Why she almost always needs foreplay, and you rarely do.

In Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life , Dr Daniel Amen lists the “Nine common questions about differences between men and women.” Question #4 is on foreplay (punny?) – “Why don’t men need foreplay like women do?”

Dr. Amen says lower activity levels in the male brain, combined with higher testosterone levels, mean men are “always idling, waiting to get taken for a ride.” Not so for women – their brains are always busy, usually with a number of things.  Dr. Amen says “…they need to be soothed, courted, and encouraged to be in the mood. They need a method to calm down their brains.”

This is so true.  No matter how much she loves you, how much she wants you, and no matter how much her body might even be screaming for sex, it takes time to get her brain in sex mode. If you don’t give her the time she needs to make the change to sex mode, she will not enjoy it on any level. If you give her some time, but less than she needs, her body may respond and climax, but she won’t be satisfied mentally and emotionally. This is a bad thing; if she often climaxes without being fully into sex, it will feel empty, cheap, or dirty.

What does it take to get her brain into sex mode? First and foremost, it takes time. There are no short-cuts, and giving her 90% of the time she needs is  not much better than giving her 19%. Since the issue is her brain, not her body, trying to arouse her body too soon is actually counter-productive. You may well be able to get her body aroused before her brain is there, but it will not end well. She may decide she is ready because of her body when her brain needs more time. If she often says, “go for it” and then has trouble for reasons she does understand, this may be the issue.

A few ideas:

Get out of other modes early: If she has half an hour to relax and read before you get into bed with her, she will already have put aside a lot of the thoughts and distractions of the day. If you take care of the kids at night, it helps her a great deal. If she always cleans the kitchen, or anything else, just before bed, suggest a change of schedule so she can relax instead (or do it for her!)

A place without distractions: Her mind is easily distracted, so do what you can to remove distractions. Any visible clutter is going to draw her attention, and will probably also draw her mind to all the things she needs to do. If the bedroom is used for all kinds of activities, all of those activities are vying for her attention when she is trying to have sex.

If you can’t move other activates to another place, find ways to make these other things less visible from the bed. Soft light near the bed and darkness in the rest of the room, can help a great deal. Simple things like closing doors to closets and the bathroom, as well as any drawers, will remove places for her mind to go. A screen blocking part of the room (a folding screen can be easily moved as needed), or some other form of visual blocking can also help. (Maybe this is why women like canopy beds?)

Sounds can also distract her. White noise or soft music (preferably without words) can help with this.

A pattern to fall into: The mind likes patterns, and once it knows a pattern it easily flows through the steps. If sex always occurs after a joint shower and a back rub, and if these things don’t usually occur other than when sex happens, her mind will pick up on the cues and start moving into sex mode as you shower together.  By the time the back rub is done, she may be fully into sex mode – or at least well on her way. What you do is not important, as long as it’s enjoyable and relaxing; it’s the predictable pattern that matters.

If you don’t know if sex will or won’t occur soon enough for something like the above, find something to do once yo both know sex is going to occur. Talking is always good. Avoid stressful topics (but be sure to deal with them at another time). A simple game the two of you like (such as cards or backgammon) can  be a way of relaxing, connecting, and telling her brain it should be moving into sex mode.

Don’t be in a hurry to get her naked. Slowly undressing her is another pattern that can help her brain move from “1000 things” to “sex, sex, sex, sex”. Very slowly unbuttoning her blouse, or taking a full minute to undo her pants, will build anticipation and help her want to go where you are taking her.

Least sexual to most sexual: As touching begins, move from the face to the breasts slowly, and on to the genitals just as slowly. It’s tempting to move between her legs when it seems she’s not “getting it”, but this may make things worse. If you can get her mind into sex, her body will follow, getting her body aroused too fast may leave her brain stranded.

KISS: That’s not an acronym – it’s the most important act of foreplay for most women. Most women find kissing extremely arousing. Start soft, and work up to more passionate kissing. Learn to know when she wants it gentle, and if/when she does not. Do more kissing and odds are she will get where you want her to go more quickly.

Know how far her mind has to go: The more she had on her mind, the more difficult it will be for her to move to sex mode. There will also be days when she just is not going to make it; understand that, and either wait for tomorrow, or have sex knowing she won’t be fully into it. Please, don’t make her to feel she is expected to do something her mind is not up to

3 Comments on “Why she almost always needs foreplay, and you rarely do.

  1. This couldn’t be further from the truth for my wife and me.

    • @ sonicboon – I understand. My bride and I are different from the norm in a several places, and some of what I suggest that is good advice for most would be a bad plan for me!

  2. I can relate. My wife is easily distracted … especially when the children were in the house, awake or asleep! Now they are in college and it’s much easier for her not to be constantly listening for the children.

    thanks for the post.

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