From magazines in the checkout line to scholarly articles and talk shows, the conversation about good sex is hard to avoid. Everyone wants better sex, and every suggestion comes back to the same thing — foreplay. But perhaps part of the problem is the way we’re framing that conversation. What would happen if we stopped calling it “foreplay?”
It’s commonly said that the way to make sex better for women is foreplay. Touching, kissing, oral sex — all of these fall under the foreplay umbrella. Calling these foreplay suggests that men can or should do them for women, but that they’re not a part of the “real deal” of penetrative sex. But why should these things be optional?
Sex is supposed to be an activity that is pleasurable for both partners. If what we call “foreplay” is the part of sex that makes women more likely to orgasm, then using language that makes it seem like it’s an extra, skippable step is only harmful to female sexuality. Studies have shown that men, on average, take 2–10 minutes to reach orgasm, while women take an average of twenty minutes. Additionally, women who have had one orgasm in a session are more likely to have another. However, according to Planned Parenthood, 30% of women have had trouble reaching an orgasm, and as many as 80% have difficulty reaching orgasm through vaginal intercourse. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could close that gap?
Perhaps if we stopped treating the non-penetrative aspects of sex like they’re a chore that one can opt out of, sex would be more equitable and enjoyable for both men and women. After all, who doesn’t love making their partner orgasm? Let’s stop calling the parts of sex that women find enjoyable “foreplay” and start calling them what they really are — good, enjoyable SEX.
Lenhardt, K. (n.d.). Interesting Facts for the Curious Mind. https://www.factretriever.com/orgasm-facts
Sargent, C. (2017, January 19). Can we stop calling it “foreplay”? Because it’s sex, straight up. https://hellogiggles.com/love-sex/foreplay-isnt-actually-foreplay-at-all-its-sex-and-should-be-treated-as-such/