Prepare for Liftoff

By Hannah Seligson

Israel Helfand

In her best-selling book, “The Female Brain” (Broadway, 2007), Dr. Louann Brizendine cites some conventional wisdom from sex therapists about foreplay. “For women, foreplay is everything that happens twenty-four hours preceding [sex]. For men, it’s everything that happens three minutes before.”

Regardless, of what your exact foreplay time frame is, it’s something that cannot be overlooked or ignored, experts say. But for most busy couples, getting your partner in the mood often takes a back seat to kids, bills, and Blackberry.

Here are some tips on putting the fore back in play:

It can be simple

Foreplay doesn’t have to be an elaborate production of rose petals and champagne, says Dr. Israel Helfand. Dr. Israel, along with their wife Cathie, leads Marriage Quest Retreats (, a three-day retreat for couples. “For many couples, it is a loving look, a smile, a warm touch, or a hug,” he says. Something so seemingly simple is actually very important, he says, because foreplay is critical and communicates interest, desire, and attraction, not just in words but behaviors. “Foreplay also helps produce happy hormones like dopamines and endorphins,” Dr. Helfand says.

Schedule time together

Cathie Helfand says that just as you schedule time for your children, you need to do with same for love and intimacy because it’s not going to just happen magically. “Going for a walk, playing golf, eating pizza at the park, and just having fun together, as friends do, are all forms of foreplay,” she says.

Work smart, not hard

Israel Helfand advises couples not to think of foreplay as a time drain. “Foreplay,” he says, “can really be something as simple as a note on the windshield, a picture in their suitcase, or a text message.”

Take some risks

“Share a fantasy from the past,” Israel Helfand says. “Some couples may be threatened by this. But remember, a fantasy is just a fantasy. You don’t have to act it out in real life.”

Change it up

One of the staples of a healthy sex life is diversity, Cathie Helfand says. “So be creative and remember that making love is not the only way to have sex,” she says. “Other forms of sexual encounters do not rely as much on foreplay and can be quite exciting and satisfying as well.”

Hannah Seligson is a writer based in New York and the author of “New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches” (Citadel Press, 2007).
From: Body & More Online
The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, SC