Everyone has different turn-ons, so foreplay can take many forms. But whatever you do, make sure it feels good to both of you.

To get you started, we asked three experts to share their best foreplay tips for sexual excitement. These ideas tap into all five senses to create arousal: sight, sound, touch, scent and taste.

1. Slow Down Your Breathing

Foreplay is a great way to boost arousal and prepare the body for sex. It also helps to increase blood flow to the genital area, which can help prevent pain during intercourse.

Slowing down your breathing can help you relax and focus on your partner. It can also help you match your partner’s rhythm. Try matching your breaths to create a rhythm that is both soothing and erotic. You can also try pulsing your hand against your partner’s nipples or licking them to create new sensations.

Many people think that foreplay is only about fingering or oral sex, but it’s actually much more than that. Try kissing different parts of the body or stroking their nipples, face and neck to stimulate the nipple nerves, which can trigger orgasms.

Another fun foreplay idea is to have your partner write down 10 sexual fantasies on a piece of paper and then act them out. This can be a lot of fun and it will help to break the ice between you and your partner. Plus, it’s a good way to get them to talk more about what turns them on.

2. Think About the Senses

While foreplay can feel a bit contrived or paint-by-numbers at times, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, engaging your senses can help bring in a whole new level of excitement to the pre-penetration phase. Smell, touch, sight and sound are all great foreplay tips to try.

For example, playing with the temperature of your partner’s erogenous zones can be an orgasmic experience. A cold ice cube on the penis might be too much, but a little bit of rubbing with warm lotion or running a small amount of warming lube over the area can be enough to turn you both on.

Touch is also a big foreplay trigger, so a few light touches up the arm or around the neck can be seductive. So can gently nibbling on your partner’s nipples or the bottom of their foot. Foreplay can be as long or short as you and your partner are comfortable with, but it’s always better to start early than to wait until you’re both already ready to get down to business. This allows you to explore more of what turns you on, which can lead to a happier, more fulfilling sexual encounter.

3. Focus on Touch

When you first fall in love, sexual energy is a given—it’s generated by the power of your relationship and the euphoria of romantic love. But over time, you’ll need to manually stoke that fire in order to keep your passion at full boil. That’s where foreplay comes in.

Foreplay can be anything from flirting in public to holding hands, and it doesn’t have to lead to sex. For example, women have sensitive nipples that can be stimulated with gentle kissing and nuzzling. Or you can play with temperature by running an ice cube across your partner’s erogenous zones.

Foreplay can also help you learn more about your partner. For example, if you find your partner’s eyes really turn you on, try eye contact foreplay. Or you can hold their hand while you massage it, which is great for stress relief. Certified sex therapists often recommend this technique, called sensate focus, for couples looking to boost their intimacy and sexual excitement. It’s an easy-to-follow meditative exercise that helps couples to feel more in the moment, which can heighten pleasure and reduce sex problems like premature ejaculation.

4. Try Something New

If your foreplay techniques feel like they’re on a repeat cycle, try something new. It doesn’t have to be long or intense, but a few extra minutes of foreplay can go a long way toward increasing arousal and anticipation.

For example, instead of going straight to kissing, stroking and teasing the stomach or inner thighs, move closer to your partner’s nipples and breasts. Women have particularly sensitive nipples, and stimulating them with your mouth or hands can cause orgasms much sooner than other types of foreplay.

Another option is to try a new sexual fantasy. Ask your partner to write down 10 fantasies, then select one and act it out together. This can be very erotic, and it’s a fun way to break the usual routine.

Remember, foreplay isn’t meant to be a paint-by-numbers experience. It’s supposed to make sex more exciting for both of you. So don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, especially if you’re in a long-term relationship. This will also help your partner to become more comfortable with you, which can be an important part of a healthy sex life.

5. Talk About Sex

It’s important for couples to discuss sexual desires, fantasies and expectations. This is a great way to build intimacy and trust, which can lead to greater sexual satisfaction in the long run. While it may be uncomfortable at first, open communication about sex can help with sexual excitement. It’s also helpful to talk about sex more often than just before or during sex.

This might include sex journals, salsa cards or even just discussing your thoughts and feelings on the subject with your partner. It might also mean shopping for sex toys or accessories or trying new things together, including oral sex.

Don’t be afraid to ask your partner about what turns them on in foreplay. It’s usually better to do this in a quiet place out of the bedroom, and you can even do it on the phone or via email. It’s important that the conversation continues after sex, too, and that you keep checking in on what works and doesn’t work for each of you. Remember that what you liked last time might not be as exciting this time, and your needs and desires can change over time.

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