Foreplay: sexual stimulation of one's partner, usually as a prelude to sexual intercourse
Prelude: a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance
Off top, this might seem like a really strange topic to tackle, but just hear me out on why I think it's super relevant. Did you know that, in the United States alone, somewhere between 14-15 million people consider themselves to be in a long-distance relationship? Not only that, but out of those, only around four million folks are married (close to 33 percent are college-aged individuals), even though a whopping 75 percent of engaged couples admit to being long-distance during some part of their engagement?
Now do you see why I thought this was an issue that needed to be addressed? Just because two people may be apart, that doesn't mean that they still don't have needs. And, what I adore about the definition of foreplay, is it doesn't just lend to what a couple should be doing 15 minutes before penetration transpires. Foreplay is all about stimulating one's partner,, period and since the brain is actually the largest sexual organ that any of us have, incitement really should begin with what's going on between our ears, not our legs.
Hmph. The more I think about it, as challenging as being miles away from one's lover may be, perhaps one of the best parts about a long-distance relationship is how creative you can get when it comes to the fine art of foreplay (and it is indeed an art form, y'all).
Want some help with stoking the fires? I've got a few ideas.
Exchange Sexy Letters
As a writer who got my start as a poet, I've fallen for my fair share of writers—spoken word artists, rappers and singers—in my day. It's not just because of what I do for a living, but because words of affirmation is my primary love language too. And let me tell you—a well-placed and timed letter, poem or song could hit me in all the right places. That's why it totally resonated with me when I read an article that said that handwritten notes are quite powerful. So much in fact that increases positivity and an overall sense of well-being in both the writer and recipient.
So tell me something—when's the last time you went to a local office supply store (or a Hallmark), picked up some fly stationery and penned a sexy letter to your man, complete with some of your signature perfume on it, and mailed it?
A text or email are aight, but making the time to write about the way you love how he makes you feel will resonate on an entirely different level; especially if you both make it a mutual practice from time to time.
Create a Sex Bucket List
Speaking of writing things down, another way to get your creative sexual juices flowing is by creating a sex bucket list. Think of it as being a couples' vision board only, everything that is on it has something to do with sexual fantasies and desires that you both would like to try someday (hopefully sooner than later).
You could exchange ideas back and forth in an email. Or, you can both download an electronic vision board and swap thoughts that way. You can get a few leads on apps here.
Download the Kindu App
It wouldn't seem right to discuss how to better navigate through a long-distance relationship without bringing up some (other) apps since basically they are designed to make life—including your relationship—easier. Along these lines, one that you should definitely have on your phone is the Kindu app. The long short of it is, once you and yours download the app, you can go through thousands of sexual suggestions that the app provides. Then you both can discuss what you're willing to try, what's up for negotiation and what's totally off limits. If your relationship is relatively new or you've always been shy about discussing sexual intimacy, this is one way to broach the topic without feeling insecure or totally put on the spot. (Get it from the App Store here or Google Play here.)
Download the iKamasutra App TooGiphy
Another "benefit" of being apart is it can give you both some time to learn and/or brush up on your sex knowledge. Take sexual positions, for example. Did you know that there are technically around 230 different ones? With the iKamasutra app (App Store), you can learn about 110 of 'em via the free version and all of the rest for $2.99. They even have a feature that will help you to recreate some of the most memorable sex scenes from movies. Just think of how much you'll be able to, umm, demonstrate the next time the two of you are together!
Design a Sex Calendar
Something that one of my friend's husbands did for one of her birthdays was give her a calendar. If that sounds like he was leaning a little on the cheap side, just wait until I tell you what he did with it. He literally planned out dates with his wife, a year in advance. He didn't just write "date" on random days either; he had ideas, places and times too. Who said that romance is dead?
A cool twist to this is to design a sex calendar. You and yours can divvy the 12 months up and either come up with ideas on your Google calendar or mail the calendar back and forth. (Personally, I like the second idea; it gives you both something to look forward to!)
Mail Each Other SleepwearGiphy
Something that both husbands and wives tell me is a major pet peeve (and libido downer) is how their spouse decides to come to bed. Between the Fort Knox pajamas that a lot of women wear and T-shirts and boxers that should've been burned years ago that men have on, it's enough to turn anybody off.
Make this less of an issue for you and your sweetheart by coming up with your own Sleepwear of the Month Club. During a phone call, discuss things like one another's favorite colors, fabrics and lingerie looks. Then, commit to mailing each other what you'd like to see your partner in once a month for a year. Not only will you both end up with a new collection of sexy stuff to put on but imagine what an impromptu modeling session will be like!
Keep a Sex Journal
When a relationship is new, sex is pretty much always hot (here's hoping, anyway). But if you've been together for a while now and the distance is taking its toll to the point that it's actually wreaking havoc on the intimacy that the two of you share, something that you might want to do is keep a sex journal between the two of you. It can consist of anything that you want it to—the best sex memories you both have, the needs and wants that are important to you, even when you felt that sex was at its peak and when it seemed to take a bit of a dive, so that you both can pinpoint when things started to go left—just so long as the focus is sex and ways to make it better.
Sometimes, just the documentation and communication alone can help to put a spark back into the relationship.
Plan a Mini Hotel TourGiphy
Foreplay is all about building anticipation. Even if money is a little tight right now, that doesn't mean that the two of you can't dream.
Well, dream and save money. That said, I don't know one person (myself included) who isn't a HUGE fan of hotel sex. So, why not put together your own mini hotel tour?
First, research the sexiest hotel in the city where you both live and plan to spend at least one night there when you travel to see one another. As far as a tour goes, the Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, CA); Salamander Resort & Spa (Middleburg, VA); Amangiri (Canyon Point, UT); Inn at the Market (Seattle, WA); Bryant Park Hotel (Manhattan, NY); The Standard Spa (Miami Beach, FL) and The Hermitage Hotel (Nashville, TN) are just a few other sexy hotels that can inspire you to meet in another location for a little extra excitement.
Come Up with Your Own Sex-Themed Emoji Language
A part of what makes a long-distance relationship challenging is, not only do you have to deal with being apart from the one you love, you also have to juggle your day-to-day demands. Although I'm sure the intention is to talk at least once a day, something that you can do to remind your partner that you are thinking of them is to text. Or sext. If you want to make it fun and a little more private, you can check out some private texting apps here (or you can try out Wickr or Confide). Then, come up with your own sex-themed emoji language.
Why emojis? Well, not only are they a faster way to communicate but, according to some pretty widespread research, people who use emojis have sex more than folks who don't. Oh, and if you want to nix deciphering between water splashes, eggplants and whatnot, there's a "naughty" emoji keyboard that you can download directly to your smartphone.
Emotionally Connect. Daily.
An actor by the name of Zara Barrie once said something about foreplay that is so on point— "Conversation is the sexiest foreplay, the perfect prelude to sex, the fiery banter that gets you heated, the stimulation of the mind that transmits to the body. Conversation is a give and take. Just like sex itself. And the best give and takes — the best conversations — lead to the best sex."
The married couples I know who have lasted the longest all have said that, when it comes to foreplay, it's about cultivating an emotional connection, most of all. It's a reminder that building true intimacy isn't just about sex; it's about making sure your partner feels wanted, heard and safe.
I could give a ton of tips on this too, but you know what's even better? Ask your partner. By simply saying, "What can I do to make you feel more loved by me?" will be sure to make them feel so much closer to you—no matter how far apart, physically, you may be. As a bonus, it will make coming together again, that much better too. Emotional connecting truly is the best kind of foreplay around. Hands down.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
The Signs Of A Truly Intimate Relationship
Is Scheduled Sex Really Better Than No Sex At All?
8 Ways My Husband & I Made Our Long Distance Relationship Work
How To Ensure Your Long Distance Relationship Leads To Marriage
Featured image by Getty Images.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images