When you and your man get together, he’s pretty much guaranteed to hit a home run, right? And likely, the sequence of steps involves little more than a few kisses before leaping into intercourse. But by skipping “bases,” you’re not living up to your pleasure potential.
Extending foreplay can rev up your arousal and your likelihood of having an orgasm. “You may discover things about each other’s bodies you didn’t know or learn new ways to please each other,” says therapist and relationship expert Amber Madison, author of Hooking Up: A Girl’s All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality. “Plus, it’s bound to make the experience more intimate, and it can remind you of the early days of your relationship when the sparks were flying.” Follow these tips for holding at each base.
Focus on making out. With tongue. A study published in the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters found that couples are happier and less irritated after kissing, and the warm, face-to-face contact boosts peripheral circulating proteins in the body that improve overall health and well-being. “French kissing offers a deep connection in a small moment of time,” says Kristina Wright, author of Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After.
Start by planting a closed-lip kiss on him as you straighten his tie or collar. Gently tug on his bottom lip with your teeth before introducing your tongue. (As a bonus, first smear on a mentholated lip balm or gloss for plumper, more sensitive lips.) Or try what Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., a sexologist in Los Angeles and author of The New Sex Bible, calls “lip lining”: Trace your tongue around the curves of his lips, paying extra attention to the thin skin at the corners. “It will give your honey a peek into your sexual skills, too,” she says.
Holding hands on your way to dinner is cute and all, but copping a feel in the car before you walk in? That’s hot. “Touch is important throughout a relationship, not just in the beginning when you’re learning each other’s bodies,” says Wright. Research in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy suggests that couples who caress their partner’s body experience an increase in erotic feelings and overall marital satisfaction.
So if you and your man are feeling a little frisky in a secluded corner of a bar, a dark movie theater, or the back of a cab, don’t swat each other’s hands away from exploring underneath your shirt or over his pants. Better still, channel your adolescence by getting off with your clothes still on: Rub up against each other at a concert or on a dance floor. “Just be slower and more deliberate with your motions, so you can avoid that awkward, sometimes painful humping you did as a teenager,” says Madison.
Once you’re in the privacy of your own bedroom, you may have gotten into the habit of rushing through this base—which includes any manual or oral action below the belt, say our experts. It’s a shame, considering that both men and women in long-term relationships wish foreplay would last longer: specifically, for about 18 minutes total, according to the Journal of Sex Research.
O’Reilly suggests performing this move on your guy: After asking him to close his eyes, wet your hands with lube and use them to fondle his testicles while you perform oral sex. The mixture of your slick hands and mouth will give him the sensation of two mouths on him instead of one—and will surely send him over the edge. In return, have him kneel on the floor between your legs (as they dangle off the bed) and roll the sides of his tongue together so it forms a tube. “He should slide his tongue in and out of you while pressing his lips into you in order to create wet suction—starting slowly and then picking up the pace,” says O’Reilly. Try a range of third-base acts like this and you’ll both be more likely to reach a happy ending.
Most of the time, you’re going to go all the way. But sex that’s had this kind of a pregame is not the same as a let’s-get-naked-and-do-it quickie—especially if you, or your guy, have already climaxed. If that’s the case, it helps to call in some reinforcements. “Many couples use lubricants to maintain wetness and vibrators to add sensation to sex if they’re going for orgasm number two,” says Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., a sexologist, author, and sexual-health educator.
If two O’s are unheard of for you, it’s especially important to relax—which means forgetting about the finish. “If you focus on the goal, you may psych yourself out altogether,” says Levkoff. Control your breathing so that it’s slow and deep, and communicate to each other about what spots are too sensitive, or which moves feel just right. Overall, think of revisiting the bases “as not just physically intimate,” says Levkoff. “It’s emotionally intimate too.”