The Problem With The Word Foreplay, A Sexologist Opinion

What is foreplay?

A healthy sex life is good for you both emotionally and physically. Sex can help you create a connection with another person, and sexual pleasure has lots of health benefits — whether you’re with a partner or not. When you have an orgasm, your body gives you a natural high. You release endorphins, which are hormones that block pain and make you feel good.

Sex isn’t one size fits all. What feels good to you might not be right for someone else. Everyone’s different when it comes to sexual behaviors and desires. People get turned on by different things, so communicating about what you like or don’t like lets your partner know what’s OK and what’s off limits.

Foreplay is one such preliminary act preceding the sexual intercourse. Foreplay isn’t given much importance although it is the crucial part of the entire sexual experience. It enhances the entire experience with creating a deeper connection with your partner.

How foreplay works- 

  • Foreplay enhances the arousal, thus causing the erection of the clitoris. The clitoris functions similar to that of the penis. The rushing of blood to the clitoris leads to its erection which is necessary to achieve an orgasm. Foreplay also elicits vaginal wetness which makes the proceeding penetrative sex easier and painless for both, the man and the woman. 
  • According to research, men and women both reported of achieving better orgasms when there was a greater build-up of sexual arousal.
  • The lack of foreplay apparently gives a sense of being neglected and denies the emotional assurance needed by most.
  • Foreplay is essentially important in long term relationships as it helps in enhancing the feelings of togetherness. Foreplay is also important in letting the partner feel they have your attention and care. It is essential in instilling psychological security and emotional wellness.
  • Sexual response involves a complex interplay of physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and relationships. Disruption of any component can affect sexual desire, arousal or satisfaction, and treatment often involves more than one approach.

Impacts of lack of foreplay- 

Low sexual desire- This most common of female sexual dysfunctions involves a lack of sexual interest and willingness to be sexual.

Sexual arousal disorder- Your desire for sex might be intact, but you have difficulty with arousal or are unable to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity.

Orgasmic disorder- You have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation.

Sexual pain disorder- You have pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.

Lack of foreplay increases pain and decreases pleasure– Not spending enough time in foreplay increases the chance that a woman will feel pain during sex and decreases her pleasure. Spending longer (at least 20 minutes) in foreplay is one of the first steps sex therapists recommend for women struggling to reach orgasm.

Unsatisfactory orgasm- Lack of foreplay means an incomplete arousal of the partner which leads to lack of satisfaction. This leads many problems in a relationship in long term.

Self-doubt and low self-esteem- Lack of foreplay makes the partner left unsatisfied which causes an emotional and physical consciousness leading to self-doubts and lack of confidence. This makes the person get emotionally drained in every aspects of life.

How to improve bedroom romance with good foreplay

  1. Ask what you want- All of this is really just to say that what you want is completely reasonable. Women can end up doubting if asking for what they want is okay, because it isn’t doesn’t align with what their partner desires. I want all women to know that it’s okay to ask for what you want.

Do this simple reflection exercise by asking yourself these questions:

  • How long do I spend on foreplay with lovers?
  • How long do I spend on foreplay through self-pleasure?
  • Do I feel pleasure through penetration? Rate this from 1-10.
  • Where does my mind go during sex? Am I present in the interaction? Or focused elsewhere and easily distracted?
  • Have you watched the process of engorgement occurring in your own body? Are you willing to give it a try?

2) Treatment

Psychotherapy or sex therapy- Talking with a sex therapist, psychotherapist, or counsellor specializing sexual health can help someone identify factors contributing to the problems

A sex therapist or psychotherapist can help someone:

  • Learn skills for coping with stress and anxiety
  • Gradually change their self-image, and develop compassion towards themselves
  • Challenge any beliefs that make them feel ashamed about sex
  • Learn how to communicate more openly with their partner
  • Resolve past traumas in a safe environment

If relationship difficulties contribute to couple issues, a therapist may also recommend relationship counselling sessions, where the person’s partner also attends.

3) Medication

Medication options may include Vyleesi (bremelanotide), which activates receptors in the brain that influence sexual behaviour and desire.

Hormone therapy may help treat low sexual desire in people going through menopause or who have hormone imbalances.

These medications will not be appropriate for everyone. It is important to discuss the safety, interactions, and side effects of these treatments with a doctor before trying them.

4) Treating other conditions

If a person’s sexual desire or physical response to sexual stimulation has changed since they developed a mental or physical health condition, or since they began taking a certain medication, this may be a factor.


It is necessary to achieve mutual pleasure from the sexual act and hence, attention must be given to the need of both the partners for a fulfilling experience. Foreplay is important in achieving orgasm, especially for women who do not necessarily achieve an orgasm through penetrative sex. With everything said and done, there is nothing wrong with an occasional skipping of the foreplay if that is what both the partners want. It is important to see what each partner is getting out of the entire sexual experience and work according to it.

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