7 People Share Their Idea of Foreplay

Idea of Foreplay

…and calling it interesting would be an understatement! 

Remember the classic 2006 rom-com The Holiday? In a rather pivotal scene, Graham (played by Jude Law) asked Amanda (Cameron Diaz) how she feels about foreplay, and unlike her less than savory and societally conditioned response describing it as 'highly overrated' – Aunt Sassy is BIG on the idea of foreplay, or outercourse as we prefer to call it. 

Being a subjective experience, outercourse or foreplay can mean many different things to different people. But, if there was one way to put it, that would be to include all possible sexual or intimate acts and experiences except for penetration (or, intercourse) into the definition.

So, anything from kissing, cuddling, holding hands, caressing their face to motorboating and going down on someone (even 69-ing!) – everything constitutes foreplay. Now, it's quite normal to jump to the conclusion that the term 'fore' may indicate that the "actual play" is yet to follow, but let's break that bubble for everyone, once and for all:

Foreplay was, is, and can be the main play.

The usage of the term "outercourse" only began sometime in the 1980s, and hence our sociocultural understanding of foreplay has been limited, just as any other concepts related to sexual intimacy and pleasure.

Consuming mainstream media - in the form of movies, shows, and music - that has often glorified intercourse as the ‘only valid form of sex’, also contributed to building a misleading narrative over time. In a country like India, where people have always had preconceived notions and taboos around all things intimacy, it is the ongoing work of path-breaking educators, new-age media, and sexual wellness brands that are now reforming the ways we think about sex and how expansive it can be.

Gone are the days when penetration was the *only* way to reach cloud nine (iykyk) – we asked 7 folks across different cities in India, what they think foreplay is and the ways they like to indulge in it. 

Please note, the names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

1/7: "It's all in the touch" 

When asked about what's the best part of foreplay, Aram - who's 26 years old, a cisman, and working as a Chartered Accountant in Mumbai - was very keen about physical touch.

"I need to touch my partner in all possible ways. And, it doesn't have to start sexually, just a soft hand-holding moment or grazing their hair while they lie on my lap – it's those small moments where you're the most intimate with your partner. It's all in the touch, and that idea extends to foreplay as well. How and where I hold my partner, or they hold me (like rubbing my back when I'm on top of her), that's the best feeling ever!"

2/7: "Hickeys, I'm a sucker for them"

Melissa, 23, who’s a queer ciswoman and a budding journalist based in Delhi, shared with us her erotic entanglement with hickeys when it comes to getting it on with someone.

“Oh my god, I love hickeys! I am a very hands-on lover, and I like passion and that heat to build up during foreplay, y’know? There’s this really subtle pain you feel when someone’s giving you a hickey, the moaning, and of course the end result. While there are so many things I do enjoy, hickeys—I’m a sucker for them!”

3/7: "Each time is new and special" 

What’s not talked about while discussing foreplay is actually an experience common to everyone. How you go into the act varies so vividly from person to person, and situation to situation. Priya, who’s a 24-year-old model based in Bangalore, opens up about this aspect.

“I love how each time is new and special. By that I mean, with one partner you may love to go all nasty while with someone else you slowly build up to that first kiss. I discover something new about foreplay with each of my experiences and that’s a major turn-on for me, in fact.”

4/7: "Foreplay doesn't come first, it can be the whole act" 

It does take a considerable amount of effort to unlearn the misguiding perceptions of sexual intimacy, and Nitin, a 24-year-old cisman who is a high-school teacher in Pune, agrees wholeheartedly. 

“I wish I knew from the beginning that foreplay doesn’t have to lead to intercourse and that I can just give my partner a handjob and call that sex. I overthought so many of my past encounters and couldn’t be in the moment because of that mindset. But now I know, foreplay doesn't come first, it can be the whole act and that’s the best part, literally.”

5/7: "Just talking, building to that perfect kiss"

For Rishi, who’s 25 and a Chennai-based consultant happily dating his boyfriend of 2 years, foreplay goes beyond touch and starts way before you get physically intimate.

“I think foreplay for me starts even before what people would think foreplay is. Like, talking to my boyfriend about how his day was, comforting and reassuring him, and small kisses that may or may not turn into a makeout sesh. Basically just talking, building to that perfect kiss. I dig that.”

6/7: "Love me a good 69" 

Body image concerns interfering with your ability to enjoy sexual moments is a far too common experience for many folx, especially women and vulva-havers. We asked Anwesha, 24, a writer based in Hyderabad to share her journey of finding sexual liberation and embracing her body, her pleasure.

“So, I have always been conscious of how my body looks during sex and if I feel attractive enough. I remember how this one partner opened me up to 69ing and it felt so liberating to be able to mutually pleasure each other. Before that, I was like okay first I do this, then they do this – but now that I got a taste of it, love me a good 69, haha!”

7/7: "The messier, the better" 

There’s no routine to this chaos – that’s how Sal, 23, an Ahmedabad-based artist who’s enby, subtly puts their thoughts about outercourse.

“They show you those pitch-perfect scenes in movies where not even a strand of hair is out of place while the actors are making out. It didn’t take me long to realize that’s not how it works IRL. Having sex, in whichever form you may please, it’s so chaotic and disorganized. And, that’s what I like—the messier, the better.”

Even though we have a clear picture of what foreplay entails by now, if you reflect back on your experiences, you’d realize how personal, intimate, and unique they were. Incorporating adult couple toys can add a new level of excitement and pleasure to your foreplay. In fact, some may be better than others, while a few of them have left an everlasting impression on you.

So no, foreplay is not overrated, and never will be. Foreplay, outercourse, or whatever term you’d like to use, please know that you define what constitutes foreplay for you, your limits, and the broader meaning of sex. 


About the Author 

Anuja (she/her) is our Creator-in-Residence. After exploring all the different ways she could talk about who she identifies as, this is the closest she could get: “I’m your quintessential dog hoomum with a blue typewriter, living three blocks away, probably writing about you."


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