We need to talk about foreplay
Who's saying what
How did you learn about foreplay? This is a serious question. Rewind the clock back to your early adolescence and sexual education. One questions whether boys were ever given any more instruction outside of Here Is A Banana Which Represents Your Penis Which You Must Always Cover With A Condom and girls, Do Not Let Him Touch You And If He Touches You Make Sure That Banana Has Its Condom On And Also Periods Will Happen, Sorry. Retrospectively, it seems that short of trying not to get our girlfriends pregnant or give each other diseases, most of the fundamentals of sex ed were essentially just that. Whether it was your P.E. teachers’ (or parents’) responsibility to fill in the gaps is not really the question, because someone – or something – did. And they really didn’t do a spectacular job at it.
To write these columns, most of my field research comes from discussions with female co-workers, friends and acquaintances. On average, I’d say one in three of the sex-related stories they pull when we’re eating lunch, having coffee or driving to a party involves them ending up with a man who’s dud in bed. This has nothing to do with the size of his penis, whether he lasted for five minutes or fifty, couldn’t achieve an erection or all those sorts of things men typically assume women spend all their time complaining about. It’s got everything to do with foreplay, or lack thereof. Yesterday, I heard a woman who works on my floor say that she’d landed a really attractive guy who unfortunately seemed to never have heard of foreplay. Despite his above-average good looks and endowment, once they got down to it, she swore she hated every minute.
Some of us may consider it obvious, but there is evidently an entire swathe of people who don’t think sex happens between two people – together. Having never moved on from the binary cut and thrust logic taught to them at 14, and perhaps never having had a woman sit them down and tell them all the things they were doing wrong, not doing, or should be doing differently between the sheets, you end up with men who think that it’s OK to put that chicken Parmigianino in the oven when it isn’t hot enough, and that kettles magically start boiling without flicking the relevant switches.
Can you really blame our bumbling brethren, though? Sure, some of them quite clearly aren’t trying (or simply don’t care) but for the rest of us, where were our Dolly, Cosmo and more recently, Rookie magazines, when we were growing up? Who could we ask curious questions about funny things happening down there, if it hurts, what’s appropriate and when? What did we honestly really know about blowjobs until we received one for the first time? What if we were attracted to our cousins, like George Michael Bluth and Maebe in Arrested Development? These things aren’t made up, they do happen. And short of asking our fathers (sort of a good idea, but also not a good idea because you know that most of the answers probably involve your mother), there really wasn’t anywhere else to go but pornography, arguably the world’s worst teacher ever.
And so legions of lacklustre lovers continue to enter the world armed with the wrong knowledge or no knowledge at all, bolstered by an entertainment industry that promotes the idea that women are to be slammed rather than stroked, kissed or licked into some form of submission. Not to get all Sam Kekovich on everyone, bit it’s high time we updated the curriculum before we all regress into men-children. Foreplay is often even more important than what comes after it. That’s something needs to be drilled into every pubescent boy. After all, we don’t want them all entering the arena half-cocked.
Lead image via Shutterstock.