opinion

Is It Time We Said Goodbye to Foreplay?

Is It Time We Said Goodbye to Foreplay?

Sex, good sex, complete sex is not only achieved through penis-in-vagina penetration, coitus, dipping the wick or whatever else you want to call it. In fact, thinking about it that way will lead you away from pleasure to a very different place: obligation, anxiety and even indifference regarding sex. And yet penetration prevails, with anything else labeled “foreplay,” as if all other non-penetrative practices were second-class and the only valid sexual objective was to penetrate or be penetrated.

Foreplay is considered second-class partly due to the word itself. Fore-play. Literally, “play that comes before,” the appetizer to the main course, or the foreword to the main text. In other words, foreplay means nothing without that in-out, because it’s supposed to precede sex — or what we know as sex. It doesn’t matter how pleasurable it is or how much you want it. For sex, you need a man, a woman and intercourse. Anything else falls into a different category.

The new era of sex has arrived and it comes hand-in-hand with a sexual revolution that is uncovering people’s true desires.

Fiction, culture and our limited sex education have led us to class penetration as the most important sexual act, labeling all other practices as “foreplay.” This is a mistake, because they are actually equally — if not more — satisfying. Sexually speaking, considering these practices second-class not only excludes people who don’t practice penis-in-vagina penetration because they either don’t possess said penis and vagina or don’t crave penetration during their sexual encounters.

If we consider penetration to be first-class sex — the aim and means of sex itself — this conditions us when we do it. Is sex incomplete without penetration? Is there something wrong with me if I prefer other acts to penetration? Is penetration exclusively penis-in-vagina? The answer to all these questions is: NO. All sexual acts are complete, whether you reach climax or not. There’s no written law on what’s fit to be called sex (if there is, it’s nonsense) because the people involved should be the ones to set the limits. So, while penetration may be on the menu today, tomorrow you might fancy a little erotic massage, and the following day some fun and freaky oral sex. All of the above is sex, good sex and, of course, first-class sex.

Farewell, foreplay.

This is by no means a sad goodbye; it’s been a long time coming. It was nice while it lasted, but it’s time to move on. In case you didn’t know, this decision is supported by 66.68 percent of the participants in Bijoux Indiscrets’ latest sex study, where over two-thirds said they preferred oral sex, masturbation and other non-penetrative acts over penetration itself. A surprising result compared to the 6.56 percent who picked penetration as their favorite practice. In other words, “dipping the wick” doesn’t compare, at least for the overwhelming majority. Little by little, the collective idea of what constitutes sex is dissolving and where we once found answers, there is now a sea of doubts that can only really be resolved by asking ourselves: do we really like what we like or have we just been taught to like it? What really turns us on?

If not foreplay, then what?

Just sex, period. I know that may seem a bit vague, but in reality the definition of sex is determined by the person taking part, not the other way round. A sexual relationship based on oral is just as valid as one based on penetration or kisses, caresses and wild embraces. Seriously, anything goes.

Sex is not a one-way street and it’s vital that we unlearn society’s teachings in order to understand that. Sure, some people might like progressing from caresses to kisses, from kisses to rubbing and from rubbing to penetration, but there are also those who only enjoy kisses, those who never contemplate penetration, those who prefer penetration and then oral, and those who only get off on mutual masturbation. No judgments here! Sex is sex and that’s all there is to it. Never feel obliged to engage in any specific act. Instead, feel free to explore each other and explore yourself.

And if you don’t come...

That’s totally fine. We’ve been taught that the aim of sex is orgasm when really the aim of sex is pleasure. Assuming that there’s no pleasure without orgasm is like assuming that there’s no sex without penetration. The pleasure of sex is not exclusive to climax. Granted, it may be a very intense part of it, but that intensity is also short-lived: three to five seconds in people with a penis and eight to 10 seconds in people with a vulva. There are other moments of pleasure surrounding orgasm that should never go unnoticed, because they are just as — if not more — important as the orgasm itself. To name but a few: feeling free to physically express your desires, tearing down taboos, getting to know yourself, obtaining physical and psychological pleasure, having fun and exploring yourself. Ultimately, enjoying your body and mind free from pressure and obligations.

The new era of sex.

Consent, first. Desire, close behind. The new era of sex knows no gender, doesn’t rank different acts, and has dialogue — a lot of dialogue — and involves a connection between two or more bodies in a state of pleasure with no judgment, obligations or goals. Because the aim is simply to be here and now. The new era of sex has arrived and it comes hand-in-hand with a sexual revolution that is uncovering people’s true desires. The results of Bijoux Indiscrets’ latest study will be published in February, revealing not only that over 66 percent of people prefer what we once called “foreplay,” but also opening the door to a whole range of possibilities that question sexuality as we know it. So, are you going to stop using the word “foreplay”? The countdown has begun.

Elsa Viegas is the designer and co-founder of Bijoux Indiscrets. Viegas’ love for art and eroticism has led her to make the leap from graphic design to product design, where she specializes in designing erotic accessories.

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