How to build tension

Aka foreplay done right

Written by Jennifer Hanson
At Coral, we don’t love the word foreplay. It implies that there is a natural order to sex that starts with kissing and ends in penetration. Not only is this not always inclusive of same-sex partnerships, it leaves a lot of pleasure on the table. When you have an orgasm-focused view of sex, or think that sex must follow a script, you miss out on all the fantastic, pleasurable experiences on the way.

But whatever you call it, foreplay is much more than just the immediate physical lead-up to sex: it’s important for establishing respect and effective sexual communication between you and your partner. No matter what your relationship dynamics may be, physical, emotional and mental satisfaction are all equally important facets of sexual experience. Follow these foreplay tips and you’ll be on your way to wholly gratifying sex.

Communication: the foreplay advantage

Dedicate a few minutes of your sexual daydreams to focus on what you get out of foreplay. What areas are hot spots for you or your partner? How do you work your partner up? How do they get you going? Considering both partner’s pleasure goes a long way to guaranteeing everyone leaves thoroughly satisfied.
Pay more attention the next time you’re getting hot and heavy. Take mental notes about the reactions you’re eliciting. A gasp, a curse or heavy breathing can indicate you’re doing something very right. Make it a priority to ask about any reactions you couldn’t read afterwards. It’s incredibly important to work your communication muscles when it comes to talking to your partner about pleasure. Because effective communication with your partner has been linked to higher levels of sexual satisfaction, your bond will deepen.
Even if you’ve been together awhile, it’s worth it to try something new. Evidence has shown that sexual novelty increases arousal, desire, sexual function and even orgasm. Introducing a sex toy, lingerie, new location or another creative venture is an excellent idea, just make sure you suggest it before surprising them. Both of you should be on the same page when it comes to introducing new sexual ideas. This precedent of open communication will allow both of you to speak up if you find that something doesn’t turn you on. Intimate acts help to deepen the love and sharing, so don’t hesitate to say how you feel.

The good stuff

Now for the basics. Love and connection help set the scene for fruitful foreplay, but studies have shown that sexual desire is a stronger predictor of engagement in and enjoyment of your sexual experience. In simpler words: knowing your way around your partner’s body is an absolute must.

Oral interaction is one of the most basic and reliable forms of sexual stimulation, so when it comes to foreplay, making out is a great place to start. But don’t just treat sensual kissing like a stepping-stone on the path to sex. Try slowing it down and exploring your partner with your hands as you kiss. Gradually add tongue kissing and sensual groping as you go, but remember to keep it slow. Build up the tension by waiting a little longer than normal to tear each other’s clothes off.
Slow and sensual foreplay is the key to fiery sex. Foreplay really shouldn’t be rushed, since evidence suggests there are a lot of misconceptions about the desired length of foreplay, and slightly longer tends to be better. Once clothes have come off and more skin is accessible, play around with kissing your partner’s neck and shoulders. The neck especially is quite sensitive, and light tugging on the scalp adds even more pleasure. Try sneaking in a few tiny love bites or tongue swirls as you go to add some variety.

If your partner has a vulva

While it might be tempting to immediately go for the jackpot, remember: this isn’t a race. For some people, breast stimulation can be incredibly pleasurable and should not be ignored along the way. If you know that breast stimulation drives your partner wild, slowly work your way down their chest with your mouth and leave kisses as you go. The nipples are a definite hot spot, and it’s essential to make sure you give both of them equal attention. Sucking and sloppy kisses should do the trick, but remember to be sparing with the teeth. Some added groping can also intensify the experience.
Once you’re sure you’ve been thorough, tease your way down their torso. If they still have their underwear on, this is an excellent time to slowly pull those down their hips. The added touching will give them goosebumps and let them know where you’re heading. With their clothing removed, gently stroke their thighs and start with some lazy kisses close by.
Work your way to their clitoris and plant a kiss there before delving in. The clitoris is home to 15,000 nerve endings, and clitoral stimulation is the most important type of stimulation for vulva-owners. Take it slow and get creative. Spell the alphabet, their name or your favorite planets with your tongue. They’ll let you know when they’re ready for more.
Fingers or toys can also be introduced in this final phase of foreplay to enhance the experience. Dual stimulation is usually pleasurable, but make sure to take it slow and pay attention to what your partner does. Start by inserting one finger, and wait for your partner’s cue to know when (or if) to add more. Try and curve the tips of your fingers just slightly to stimulate the inner walls.

If your partner has a penis

Penis-owners have a somewhat different approach than vulva-owners. While nipples can be a hot spot on some, it isn’t quite as common. That said, more overall groping and touching actively enhances the experience in a similar way.
Work your way down their torso, planting kisses as you go. Despite what your partner may say, there’s really no rush. Once you get close, cup a hand over their underwear as a tease. Run your hand just under the waistband before beginning to remove them.
Once their pants are off, stroke your hands along their thighs and lay kisses in between their hips. You can start by using your hands or your mouth, whichever you prefer. Be sure to give their testicles some attention as well, as they are just as sensitive to stimulation.
A firm grip feels best, and while stroking, it’s even better if you mirror this motion with your mouth at the tip. Shifting your hand slightly or getting creative with your tongue can do wonders to make them feel more heated. If their hands go in your hair or you’re getting some other form of encouragement, consider it a successful job and keep going.
Looking to add a little novelty? Vibrating rings or masturbators can also be introduced during foreplay or sex. Mutual masturbation is always an option as well so you can see exactly how they like to pleasure themselves without any outside input.


Take some time to be close to your partner after sex. The continued experience of communicating and touching in a non-sexual way can have a profound impact on your relationship. This physical closeness also opens the door for trying new things and helps you stay comfortable communicating about sex.
When it comes to foreplay, practice most definitely makes perfect. If both you and your partner make brushing up on your foreplay skills a habit, the benefits to your relationships are boundless.

Haven’t installed it yet?