There's a good chance that you and your guy have several go-to moves that are guaranteed to get you both ready to bow-chicka-wow. But as we all know, the same ol' same can lead to a case of the sexual blahs pretty quickly—especially in the foreplay department. If your pre-game show is starting to feel "whatever" with a side of "meh," there's a good chance one (or more) of these six foreplay faux pas are to blame. Find out where you're going wrong and what to do about it.
1. You're Not Letting Go
Whether you've got a work deadline on the brain or you're still stewing over an argument you had with your mom, if your mind is not in it to win it then your vagina won't be either, says board-certified clinical sexologist Debra Laino. Learn to let go through a combination of mindfulness and self-affirmations: Focus on being completely in the moment with your S.O.—study his body and how it feels, as well as the ah-mazing sensations happening in your own. Anytime you feel your mind sucking you into another guilt trip, remind yourself that not only is it healthy to take this time out for yourself, but that you deserve it. "You're essentially sending a different message to the brain, so that eventually the body will respond," says Laino.
2. You Wait to See What He Does Next
Your bod doesn't come with an owner's manual, and it's not fair to assume that your partner should just know what feels good, says certified sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D. Instead of waiting patiently until he makes a toe-curling move, throw the guy a bone by giving him a sense of direction, either with a few whispered words or by moving his hands, mouth, or whatever where you need it. "Most partners appreciate this," says Van Kirk. "Then provide feedback with either a moan, squeeze, or sigh," she says.
3. You Use the Same Moves Over and Over and Over...
"When you know what's coming during foreplay, you can become bored or disengaged," says Van Kirk. And that can keep you from, um, coming. You may even find yourself rushing through foreplay just to get it over with. The solution: Do something—anything—different. "Research shows that spontaneity and variety help keep partners together in the long run," she says.
It might help to go at your foreplay seshes with a goal in mind, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author of NeuroLoveology. What do you want to get out of it, besides the obvious? For example, do you want to romance, deeper intimacy, fun and playfulness, eroticism, or raw sex? Then choose foreplay moves that match your goals, such as dirty talk, kissing, sexting, massaging, striptease, blindfolds, and G-spot or prostate exploration (as in his butt). It's a great way to morph predictability or rushing to orgasm into good habits that leave you both fulfilled and satisfied, says Cadell.
You can also try these oral sex positions or show your partner these mind-blowing masturbation moves he can use on you.
4. You Mandate Foreplay Every Time, at All Costs
Sure, we were taught that sex happens in stages—but when has following the rules ever been sexy? Thinking that foreplay always happens before sex can turn it into a chore. Instead, add some variety to your menu, and allow each of your sexual encounters to be different as needed, says Van Kirk. For example, if you're sneaking in a quickie, there may be less time for foreplay. "It helps to remain open to that in order to create options for yourself and your partner," she says. Just use a little lube since you're natural juices won't be flowing like they are post-foreplay, says Van Kirk.
5. You Don't Make Foreplay the Main Event
"Personally, I much prefer the term 'sex play.' Foreplay means that penetration must be the end all be all," says Van Kirk. "If you can embrace that sex play can happen anytime, anywhere, and it may involve eventual penetration or not, things suddenly get much more exciting," she says. Give your partner a quick BJ as he's getting ready for work, or push him up against the wall and passionately kiss him as you're heading out the door, or send him a surprise sext during your break, suggests Kelley Kitley, a licensed clinical social worker who works with couples in Chicago. This gives you both something to fantasize about and look forward to when you get home, she says.
6. You Rarely Get It on Alone
"Masturbating regularly can help you feel more ready and aroused for sex play on a bio-chemical and behavioral level," says Van Kirk. "Sex begets sex, whether it's masturbatory or partnered. Too many women rely on partnered sex to be their only outlet." Plus, if a woman doesn't expect to have an orgasm (for example, if she's anorgasmic), she may lose interest in foreplay and possibly sex at some point, says Laino. Making sure you know your body well, talking openly about anything that might be getting in the way of your sexual satisfaction, and practicing on yourself before moving onto your partner, can lead to sexy time that actually feels sexy. "Make some time for yourself," says Van Kirk. "It should be a part of your regular health regime: Work out, sleep, eat well, and masturbate."