It's always important to warm up before physical activity.
If you're an athlete, you understand this notion better than anyone. You don't want to end up getting taken out of the game prematurely because you came in cold and unprepared. You have to stretch out, and ease your way into it.
The same goes for sex.
This generation has become far too accustomed to instant gratification. We live in a digital age, where everything comes at us with speed and efficiency.
We get rapid-fire news reports from Facebook and Twitter. We can watch movies and TV shows in the palm of our hands in a matter of seconds with Netflix and a smartphone. Everything is quick and easy: texting, Snapchat, Instagram... The list goes on and on.
Millennials do everything fast. It's no surprise that we have been labeled the "ADD generation." We hop from one activity to another.
Sex, however, should not be rushed, and it requires your full, undivided attention. Unless it's a quickie, of course, but those should be rare and only in exceptional circumstances.
Such as when you're late for class, work or perhaps even the gym (work up a sweat before you work up a sweat).
Think about sex like a Navy SEAL operation. If you rush in too quickly, it will all go to sh*t. You gotta have a little finesse.
You don't want the mission to blow up in your face. No one wants to walk home in defeat.
Science says you can't rush a good thing
Good sex is like good food. It requires a number of ingredients. Preparation is key.
Skipping foreplay is like making spaghetti and meatballs and forgetting the pasta. Don't you dare forget the pasta my friends.
Foreplay is intrinsically linked with both our bodies and minds. As psychologist Noam Shpancer notes:
Sexual touching stimulates us, quickens the heartbeat, and prepares the genitals for intercourse, mainly through activating the autonomic nervous system. But it also comforts, in part by releasing hormones such as oxytocin that reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. ...Neglecting sexual touching as a preparation for intercourse therefore hinders us on multiple levels. Without it, we may arrive at intercourse distracted, misunderstood, and anxious, neither sufficiently aroused nor relaxed.
So there are actually physiological, scientific reasons, to engage in foreplay.
It gets you in the mood, relaxes the body and lets your equipment know that it's time to get going.
Without foreplay, we find ourselves trying to get involved in an activity that our bodies and minds aren't ready for yet.
Foreplay is important for women AND men
Conventional wisdom tells us that foreplay is only for women, but that's not entirely true.
As psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer notes:
It's particularly important for women to have successful foreplay because it takes a woman a longer time [than a man] to get up to the level of arousal needed to orgasm.
Take notes fellas.
At the same time, studies have shown that foreplay makes sex better and longer for both women and men. When there is greater buildup before sex, both men and women have reported that their orgasms were more pleasurable.
It takes two to tango. Sex is a collective effort. It's a give and take activity. Reciprocation is key.
Good sex isn't a race, it's more like a great vacation. You come prepared, you don't rush into it, you're relaxed, you try a bit of everything, there's music and drinking and by the time it's all done everyone involved has had a phenomenal time.
Foreplay helps your relationship inside and outside of the bedroom
Maybe you're in a relationship, maybe you're not. Maybe you have a friend with benefits. Perhaps you're the type that enjoys meeting a stranger at a bar and taking them home to do the naked tango. No judgment here, but remember, safety first. No glove, no love.
If you are in a relationship, foreplay can help you both under the sheets and out on the streets.
According to sexual health expert Dr. Jennifer Berman:
Foreplay helps to maintain intimacy. Physical intimacy but also emotional intimacy. Over time, when life gets in the way – our kids, our work, our stress, financial whatever it is – being able to maintain a connection, an intimacy with our partners, is really, really important and foreplay helps to do that
Simply put, foreplay helps bring a couple closer together. It makes sex an experience that everyone enjoys.
Relationships, like sex, take time, patience and attention. So tell your ADD to chill out every once in a while, and try to remain cognizant of that.
Also remember that diversity is key. You don't want your sex life to become monotonous. Don't be the person who orders the same thing off the menu every time you go to your favorite restaurant. Try a bit of everything, spice things up a bit.
Nothing about sex, including foreplay, should be mechanical. Just do what feels natural and don't overthink things.
Finally, cuddling is crucial. Studies have shown that cuddling after sex makes a relationship healthier, and helps breed a stronger connection between partners. Embrace the spoon, my friends.
In the immortal words of Otis Redding:
Try a little tenderness.
Keep spreading the love, ladies and gentlemen.
Citations: Why Foreplay Matters (WebMD), Why Foreplay is Important (Mens Health), The Folly of Frequently Foregoing Foreplay (Psychology Today), Want a better sex life Post-coital cuddles are key researchers say especially if you have kids (Daily Mail)