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shutterstock_316307612Strange as it may seem to some people, some studies point to the fact that most women are more aroused by the idea of living intimate moments including foreplay, than by the idea of penetration itself. This is also true for men as foreplay tends to facilitate the erectile process and cooperate with the reduction of performance anxiety. Not only foreplay is important for producing immediate pleasure as it happens, but also serves as a form of physical warming-up for the couple, which may favor the emotional connection of both and prepare the bodies for the moment of penetration. And from the outset it is worth remembering that attention should always be in the present moment (foreplay and pleasure) and not in the future (penetration). By the way, penetration should not be a rule. It needs to be understood as something that may happen, depending on the sexual preferences of the couple.

Experts in the field say that foreplay is essential for men and women. When the body of a woman is aroused, some of its muscles slightly raise the uterus and this movement creates more room in the vagina. With more room in the vagina for penetration, women can enjoy having sex with more pleasure and comfort. And the other way round is also true. If there is no foreplay, the sexual encounter can turn into a moment of displeasure and discomfort for them. Men also benefit from these physical and emotional exchanges, as there are nerve bundles that connect the base of the penis to the spine and are responsible for the reflex erection, that is, one that happens when the penis is touched. Other mechanisms also come into play in this process.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to foreplay and also there is no ideal time to devote to them. Each couple will do it their own way and at their own pace. Researchers suggest that other parts of the body may be touched first, before the touch in the genital area, which should be played with last, more or less like what you do when you eat a cake and leave the icing until last. With respect to time, something around 10 to 30 minutes is considered a good time to devote to these moments of intimacy. By focusing exclusively on their genital areas, several couples often fail to get pleasure in other parts of their bodies, which may have great erotic potential when touched and valued.

Each couple will gradually discover their sexual preferences for those moments that may or may not precede penetration. Some use different games, such as dice games in which suggestions are offered as to what to do with their partner. There are couples that like to talk dirty using words that express their feelings and desires concerning what their partner could do. Some people dance or bathe together. Others get massage in various parts of the body with specific oils and some lotions. In these situations, it pays to exercise creativity, always taking into account your own as well as your partner´s sexual preferences. But how to know a partner´s sexual preferences? Through good communication, that has to be honest and respectful. One tip is to take the time out of bed to have these conversations and very specifically find out where and how your partner likes to be touched.

This text is exclusively pedagogical and is not intended to replace a consultation by a specialist in the field. In case you need to ask questions or receive further guidance on how to proceed in your sexual encounters, seek the help of a psychosexual therapist.

Written by Psychologist Alexandro Paiva.

Clinical Psychologist and Psychosexual Therapist (CRP 06/118772) with experience in treating adult Brazilian and Foreign clients (individual e couples), in English and Portuguese. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) Specialist (Institute of Psychiatry, Clinics Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo), Specializing in Psychotherapy with a Focus on Human Sexuality (Paulista Institute of Sexuality). Member of the Brazilian Association of Psychology and Behavioral Medicine (ABPMC). English Language Specialist: Translation Methodology (FAFIRE), having worked as an English Language Teacher for about 10 years (Brazil and China) and lived with people from different cultures, keeps the PsycBlog. It is a psychoeducational blog with texts, videos, translations and subtitling on psychotherapy and sexuality. Main interests include Psychotherapy, Sexuality, Translation Studies, Foreign Languages, Traveling and Photography.

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