Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D.

tags: rev up your relationship, sexual satisfaction, foreplay, orgasms, vibrators, quizzes, Pepper Schwartz

Sex isn’t just about intercourse. In fact, it’s pretty hard to earn a degree as a world-class lover unless you spend some time studying the preliminaries—and you’re even closer to excellence if you don’t consider foreplay to be preliminaries! Answer these questions to find out how you stack up when it comes to the cuddling, tempting, teasing moves that lead to terrific sex.


Respond TRUE or FALSE. Give yourself 1 point for each TRUE response.

When you’re with your partner, you

1.     Engage in lots of passionate, unhurried kissing before you take off any clothes.

2.     Nuzzle your partner’s neck, shoulders and other above-the-belt zones for more than a few minutes before you begin to sexually stimulate each other.

3.     Almost never have sex without at least 10 (but preferably 20) minutes of pre-sex passion.

4.     Touch your partner’s genitals in an arousing way for at least 5 (but ideally 10) minutes before having intercourse.

5.     Enjoy having your own genitals stroked seductively for at least 5 to 10 minutes before having sex.

6.     Receive oral sex during approximately 75 percent of your lovemaking trysts.

7.     Initiate oral sex during at least 75 percent of your between-the-sheets encounters.

8.     Occasionally use a vibrator (or other sex toy) to spice up foreplay.

9.     Occasionally share a fantasy or read erotic passages to each other before having intercourse.

10.  Occasionally watch an erotic movie together before hitting the sack.

11.  Seductively undress each other or wear erotic lingerie or clothes for each other.

12.  Regularly light candles, share a bubble bath, break out the massage oil, or set a sexy scene before getting down to business.


0-3 points: Don’t Flunk Foreplay!

All of us are capable of wild passion, but even the most passionate lovers require a bit of seduction and stimulation before intercourse can reach hollering heights. Besides, if you’re not smooching, touching, or fantasizing together on a fairly regular basis, your love life (not to mention emotional intimacy) is probably not all that it could be.

4-8 points: You’re Coming Along!

You usually try to do something sexy to set the erotic stage before you move on. But consider asking for (and doing) a little bit more. Instead of kissing for a scant 5 minutes before getting horizontal, smooch for 10, even 20 minutes at a time. The longer you linger over each other, the greater the satisfaction you’ll experience.

9-12 points: You’re a Foreplay Phenomenon!

The simple fact that you take your time and are willing to engage in some mutual experimentation means that you’re both foreplay fanatics—in a good way. Congratulations! Of course, you can always add another sexual trick to the mix, so never stop exploring, teasing, or pleasuring each other.


1: There’s nothing as seductive as a good smooch. Kissing, all by itself, is a fine art and an act of love that stirs the soul as well as the body. The lips are almost as good as the eyes at melding two partners. The bottom line: Limiting your lip-locking is a foreplay no-no.

2: Let your lips wander. Oft-neglected areas such as the back of the neck or the shoulder blades can be surprisingly sensitive when reacquainted with a lover’s mouth. Deny your partner this kind of all-over pleasure and you deny him some of sex’s sweetest delights.

3: Do double time. Would you run your car for only a minute on a subzero day and then decide that it was revved and ready to take on the highway? Of course not. Humans are no different—we need plenty of juice to keep humming along smoothly. Sex without foreplay presumes instant desire and arousal (which is definitely not possible for most women). Great lovers wait—and drive each other over the edge with their mouths, hand and bodies to make the experience even more passionate, intimate, and meaningful.

4-5: Give—and you shall receive. You need to touch each other below the belt to make sure that you’re both totally ready for intercourse. Reciprocity isn’t just fair, it’s sexy, and it will bring you closer together. Plus, if this kind of petting tends to be a one-way street (one of you gives but never gets), resentment—and less satisfying sex—is sure to follow.

6-7: Overcome your qualms about oral sex. Many men and women feel that oral sex is somehow disrespectful or dirty. Others feel guilty for receiving pleasure while their partner is not. Though these fears are understandable, keep in mind that in its own way, giving great oral sex can be as pleasurable as receiving it. After all, getting your partner all hot and bothered is a powerful feeling. So reassure your mate that you love to make him feel good (and that he makes you feel good, too). Then reinforce your words by doing some initiating on a regular basis.

8: The truth about sex toys. Gadgets, vibrators, and other sexual aids aren’t substitutes for a partner, but they can enhance pleasure. For instance, vibrators can touch hard-to-reach areas (such as the G spot) and can produce incredibly intense sensations (and orgasms!) A great lover isn’t threatened by accessorizing sex. After all, mutual pleasure and comfort is the ultimate goal, no?

9. Take a foray into fantasy. The brain is the ultimate sex organ. In other words, you can tease each other with your minds by reading erotic stories, swapping steamy dreams, doing some creative role playing, even dressing up. If you can act like a sultan, a sex slave, or a stowaway on a pirate ship without cracking up or feeling too silly to enjoy it, you’ll get a chance to explore new erotic territory, see your partner in a different light, and add some spice to your love life.

10. Have a video adventure. Sure, most erotic videos aren’t targeted toward women, and the whopping majority don’t bother with plot, but chances are you won’t be watching after the first 5 or 10 minutes anyway.

11. Undress for success. Undressing your partner (or undressing for your partner) can be an integral part of the anticipation and excitement of sex. But after the first few months, too many couples get so efficient at performing the act that they dispense with sensuous disrobing and just get naked. Don’t. Unbutton each other’s shirts slowly, or slip off lingerie seductively. Make the experience last—and the pleasure will last, too.

12. Make a sense-ation. Foreplay isn’t just about touch. Ideally, it helps all of the senses work together to make lovemaking a more exciting experience. So try drawing an aromatic bath for your sweetie, light your favorite scented candle, or slather on massage oil. Taste, inhale, smell, and touch, and pleasure will follow.

From The Lifetime Love and Sex Quiz Book