It’s all about the prologue.
For all our cultural emphasis on “finishers,” it makes sense that sex is often conceptualized as a goal-driven activity. Like so many to-do list items, we tend to work exclusively towards checking off the “orgasm” box at the end of intercourse (did it even happen if you didn’t come?).
That said, regardless of the nature of your coital finale, sex is not a mere to-do list accoutrement. In fact, for many, foreplay is equally as — if not more — important than climaxing. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s important to take into consideration: Whether or not you require foreplay to enjoy boning, it might make all the difference for your partner.
For one, a 2019 study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that on average, women finish 8 minutes later than men during intercourse. Which is to say, female bodies typically require more time to reach the level of arousal required for orgasm — the likes of which can often be achieved through, you guessed it, foreplay. Moreover, for women to enjoy sex, or near orgasm, the vagina must be lubricated — which, like an erection, requires blood flow towards the clitoris. If you skip the spicy prologue, sex-sans-lubrication can often feel painful or unpleasant.
For men, too, achieving erection isn’t always easy — and an increased focus on foreplay can certainly help alleviate some of the pressure around getting it up. Essentially, it’s a helpful balm for performance anxiety. And in that vein, foreplay can still prove enjoyable for any set of partners, even if erection can’t be achieved.
Better yet, pleasure derived during foreplay can actually feel more intense than pleasure during penetration for men and women, alike. In the process of foreplay, before you’ve properly done the dirty deed, you’ll find yourself with proper time to focus on a wider breadth of erogenous zones: the nipples, the anus, the back of the neck. You can multi-task: More pleasure centers, more sensation overall.
On a more emotional level, foreplay has other critical implications, as well. For one, it increases intimacy between partners, allowing them to take time exploring one another’s bodies, taking turns focusing solely on giving pleasure.
Foreplay provides added time for kidding, talking, even looking at one another, all of which can certainly work wonders when it comes to reinforcing a connection between two people.