The Heat Index

Words by Debby Herbenick. Edited by Khairul A. Sajali.



Everything you need to know about heating up your mate in a hurry.

A lot of men take the term “foreplay” quite literally – it’s the work put in before playtime begins. But in a study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 60% of women said foreplay was their favourite part of sex. This may come as a shock to some guys but men and women take different paths to the big pay-off. Guys just want to plunge into the pleasure zone, while women are… women.


Follow this three-step stairway to heaven and you’ll give her orgasms she’ll brag about to her friends.


Priority #1


Foreplay begins hours before you start kissing her collarbone or dropping a trail of tossed-off clothes around the house. 53% of women in our Men’s Health survey agree that when warming them up, you need to engage their minds.


Do this: Let the compliment sink in.

Tell her that her butt looks great in that skirt – but don’t say it only when you’re rushed and on your way out the door, late for work, in an “I-love-you-and-you-look-hot” kind of way. At a party or work function, catch her eye from across the room and smile at her flirtatiously. Make eye contact, and then look her up and down, sending her a non-verbal damn, you’re sexy.


And this: Sext with specifics

Nearly half the women in the MH survey said raunchy text messages put them in the mood. Send her a flirty text about where on her body you’d like to kiss her later, and see how she responds. If she flirts back, ratchet it up a notch with each text, growing more passionate or explicit – but only if she texts back in kind.


Guide to Talking Dirty…


Priority #2


One of the most striking findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior: Variety is crucial for climax. The more time you spend enjoying a variety of acts with each other, the higher her odds of experiencing orgasm will be.


Do this: Read her mind.

In the Men’s Health survey, one in three women said that during foreplay, they’re fantasising about something they’re dying to try but are too scared to bring up. A great way to figure out what she’s into is to surprise her with a book of erotic stories and ask her to read her favourite passages out loud.


And this: Tell her – between caresses – how hot she is.

As you’re going down on her, tell her how much you’re enjoying the view. Women who feel more positive about their appearance down there are more likely to masturbate and experience orgasm, according to a study my research team and I published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. You whooped when you saw the Grand Canyon for the first time; you can muster enthusiasm for this narrow valley as well.



Priority #3


Both men and women wanted more foreplay than they normally had – on average, both sexes indicated that they craved about 18 minutes of frolicking before penetration, according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Sex Research. Unfortunately, 59% of women said that foreplay with their current partner typically lasted no longer than 10 minutes. Drawing it out will build tension, and spending time in foreplay gives her body a chance to rev up its natural lubrication.


Do this: Explore her with your hands.

The first few inches of her vagina are the most sensitive; move your finger inside her in circles rather than using the old in-an-out motion. Spend more time warming her up and she is more likely to experience “tenting”, where muscle contractions pull her uterus upward, helping her vagina expand from 3-4 inches to 5-6 inches long. This makes for more comfortable and pleasurable sex for both of you.


And this: Engage her breasts.

Don’t just splash around her nipples. The tops, bottoms, and sides of her breasts are more sensitive, so kiss, lick, and caress from the outside in. Massage lotion makes this even more stimulating.




Image by Corbis.


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