Sex: Everything But - A Guide to Pleasure by Chantelle Otten

by Chantelle Otten

on Apr 13, 2020

Sex can seem like the goal of intimacy. But what are we actually talking about here?

For a lot of people ‘sex’ means penis in vagina, however there is so much more to being erotic with somebody. You have desire, anticipation, foreplay, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex and, yes, those highly sought-after orgasms. And while an orgasm can be great, it doesn’t need to be our only goal, in fact we actually don’t really need any goals besides feeling pleasure.

Being sexual with someone should mean we are focusing on pleasure. This means, how we can give pleasure to our partner and how we can receive pleasure. The focus should not be on getting the penis inside the vagina as soon as possible and both racing towards an orgasm as fast as we can.

For a lot of people, 'penis in vagina' is not even part of their sexual repertoire. And many people need that foreplay, that warming up, that build of pleasure and sensation where mind and body are overwhelmed with arousal. So if you haven't indulged in some serious foreplay in a while, now is the time. Let's remove some stigmas around foreplay and sex.


Reach for the lube

There is no shame in reaching for the lube bottle to enhance pleasure during foreplay. In fact, there are some awesome lubes designed to enhance sensation. Some people think that women should be able to have an abundance of wetness as soon as anything erotic begins, which is just not true! It takes time for the female body to reach heightened levels of arousal to produce that wetness, so while we are touching, stroking and exploring we might need some lubricant.

When choosing your lubricant, have a think about what is going to best enhance your pleasure. A water-based lubricant is a great all-rounder, particularly if you're playing with toys or using condoms, as other lubricants can break down the material of toys and condoms. Lovehoney Enjoy is perfect to have by the bed. Water-based lubricant will resemble the natural wetness of the female body but may dry out faster than other types – there is no shame in reaching for the bottle more than once, though!


Other essentials for your nightstand

While a water-based lubricant is an essential, I always love a silicone lubricant. While not to be used with silicone toys, a silicone lubricant has a more silky-smooth feeling on our skin, which can really enhance erotic feeling during foreplay. They usually last a lot longer than water-based lubricants, so they're a great option for a long erotic session.

Warming lube is great for dipping your toe into temperature play. It actually increases blood flow, amping up pleasure and arousal – try Tracey Cox's Supersex Orgasm Gel.

Flavoured lubricants are always a fun (and tasty) idea to use during foreplay, particularly with oral sex. Just make sure you're carefully checking those ingredients for allergies!


Bring on the foreplay

Now we might have our lubricant at the ready, but what are we doing with it? If a penis isn't going into a vagina, what's going to happen? Where are we touching? How are we touching? All great questions, and let's keep that curiosity going while we delve into foreplay.

Foreplay is going to dramatically improve our sexual satisfaction – it's incredibly important for arousal and intimacy and generally just makes our bodies feel amazing! What it allows you to do is wake up your senses and your body. To become sensitive to touch, smell and sound, and bring awareness to your body, the imagination, and the eroticism around what is about to happen.

You are able to unwind and connect with your partner and build up your arousal and desire until you just can't wait to move further.


Tease and please

To increase excitement we can start teasing and exciting our partner before we lay a finger on them. Maybe put on a sensual song (or my playlist), and make the action of undressing something fun and sexy.

Slowly undress, touching yourself as you let their eyes devour you. This can be as much fun for you as it is for them, with both of you building that anticipation for when you can finally touch. Touch their whole body, massaging or just stroking their neck, back, arms, hips and thighs – you can even use some massage oil.

If your partner has a penis, touch anything but. That will make them crave that touch even more, again building that arousal. Don't forget kissing, but not just the lips – down their neck and chest and stomach until you get to the penis, maybe even giving it a kiss too! Don't be afraid to ask your partner what they like, what they want, what would please them. Give them oral sex, maybe even using Good Head Tingle Drops (which have menthol in them) for tingly stimulation.


There's no rush

Don't be afraid to actually tell your partner what you love about their body. With all the social pressures women face around ideal beauty standards, spending some time telling your lover all the ways you find them arousing can help enhance their own arousal, as well as encouraging them to feel comfortable being intimately exposed to you.

If your partner has a clitoris, touch, kiss and explore their whole body – there's no rush to the genitals! Touch their body over their clothes before removing them. Ask what they want, listen to what they say. Try rubbing their vulva or licking the clitoris (tip, add orgasm gel 10 minutes before), and pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues.

Most women reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation, so the more time you spend there, the easier it will be for her to orgasm during foreplay. But again, orgasm is not the goal!


Every body is different

Make sure you're not making your partner feel they need to have an orgasm quickly. Vocalise how much you love touching and tasting them. Remember, everybody and every body is different. What works in foreplay with your last partner might not be the same with your next partner.

Try to be open and honest about what you like and don't like. Ask the same questions to your partner. And keep that curiosity alive!

Try new things, experiment with different touches and sensations, don't be afraid to ask for something you've always wanted to try. The only rule in foreplay is pleasure, so get pleasing!

Chantelle Otten is an award-winning sex therapist and relationship specialist in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow her on Instagram, and find out more at

Chantelle Otten

Written by Chantelle Otten. Lovehoney Australia's Resident Sexologist
Helping to ensure empowerment, sexual wellbeing and pleasure are at the center of all your sexual experiences

Originally published on Apr 13, 2020. Updated on Jan 11, 2021