It’s chilly, and we’re outside. Leaning in to each other for warmth, but delighting in the cold as well. My shirt is unbuttoned slightly and pulled down below my shoulder to expose one of my tits. He licks the tip of his finger slowly and runs it around the nipple. Wet spit meets cold air and hard nipples, and I shiver with longing.
I don’t want to be naked when we start to fuck: I want you to undress me. I want frotting and cotton – want to rub up against you with a barrier between us. I want to be able to slip a hand inside your t-shirt and feel the soft hair in the small of your back with my palm. I want to feel like we’re going somewhere.
I’m not very good at foreplay. In fact, on the scale of ‘things I am incredibly bad at’ it ranks below even running, remembering birthdays, and ‘not eating the second half of an open tube of Pringles.’
But, as with most sexual things, I’m willing to learn. After recently being berated for the fact that my seduction technique often involves me stripping to my pants in the bedroom and shouting ‘DO YOU WANT SEX?’ so loud that he can hear it from the kitchen, I am working on getting better at it.
Touching, hinting, saying sexy things: you know the drill.
Here’s how my foreplay lessons are going…
I fucking hate tickling.
Why the actual fuck is tickling portrayed as a sexy thing? I’ve seen so many films and books in which the gleefully happy couple engage in a spot of playful tickling that then leads to a sexy snog, or a fuck, and I find it unfathomable. Moreover, I’ve had guys try to initiate a good shag with me by pinning me down and gleefully prodding at my reflexive bits.
It ticks some of the hot boxes, sure – you’re getting close together, there’s physical contact. But that is absolutely and completely where it ends for me.
Why tickling is beyond horrible
a) aimed primarily at making someone laugh, which as far as I’m concerned has absolutely no place in the bedroom. If I’m fucking you and anything about that process induces laughter I’m liable to call the whole thing off and storm to the bathroom for an angry, solitary, straight-faced wank.
b) something that parents do to their children. Unless you want me to call you ‘Daddy’ then tickling will never be a prelude to me taking my knickers off.
c) painful. Yes, I know I’m laughing, but it’s a reflex thing. Tickling makes someone laugh, but for many people it is actually a phenomenally uncomfortable, horrible feeling. My mouth might be curved into a smile, my laughter ringing in your ears, but my eyes will be burning with the closest I ever come to genuine hatred.
d) really really fucking annoying. Power and control can be sexy, when it’s something that you’re voluntarily giving up to a person. But losing control simply because someone slightly stronger than you is poking you in places that you are physiologically incapable of not reacting to is about as sexy as a smear test. You’re not controlling me through the force of your will or because I’m so hot for you that I’ll submit to your command, you’re just making my body do things it has to do. You shouldn’t be proud of your achievement any more than you should be proud that my irises contract when you turn a bright light on.
Seriously, fucking stop it
Why do I feel the need to have this rant? Because ticklers don’t seem to know any of this. Ticklers find it hilarious to give me playful pokes in the ribs to watch me squirm or to punctuate a point they’re making. Ticklers will hold me down and giggle as I try to wriggle free. They’ll tickle me and think it’s hot that we’re writhing together, even though my writhing is involuntary. And they will interpret my reflexive laughter as enjoyment.
I cannot say:
“Haha, no, seriously. Haha, seriously this is so horrible. Haha oh please stop I hate it so much.”
Because it doesn’t sound serious then, does it? It’s hard to say a meaningful no through involuntary laughter, and it’s especially hard to explain that you hate it if someone’s misguided enough to believe they’re doing something playful and sexy.
Haha, no honestly stop it now
I know that some people like it. Some people enjoy the playfulness and the physicality. I don’t expect films and books to stop using tickling as foreplay any time soon, but what I would like is to see is at least one scene where person A initiates a quick tickle, and person B refrains from giggling, pushes A firmly away, and then proceeds to throw a righteous fucking shitfit.
It’d give a bit of balance. It’d show people that there’s diversity around tickling just as there’s diversity around who likes buttsex and whether or not you spit or swallow. It’ll show us that no matter how harmless, any specific type of physical contact will never have universal appeal. It’ll be beneficial not just to people like me who hate tickling, but to people who don’t like cuddling, who don’t like jizz on their face, who prefer not to be stroked or touched in other ways we usually assume are standard.
I’d like for it to always be OK to turn this sort of thing down – to articulate your preferences and have your partner actually listen. With something like buttsex they usually would. But for tickling? Not always. I’ve often told people I don’t like tickling only to be greeted with ‘haha, you love it though, don’t you, come here…’ followed by a repeat of exactly the irritating, painful twattery I’d just expressed a dislike for.
OK, it’s not the world’s greatest problem, but it annoys me. Because every time I get tickled the pain of the tickle and humiliation of laughing through the misery is compounded by the knowledge that when I say to the tickler afterwards “please never do that again” they’ll see the residual reflex-laugh flicker across my face and find it difficult to take me seriously.
So listen very carefully, observe my straight face and angry eyes and straightforward, serious tone:
If you ever ever tickle me, I will punch you in the mouth.
It’s a reflex thing.
I’m a freakish weirdo when it comes to foreplay, I think. I’ve spoken before about how I don’t really like getting head. A good fingering is nice every now and again, but I’m a bit impatient. Just as I’m the first in the pub at 5 pm on Friday, itching to start the weekend, when the chance for a shag comes around I’m the one speeding things up in anticipation of what I see as the ‘main’ event, pulling down my knickers and mumbling “just put it in me – now – please.”
But recently I spoke to the rather lovely @EasilyTempted on Twitter, who talked so lovingly about foreplay (or rather – those myriad aspects of sex that don’t involve putting a dick into a vagina) that it might have tempted me to spend a bit more time doing it.
Here’s what she said:
EasilyTempted – on foreplay
This week my husband and I had a beautiful and lengthy 69. I came on his face, more than once, and he came in my mouth. And then I fucked about on Twitter, while he cooked me scrambled eggs. Possibly a perfect evening.
‘Officially’ we didn’t have even have sex. It got me thinking about the word ‘foreplay’ and how misleading and flawed it is as a concept. Foreplay traditionally describes something which is the precursor to sex. But what is sex?
Personally I think of sex in terms of sexual satisfaction with a partner (or partners ~ I’ve read this blog). In this model I would see it as something that involves an orgasm. But what if you can be sexually satisfied without an orgasm? (I have heard such people exist). And do both people have to have an orgasm or just one?
I have no answers.
Given access to each other, my husband and I probably have sex around five times a week and we have been fucking for 12 years. This adds up to a fair amount of sex. But actual penetration – classic penis in vagina stuff – plenty of what we do involves or concludes that way and a great deal doesn’t.
I don’t orgasm from penetration alone, so perhaps that is why fucking is an element of my sex life but not the focus. My husband is also not interested in isolated penetration – if we have limited time he will almost certainly choose abstinence over a simple fuck. So in that sense foreplay is everything to us, which is why I don’t like the implications that it is ‘just’ the starter.
We are both oral-centric. Kissing, licking, sucking – we live in a grown up sexy lollipop shop.
If he kisses and bites me all over for so long that when he puts his fingers on my clitoris I come immediately, is that foreplay?
If I fuck him with my strap-on, is that foreplay?
If he straps me down, spanks me, and fucks my arse with a dildo, is that foreplay?
These are all things we have done this week, and yet we only had penetrative sex once. Include the 69 and that is only one in four.
Blowjobs seem to be in the middle of the Venn Sex Diagram for a lot of people. You have penetration on one side and foreplay on the other but for a lot of people a blowjob means both – this is all down to Bill Clinton, everyone had that discussion.
But somehow, the feminist in me rails against the idea that if just the man has an orgasm it’s sex but if just the woman has an orgasm it is foreplay. Because this would mean the male orgasm trumps the female.
What I don’t like about the expression is that it gives virgins, new lovers, or even bad lovers the idea that anything before the penetration is merely a waiting room for the main event.
There is a lot more to sex than in and out.