickler

Read: This Inexpensive Sex Toy Is My Go-To Foreplay Tool

6. Do Own and Communicate Your Boundaries

The internet has provided us all with knowledge about a wide range of possibilities for fun in the bedroom, but these options are just that: possibilities rather than requirements. For some people, things like lingerie and erotic photography and BDSM feel interesting, arousing, and fun. This isn’t the case for everyone and that’s A-okay.

Don’t feel pressure to perform or agree to anything that doesn’t light your fire. Saying yes to an activity you’re not actually down for can leave you with bad feelings after the fact. No partner who respects and cares for you will want that. Embracing your comfort and happiness as priorities will help you steer clear of experiences you might end up regretting.

Step one is defining for yourself what your boundaries are. If the little gnome that lives in your gut says, “Hmmmm, I don’t think I want to do that,” listen to it.

Step two is communicating your boundaries to your sexual partners, which is as easy as saying, “I don’t feel comfortable doing that,” or “That’s not my thing.” If you’re not sure you can say, “I don’t want to do that now but maybe I will in the future.”

Any partner worthy of you will respect your wishes. Remember, you can always inch forward with this stuff, but can never go back in time to change what’s been done.

7. Do Give Feedback

Communication isn’t just about boundaries, however. It’s also about expressing what is and isn’t working for you. A good sexual partner will want to please you and appreciate hearing how you feel. This doesn’t have to be a drawn-out, mood-killing discussion. You might just make a few comments here and there to guide them along.

“Oh shit, that feels really good.”

“I love it when you touch me there.”

“That’s a bit too hard. Can you ease up a bit?”

BDSMers often use safeword systems to give feedback during play. If you want to be able to say “No!” or “Stop!” without genuinely meaning it, for example, having safewords for when you really want to end or change things up is a very good call.

Good safewords are clear, easy to remember, and don’t make you feel so silly when you say them that you’ll be hesitant to do so. If you’re unsure what to choose, consider the stoplight system:

Green = “This is great. Let’s keep doing it.”

Yellow = “Something needs to change. Let’s pause to check in.”

Red = “I want to stop.”

Simple, easy, and effective!

Read: Quiz: Test Your Knowledge About Foreplay

8. Do Get Creative

Foreplay doesn’t have to be limited to a narrow handful of activities, moods, or experiences. The realm of sexuality encompasses an unlimited means of intimate expression. To make the most of your time with your partner, strive to take a load off, come into the moment together, and really play. This will help you both discover new points of connection and pleasure.

Role play is an excellent means of creative exploration. Many of us enjoy movies, books, and other narrative-focused media. Why not take it a step further and become the star of your own fantasy?

Don the persona of a teacher/student, boss/employee, alien/abductee… whatever you like! If role play isn’t your cup of tea, you might experiment with activities like sensory deprivation, food play, sensual massage, tantra, anal play, electroplay, vibrating and tickling toys or whatever else appeals to you. By branching out and exploring new frontiers, you’ll create memories you and your partner will never forget.

plusOne vibrating feather tickler in packaging

9. Do Be Attentive

Unfortunately, porn addiction is widespread in modern society. A major consequence of this phenomenon is the tendency to objectify and feel disconnected from real-life partners.

While some people are into objectification as a kink, everyone wants to feel seen, respected, and valued. As you enjoy the physical experience of your partner, never lose sight of the fact that they’re a whole person with unique preferences, limits, and ways of thinking.

Pay attention to their energy, words, emotions, and reactions as you move through your sessions. This will lay the foundation for a strong connection, and super-hot sex as a result!

Molly Lazarus

Molly Lazarus is a kink and sexuality writer based in the Bay Area. She dreams of a world where consent-loving hedonists can explore the depths of their depravity without fear of persecution or sexual abuse.

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