While there is much on the internet about physical foreplay that is not particularly insightful, there are more sensible observations on this topic than on many others. The reason is that successful sex depends so much on foreplay -- especially for women -- that it is hard to ignore. But, at the same time, there is still a frequent tendency to view foreplay from a physical perspective. This is a very narrow view of it.
The most important area of the body for foreplay is the mouth and tongue -- and by that I mean TALKING!
I once heard a lecture on marriage that stressed the importance of “Foretalk” for marital relations. Why is this so important, especially for most women?
I think the answer is that sex is not merely a physical act, especially for most wives. Women have a deeper natural understanding of physical sex as an outcome of and embodiment of personal union. (It is often said that physical sex without personal attention and affection -- just "getting down to it" -- can make a wife feel like a prostitute.)
But “personal” union – union between two persons – is not just physical, because persons are more than bodies. They are embodied souls, a union of matter and spirit. Personal union is felt when two people are united -- 'in sync," "on the same page." They are sharing a perspective on some aspect of life, and, preferably (for the deepest union) on many (and especially the most important) aspects of life -- and, most importantly, on their own relationship. This is a sharing of minds – “seeing” things the same way – and of hearts – sharing the same loves -- as well as a deep sharing of their bodies.
This sharing or union helps a wife let down her natural feminine defense as with respect to sex – because she is especially vulnerable in sexual relations. An evolutionary biologist might explain this in terms of the vulnerability of a pregnant women in early human societies and her need to have a reliable mate. Others might simply recognize that women, more than men, tend to form bonds in the act of sexual intercourse. (This is why the leading study on premarital sex in America points out that women are much more likely to be left shattered by premarital sex than men are: "Study after study has shown that women with higher numbers of sexual partners, or those who began having sex at an earlier age, frequently suffer from depression or other emotional problems. In fact, after the sexual revolution and the feminist tidal wave of the seventies, increasing numbers of women are looking back on what's happened with regret, not happiness." Premarital Sex in America Regnerus and Uecker.)
The need for extensive "foretalk" has some very practical implications: it drives some men nuts! (And probably most men, some of the time.) Interiorly, a husband can sometimes be silently shouting "Oh, my love, please stop talking and let’s make love"!
But this is a failure to see the value of that talking, how it's such an important part of the foreplay, very much part of the initiation of lovemaking, the dance, the growing communion - and how great the return on that bit of patience is!
One image that sticks in my mind is this: in the early stages of sexual intercourse there is a slow movement of a husband and wife circling toward each other, lessening the distance between them, as if a long, brightly colored fabric floats round them and then gradually encircles them and pulls them together closer and closer, until their bodies are tight against each other, with no space in between them -- ready, finally, to be deeply united in the act of love.