Foreplay is actually one area which is well covered on the internet.  The reason is simple: a lot of women write on the web, and it is a permanent frustration of women from time immemorial that men so often want to "just do it" -- that is, they want to move right to the physical manipulation of the bodies to stimulate and enjoy physical pleasure.  Women, on the other hand, are more inclined to want an extended period of embracing and kissing and caressing and talking (an exchange of affectionate, romantic words)  prior to really "getting into it" physically.

  Part of the reason for women's need for foreplay is physical: women are "made" to need time to get aroused and have their bodies prepared for sexual intercourse (most obviously, by the natural lubrication of the sexual organs -- although this may be as good a place as any to point out that artificial lubrication is a wonderful thing, and helps both partners experience greater pleasure in the caresses of either the vagina/clitoris or the penis).  

  But the reason need foreplay more is also psychological.  Women tend to focus more on the personal relationship in sex, compared to men, and foreplay is a way of cultivating that sense of personal union that is so important to them.  

  That's why "foreplay" doesn't consist simply in caressing a woman's breasts or vulva -- her most obvious "erogenous" zones, which men tend to latch onto quickly -- but in caressing the whole body and also in the affectionate words accompanying the kisses and caresses.

   Men tend to get impatient, partly because the sexual urge is propelling them forward at a faster pace.  But, of course, they can learn to be more patient, and the "payoff" is great: their beloved will ultimately respond more powerfully to their lovemaking.  And some men even learn to enjoy the foreplay as much as their wives (though probably not the "foretalk")!

   This is one area in which it is particularly important not to misundertand the traditional moral ideal of "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you."  That doesn't necessarily mean doing to a woman what you, as a man, would like done to you.  Men, when it comes to sex, generally tend to be very "phallocentric" -- they focus pretty heavily on what is being done (or not being done) to their penis.  Sometimes they assume, unthinkingly, that a wife likewise wants her husband to focus on her genitals.  Husbands do this at least partly because, once a wife is really aroused, she really does like that attention to the genitals.  But that arousal takes a pretty good while (at least for most wives).  This isn't really news -- it's pretty well known that women really value their entire body being involved in foreplay, with the concentrated focus on the genitals put off until they have become very aroused.

  It's good to keep in mind here what I have noted in another section (here):  that many women (especially those in long-term monogamous relationships) don't start with (physical or sensual) sexual desire that leads them to engage in sexual relations (as is typical with men).  Wives often start with a (non-physical) desire to express love for their spouses or to achieve emotional closeness, which leads them to engage in sexual activity, which then brings on sexual desire. 



  What is there to say about a husband using his tongue on his wife's genitals -- glossing her -- in marital intercourse, as part of foreplay?   Frankly, I think it is wonderful.

    I don't think we know, or likely ever will know for sure, how many women DON'T regularly achieve orgasm in their marital lovemaking.  But the discussion of the issue over a long period of time, and the reported experiences of many women, suggest that orgasm-less sexual intercourse for women is, at the very least, not uncommon.  

    There is much (endless) debate about the reasons for this.  Sometimes it is simple male incompetence, as when a husband simply doesn't deliberately aim to provide enough time for his wife to be aroused before he reaches orgasm and ejaculation.  But some women say that, even with considerate and loving spouses, they are unable to achieve orgasm.  (In some cases they can't climax at all; more commonly they report not achieving climax regularly or consistently in their marital relations).  One claim is that ordinary sexual intercourse, for many women, doesn't provide sufficient direct stimulation to the clitoris to bring about an orgasm.  (There is an interesting discussion of scientific studies here.)

    This website is not going to describe and evaluate these arguments.  What I will do is simply repeat the basic point: it appears to be a fact that a significant number of married women, for whatever reason, don't consistently achieve climax in their marital relations -- the culmination of sexual intercourse, with its full sexual release.  This is unfortunate, since the ideal is that both husband and wife achieve complete sexual satisfaction (orgasm) in their marital lovemaking.  (Karol Wojtyla argued this in the "sexology" section of his book Love and Responsibility, and it is also discussed well here.)

    Glossing is often (usually, as long as there has been appropriate personal focus and foreplay before it is started) a wonderfully effective way of providing direct stimulation to the clitoris, which helps women to reach climax.  I think it is therefore a wonderful blessing.  Of course, as with all things sexual, not every women enjoys receiving oral foreplay -- it is not a "magic bullet" to resolve all problems of "anorgasmia."  But, as a general rule, glossing is a powerful means of arousing a woman and preparing her for sexual intercourse. (Again, keeping in mind that she needs the cultivation of emotional closeness and attention to the entire body prior to direct attention to the vulva and clitoris . . .)

    One practical concern about glossing is that the husband is focusing not on his wife's face, but on her vulva.  This might be thought to detract from the personal dimension of the act, since the face is the part of the body where we focus on the person. (If a person were talking to us, it would be a bit weird to focus on the person's arm or hand, rather than her face, and especially the eyes.)    And a too-exclusive focus on the genitals could encourage a de-personalized approach to sex.  

    But eye contact is possible in some glossing positions, and even when it is not (as when the husband's head is facing her feet during glossing), the husband's hands can caress his wife's body and face, in order to reinforce the personal dimension of the foreplay.   Moreover, there is sense that you are entering her "hidden depths," and that is very personal.  As with so much about sex, the attitude you carry into different aspects of it determines whether the act is personal union or merely physical mechanics to achieve sexual gratification.  




An Important Benefit of Glossing

  As I discuss elsewhere, while achieving simultaneous climax in the marital act is certainly not necessary, it is appropriate and desirable.  But in the ordinary act of sexual intercourse, it is not always easy to "time" the orgasms of husband and wife to achieve simultaneous climax.  There is one relatively reliable way to achieve simultaneous orgasm, however.  

  Because a wife, unlike a husband, does not immediately enter the "resolution" stage after orgasm, but returns to a plateau, she may rise again to another orgasm fairly soon after her first climax.  One of the great advantages of glossing is that, because it makes possible direct and comfortable (because the tongue is soft and moist) physical stimulation of the clitoris, is very likely to bring a wife to a first orgasm. If a husband glosses his wife to climax, and then enters her (perhaps after a brief pause, because immediate re-stimulation after a female orgasm may be experienced by her as painful), it is very likely that during actual sexual union she will re-climax fairly quickly (perhaps several times), and ultimately climax simultaneously with her husband.    

The Pleasure of Foreplay

Some Preliminary Points

    Because I am talking primarily about male marital sexuality, I will be confining my discussion of oral foreplay to cunnilingus. And I will only discuss it as a form of foreplay, that is, as preparation for sexual intercourse.  I should also say that the nature of the topic and some of the necessary details in discussing it suggest that this section should be read only by married men.

   I am not ordinarily a big fan of inventing new words, but I make an exception in the case of cunnilingus. (That word sounds so technical and impersonal to me.)  There is also no well-known and pleasant verb for the act (hardly anyone uses the archaic word "cunnilingue" and slang like "eating out" is ugly sounding).  So I will often refer to oral foreplay with a wife as “glossing.” Reasons: 1) it's approprate because it uses the Greek word for "tongue" and 2) it also has the connotations of “shining” or “glossy,” which is an image that fits nicely with the effect of glossing on a wife.

    I want to briefly mention one issue, so that I can put it to the side.  Some people (conservative moralists) argue that oral foreplay is "unnatural."  I have never seen a persuasive argument, however, that there is a significant moral difference between the finger (or hand) and the tongue, when it comes to foreplay.  The idea of foreplay is that both partners, but perhaps especially the wife, need stimulation to prepare their bodies for sexual intercourse, and foreplay is therefore quite natural -- that is, it helps fulfill the natural end of achieving full sexual union.  (Nor is there any grounds for saying that "only the minimum necessary amount of foreplay" is justified.)  Acts of foreplay (including the use of the tongue or mouth on the sexual organs) are part of the entire experience of sexual delight in marital lovemaking, the achievement of true marital union in sexual intercourse.  They are therefore very good in themselves.

  An interesting abstract question about foreplay is this: "How is it that the building of physical arousal is a state of tension, and yet at the same time, very pleasurable?" 

  One psychiatrist has these observations:

  "Pleasure has a dual nature. There is first the pleasure of the excitation, provided that one can anticipate its discharge; and then there is the pleasure of the release of the tension or the discharge of the excitation. The first pleasure, anticipatory pleasure, is associated with the buildup of excitation. The second pleasure is perceived specifically as satisfaction and is related to the discharge of the excitation. It is the nature of living organisms that the buildup of a state of excitation carries within itself the unconscious prospect of its release or fulfillment
  Seen in this light, pleasure is not the experience of a static state but of a dynamic one. The organism does not seek to discharge tension as an end in itself, nor does it seek to build tension as an end in itself. If a state of excitation were not discharged, the organism could not get excited again. If it seeks anything, teleologically speaking, an organism seeks the flow of feeling, the buildup and the decline of excitation, the movement from one condition to another within the limits of its available energy. Pleasure cannot be divorced from movement, either physical or psychological . . .
  . . . Arousal is a process of focusing excitation upon the genitals through either psychic or physical stimulation or both.
  After focus occurs, any further contact with the sexual object will operate to increase the focus and raise the level of sexual excitation. Genital arousal is, therefore, a pleasurable experience, despite the accompanying feeling of tension, as long as the prospect of discharge is present. Most couples engage in a variety of sexual activities that serve to raise the level of sexual excitation. This is known as forepleasure."