Mental Foreplay Hacks That Ultimately Takes Intercourse To New Levels

When it comes to having sex, is your mind right?


The interesting thing about foreplay is, a lot of people only factor in the physical whenever the topic—or the act—comes up. And while, to a certain extent, that's all well and good, the best lovers know that if you get someone's mind in the space to want to engage in a lil' hot 'n heavy coitus, the body is pretty much gonna follow. This is why I personally believe that mental foreplay is so important. And when you really get down to what it truly entails, I think you'll also start to see that it consists of a set of actions that transpire long before two people are boo'ed up in the bedroom.

Whether your sex life is currently bangin' (no pun intended) or it honestly could improve on a few levels, I've got 10 ways for you to get your mind in a space where you're totally looking forward to having sex. Good. Hot. Long. Passionate. Totally mind-blowing sex. Ready?

1. Start Your Day with Something That Makes You Feel Sexy


Again, when it comes to having a great sex life, one of the greatest mistakes that a lot of people make is waiting until a few moments before the actual act to do anything that will put them—and their partner—in the mood.

Let's break out of that pattern, shall we? One way to do that is to get up out of bed with the decision to do something that will make you feel sexy all day long. It could be putting on some sexy lingerie underneath your work clothes. Wearing a scent that you already know drives your partner insane (in the best way possible, of course). Putting on your favorite red dress, blouse, pumps or shade of lipstick (red symbolizes love, passion and energy). It really is up to you.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure it's something that makes you walk with more of a sway in your hips, speak with a little more "breath" in your tone of voice and definitely makes you think of the endless possibilities between you and your boo thang all day long.

2. Shorten Your Work Meetings


While on the surface, this one might seem a bit odd, just stick with me and I'm sure you'll see the vision. An elder in my life used to say, "After 15 minutes on the phone, all you end up doing is repeating yourself." To a large extent, that is some spot-on insight. You know what else tends to be longer than it should? Work-related meetings. Two hours, shoot, even an hour, more times than not, ends up dragging along and wearing you out (whether it's over Zoom or not). So, when it comes to the meetings that you actually can control, try and shorten them to 30 minutes. You'd be amazed how it will force you and others to get to the point and get on with the day.

And just how will this tactic help your sex life? Well, by the time you get home, you won't feel quite as mentally drained. As a bonus, it can also help you to make the most of your time in the bedroom too. Hey, sometimes life gets hectic and so, while an orgasm or two sounds really nice in theory, you may have a hard time figuring out how to fit it in. Sometimes carving out 30 minutes for a lil' quickie seems a whole lot more doable than trying to pull off an all-nighter. And since work has taught you to make the most of your time, it's easier for that to translate once you're off of the clock.

3. Say “No” More Often


It was actually Steve Jobs who once said, "It's only by saying 'no' that you can concentrate on the things that are really important." When it comes to spending some quality time with your partner, I can't think of too many more things that should take precedence over that. Yeah, we all have 24 hours in a day and yet, when it's all said and done (eight hours for work and eight hours for sleep), some of us only have eight "free" hours. If saying "yes" to everyone is resulting in you feeling frazzled, frustrated or totally out of the mood, most of the time, something's gotta give—and it shouldn't be your sex life. Each week, put together a schedule. Start with the things that are of the utmost priority and work your way down. Things that can be put off until later, schedule them for that. Stuff that you know you should say "no" to, do that too. Life is too short to not be saying, "yes, yes, YES!" more often. If you know what I mean. Say "no" so that you can say "yes".

4. Hug Yourself


Tell me something. When was the last time that you hugged yourself? It might sound a lil' cray-cray; however, if you Google the benefits that come from doing just that, it includes everything from improving your self-esteem and calming you down to putting you in a better mood and even boosting your immune system. The real tripped out part? All you need to do is embrace yourself for 20 seconds in order to feel some of these effects. And we all know that the better we feel, the more interested in sex we tend to be. So do you, your partner and your sex life a favor and hug yourself a few times throughout the day. It can be the kind of mental foreplay hack that can make all of the difference in the world.

5. Listen to Some Sexy Music


Last spring, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life".

Something that's a scientific fact is, whenever we listen to sexy music, it affects the pleasure, bonding and limbic (the part that deals with our emotions as well as our memory) parts of our brain. In fact, when we listen to a song that we really like, it can have a similar effect as sexual pleasure.

Lawd. No wonder listening to Jodeci (or even an indie old-school joint called "Interstate") can still make a sistah mentally "go in". Some of us are good for playing some 90s R&B or Doja Cat as a way to set the mood. What I'm encouraging you to do is to move the getting-into-the-mood space hours before by listening to your favorite sexy tunes. It's a mental form of edging that is truly unmatched.

6. Take 20-30 Minutes to “Shift Gears” When You Get Home


If you're married, something that I recommend you check out is "7 Things Married Couples Should Do...At The END Of Their Day". One of the tips that I recommend in it is that you give yourself and your spouse at least 20 minutes to mentally shift gears from what is needed at work to what is needed at home (even if you and your partner don't live together, this can be a helpful thing; to not call them all of the time on the way home, so that they can always mentally get out of "work mode"). Sometimes, we're so in a rush to get on with whatever is required in the house, that it can put unnecessary pressure and strain on us and our partner—and stress isn't sexy. Greeting them at the door with a kiss and then being intentional about giving each other some quiet time can work wonders when it comes to everyone processing the energy of the house. And you know what? This can ultimately make both of you feel so much more receptive to getting intimate…later in the evening.

7. Write Down Your CURRENT Sexual Needs


I've shared before that one of my favorite couple-related quotes is, "People change and forget to tell one another." The reality is that the person you said your vows to on your wedding day is going to change, many times, in a variety of different ways, before their life comes to an end. So will you. And if the two of you don't share each other's thoughts, feelings and needs during those different stages of transitions, it's very easy to literally grow apart—to even become strangers to a certain extent.

Your sex life is not exempt from this point. Truth is, what turned you on and got you off in your 20s may be very different in your 30s, 40s and 50s (check out "How Your Man Can Adjust To Your 'Sexual Growth Spurts'"). That's why, I don't care how long you've been with someone or how well you think that they know you, it is your responsibility to convey what your current sexual needs are. I don't mean that you be vague or abstract either. Get as specific as possible. One way to make sure that you are crystal clear is to write your thoughts down beforehand. Sex journaling is a technique that can help you to process where you stand, so that you're mentally confident enough to have the conversation with your partner. A huge part of sex is about communication. The clearer you are, the better.

8. Focus on Body Positivity


I recently had a debate with someone about the fact that, I find it really interesting that, while a lot of women will say that a man is shallow if he isn't attracted to a plus-size woman, oftentimes those same plus-size women don't ever consider dating heavier men (the double standards really are abundant out here!). When it comes to embracing body positivity, we all really need to practice what we preach. Anyway, if you're someone who always prefers to have sex in the dark, limits sex to certain positions (that make you feel less body conscious) and/or you can't remember the last time when you had sex completely naked, please read "These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More", "10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem" and "Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey".

If you're already sexually involved with someone, believe you me that they are already into you and far less critical than you are about your body. All they want you to do is enjoy them while they enjoy you. That's so much easier to do when you feel more positive about your body. Please make that a top priority, just as soon as you possibly can.

9. Take Clocks Out of Your Bedroom


No doubt about it. There really is such a thing as being a slave to the clock. Don't believe me? How many times have you been at home, enjoying a movie or talking on the phone, looked over at the clock and then ended either activity suddenly, just because of what the clock revealed to you? While there is something to be said for keeping a schedule, there's also something to be said for relaxing more when it comes to how we process time as well. That said, if you've got a clock in your bedroom, it could be a covert enemy when it comes to you enjoying sex more often because 1) you might deny sex because the clock says it's too late or 2) you might rethink having it in the middle of the night because the clock says it's too early or 3) you may abruptly end sex (or try to rush it along) because of the time that is on the clock. Bedrooms are for sex and sleep and that really can't be stated enough. Anything in your bedroom that is mentally, physically or even emotionally hinder either activity from happening—it's really gotta go.

10. Flirt. Then Foreplay.


Have you ever looked up the definitions of flirting before? One of them is "to behave or act amorously without emotional commitment". However, as we close this out, the one that I'm referring to is "to deal playfully". Flirting can be cool because it takes the pressure off of trying to be super seductive—at least initially—if you think that it will somehow make you feel self-conscious. Winking and/or blowing kisses at your partner. Leaving a cute note somewhere that they'll see it. Complimenting them. Initiating an impromptu slow dance. Starting a pillow fight. These are just a few ways that you can flirt as a way to bring some laughter and sweetness into the dynamic before transitioning into foreplay—which will hopefully transition into full-on sexual intercourse.

I know. Mental foreplay hacks don't get brought up often. Hopefully, though, you're able to see how they can definitely play a role in improving your sex life. Because when your mind is right—the sky truly is the limit when it comes to all sorts of sexual possibilities!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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