Foreplay and sex do not begin and end in bed. There is so much more that can be done outside the bed in terms of relational foreplay, and that sets the stage for a passionate encounter in bed. Those couples that understand and engage in such foreplay, are able to enjoy mutually fulfilling physical intimacy on a sustained basis. A sexual relationship between partners can be fulfilling only if it is a sensual relationship. For such a sensual relationship the heart has to feel warmed, and it is only a warmed heart that ignites passion which culminates in a sharing of intimacy.
Even a great relationship could need a booster in the sexual department. Sometimes, even when you’re great as companions, one or both may be falling short in co-creating sexual fulfilment as a result of not being appropriately educated in the art of pleasuring. It’s also possible that one or both of you may need some help in figuring out the acrobatics of sex.
One also needs to find out and address any physical issues in either one e.g. vaginismus, frigidity or a tight hymen in women, or premature ejaculation or psychological impotence in men. Hormonal issues, obesity, or other medical reasons can also result in low libido or erectile dysfunction. If so, then appropriate medical intervention is the key.
However, if there are no physical impediments and if physical pleasuring is no longer an issue, then education in ‘relational foreplay’ is required.
1. Retail therapy always works. Help your partner select an outfit that makes him/her look attractive. This subliminally evokes the physical attraction for each other. Feeling attracted and feeling attractive to the other is a prerequisite for passionate intimacy.
2. Karaoke night with both singing romantic numbers for and with each other can create the warm and mushy feelings of emotional foreplay as a prelude to much more to come.
3. Cooking a meal together can cook up a storm of passion. Licking each other’s fingers to taste the sauce, whipping the cream and having it with strawberries, is sure to whip up much more between the two.
4. Seeing family albums or home videos is a happiness assignment. It creates a joyful space of togetherness by reminding both people of all the building blocks of the relationship. This helps in creating emotional intimacy which is the foundation of physical intimacy.
5. Planning a romantic holiday together generates excitement as you look into brochures or browse the net to know more about the destination. As you look forward to a fun vacation excitedly, you re-affirm the fact that you love being with each other, and this ’emotional cuddling up’ can translate into a ‘physical cuddling up’ with an instant mini-vacation there and then.
6. Comedy night means laughing yourselves silly by watching rib-tickling DVDs, or reading out ridiculous jokes to each other. This can be extremely refreshing for both, and the light-heartedness creates the right environment to ‘play’ and have ‘fun’ with each other.
7. Working out together leads to a great workout in bed. Going for a swim, a jog, or cycling together releases ‘endorphins’ in both. These ‘feel good’ hormones create the right physical space for an energetic session.
8. Put your dancing shoes on and slow dance to your favorite song. As the lyricist of the song plays Cupid and the bodies move gently in rhythm, the sensuality thus created cannot remain limited to the dance floor.
9. Playing cards or a board game with each other can have a naughty twist where the winner’s wish is the loser’s command. Need I say more?
10. Lounging together on a comfortable sofa with an endless supply of your favorite chilled drink, accompanied by endless chatting about cherished memories, gratitude for the present togetherness, and appreciating what both bring to each other. When both feel genuinely valued by each other, only then can the connect be deep and meaningful. It is only such a connect that can translate into mutually fulfilling physical intimacy.
Dr. Minnu Bhonsle Ph.D. is a Senior Consulting Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor at the Heart to Heart Counselling Centre, Mumbai, and has been working with couples for the last three decades.