A guide to help you explore what brings you pleasure.
Expanding or adapting the way you have sex to make erotic play the focus is how I sometimes support people in my sex therapy practice. We address performative sex and performance anxiety (amongst other difficulties) by challenging the scripts and breaking up with the “shoulds”, including unrealistic expectations that there must always be a fully erect penis present, a super wet vulva that doesn’t ever experience any pain and everyone must be able to have simultaneous orgasms to have a successful encounter.
When we centre pleasure or play, we’re not putting pressure on or judging bodies to function in the way we think they should work. So instead, our focus is to increase flexibility and improvisation skills to have more pleasure, connection and fun, regardless of how your body works.
Communication is the element that makes partner play possible because play is all about collaboration. Communication can be verbal, non-verbal sounds, sign language, body language and behaviour. Being open, aware and astute in all the ways your partner(s) may express themselves can increase the level of safety, pleasure and connection of shared experiences.
Playing is diverse. You might want to explore kinky play, BDSM, bondage and rope play, power play, play with sex toys, play with food, role play, play through sharing stories and fantasies or through intercourse, and all the other ways you can give and receive erotic pleasure. Like always, starting small, getting familiar, learning your upper and lower limits, and building trust maintains a sense of safety, creates room to practice your communication and collaboration skills and slows things down so you can discover what you want and what feels good over time. Check out a guide on anal play and solo play for more.
When we redefine what foreplay is to the moments between sexual encounters, we have space to reclaim all the activities we once called foreplay. Outercourse is sex that includes anything that happens outside of your body; oral sex, caressing, stroking, grinding and dry humping, kissing, mutual masturbation, hand jobs, sexting, spanking, food or sensation play and massage to name a few.