As we know, a woman's arousal is usually on a different time trajectory than a man's. Research shows that it takes an average of 10-20 minutes for a woman to become fully aroused, whereas it takes a man about 4 minutes. This ramp-up disparity is why many men skimp on the foreplay -- they're just ready to go sooner. And yet it is foreplay that can make all the difference in having a good connection. Here are 7 oft overlooked ways you can start the timer before you head to the bedroom.
1. Do the dishes, enthusiastically. Maybe you always do the dishes and you just see it as a chore -- your part of the maintaining-a-household bargain. That may be true, but it is also an act of appreciation: this is something you do as an expression of support and giving. Do it lovingly instead of begrudgingly and she will feel the difference. [And while you're at it, don't forget to wipe the counters, clear what's left on the table, and towel-dry the glasses :).] If you usually cook and she does the dishes, why not give her a hand?
2. Make the bed/tidy up. In a similar vein to doing the dishes, tidying up in the bedroom shows you care, and makes it feel more like a special place. Small delights can go a long way. If you're single, keeping your place clean is a sign that you're attentive, and can help her relax because she's being grossed out by dirty dishes or clothes on the floor. And relaxation is key to having a good connection.
3. Smile. Yup, smile. Smile at her. Smile with her. Smile to yourself. It's all really sexy.
4. Prolong eye contact at dinner. It is noted that Federico Fellini, the acclaimed Italian filmmaker and lover-of-women, once said: "To seduce a woman, begin the night before at dinner." I love that sentiment, and couldn't agree more. Eating, like sex, is a very sensual activity: it brings pleasure, provides nourishment, and connects us to something bigger than ourselves. The dinner table is also when we are relaxing, so we tend to be open to connecting. A thoughtful gaze, perhaps tinged with appreciation, can be disarming, and start her down the road to pleasure and connection.
5. Warm-up her car. If you live in a cold climate, getting into a frigid car can be a rough way to start the day. By braving the cold yourself, and starting the car for her, she'll have a few more minutes of repose, and appreciate how thoughtful you are, and will carry that thought into her day. Appreciation of your caring is definitely a doorway to her relaxation. And caring can also inspire reciprocation.
6. "How was your day?" You might chalk this one up to just being nice (like most of the other suggestions on the list), but it can also serve as foreplay by letting her release any tensions from the day by sharing what's on her mind. This will leave the door open to shifting the focus to the "home space," and the things you two enjoy. Again, caring can be sexy.
7. Give her a foot rub. OK, so maybe you knew about this one. But it's good for both of you in so many ways: the giver of the foot rub can express him/herself through gentle and firm touch, can experiment with different moves and holds, and begin tuning-in his/her partner by paying attention to how she is responding to the different types of touch. The person getting the foot rub is tuning into sensation, focusing, and relaxing though softening of muscles and stimulation of the reflex points. The two of you together can also practice your communication by giving and receiving feedback about what feels good, and what can be changed to make it better. Instead of asking "Does that feel good?" try asking "What would make this better?" (also a good question to ask when you're in the bedroom).