If you go for a run or work-out at the gym, you don’t start exercising at full pelt without warming up. Well, it is the same for sex - only the sexual warm-up is called foreplay. Without a warm-up, you can seriously underperform whether you’re in the gym or the bedroom. Here, Lovehoney sex and relationship expert Annabelle Knight explains why foreplay is so important.

Annabelle Knight

Annabelle Knight

It’s the best way to an epic climax - think of your very favourite movie moments. What if all the build-up and anticipation were removed and you were just told the ending? It wouldn’t be that epic anymore. The same goes with sex; you can’t expect an amazing climax without working on the foreplay.

It’s a great way to know each other’s likes and dislikes - foreplay is a voyage of discovery. You can explore each other’s erogenous zones all over the body with your lips, fingers, a toy, or any other part of the body, which makes it easier to discover what really rocks your partner (and what just doesn’t work for them).

It increases intimacy - foreplay heightens the experience in bed and is a great way to connect with your partner. Respond to their signals - don’t be afraid to tell your partner exactly what works and what doesn’t, and remember, if you’re not comfortable talking,  you can communicate in other ways, through encouraging sighs and moans.

Go and explore - all too frequently, people tend to go right for the erogenous zones when they're in bed. That's nice, and all, but there are other parts of the body that shouldn't be overlooked during sex and touching them helps build up excitement. Don’t ignore the face, the neck, the earlobes, or any other area of the body that’s extra-sensitive.

It increases the chance of her having an orgasm - around three-quarters of women cannot climax through intercourse alone, so foreplay is a great way to increase a woman’s chances of orgasming during penetrative sex. Bring her to the point of orgasm through foreplay before starting intercourse to heighten your chances of a shared orgasm where you both climax together...

Foreplay isn’t just a precursor to sex - it can also be revisited during intercourse. Mix things up - for example, you could take a break from full sex with some oral stimulation, and then return to the full act.

Sex toys are a great way to add some variation to foreplay. Start with something simple and inexpensive like a bullet vibrator, and if you enjoy the experience introduce more sophisticated toys such as a wand vibrator. Many women say these massagers, which are non-penetrative and focus on clitoral stimulation, give more intense orgasms than traditional rabbit vibrators.