Two adults may touch each other in neutral body zones (such as on the shoulder or arm) without any implication of intimacy. They can also kiss on the cheek as a show of friendship. When a couple engages in mouth-to-mouth kissing it is generally taken to be a precursor to sexual activity or to occur between couples already in a sexual relationship. There may have been some cursory touching of more intimate body parts as a lead in to increased sexual intimacy. This is especially true where couples dance.
For men, being touched by a lover is emotionally significant. It’s very important to them because they look for signs that a lover finds them attractive and is amenable to sex. Men are often more aroused at being touched by a lover than when they touch themselves, especially genitally.
For women the issue is more emotional than sexual. They want to touch a lover to demonstrate affection. They want a lover to touch them to know that they are attractive and that a lover wants to enjoy their body. Most women only allow someone to touch her genitals when she is in love.
Foreplay has always existed, in the sense that men have always enjoyed groping and fondling women’s bodies because it assists with their own arousal. Foreplay was never intended to be for the woman’s benefit. The activity was called foreplay after Shere Hite’s research finding that most women do not orgasm through intercourse. Thereafter it was suggested that a man (as the proactive agent in heterosexual relationships) should assist a woman by providing the stimulation she might need for orgasm. The clitoris was the key anatomy identified by researchers but this has never been unanimously confirmed by heterosexual couples in the general population.
Foreplay makes no sense because of the array of female body parts involved. The clitoris is simply one that was added as a result of Kinsey’s finding that it was involved in female orgasm. No one wondered why women could not provide their own stimulation with a lover. If women were aroused they would be motivated to stimulate themselves. Foreplay does not assist with female arousal but it does bring some variety into sex, which becomes incredibly boring for women if it always focuses on intercourse.
Alfred Kinsey concluded that some men enjoy eroticism because they have a creative imagination. More educated can have more imagination so there’s a degree of correlation. Instead of referring to educational level, we could talk of men with imagination or men with little imagination (the majority). More educated men enjoy their arousal by appreciating a lover’s body and they like to extend the time they engage in sexual activity with a lover.
Kinsey pointed out that sex advice is often provided by middle class people who don’t appreciate that their education affects their sexual behaviour. He found that educated men tend to appreciate eroticism: visual or imagined representations of nudity or sexual activity. Less educated men apparently are much more inclined to insist on the real thing. They are not necessarily interested in (or aroused by) messing about on the side. They want to get straight to intercourse and have done with it. The quicker the better.
Popular beliefs include the idea that it is a man’s role to give a woman an orgasm. Men are motivated to stimulate women because it arouses them. A man also wants sex to be pleasurable for a woman so that she will remain amenable. If women could orgasm with a lover, not only would they know what anatomy needs to be stimulated, they would stimulate themselves. It is ridiculous to suggest that anyone can have an ability to orgasm that depends on another person knowing or being willing to stimulate them in the correct way. Women would not be so sexually passive if they had a sex drive.
Men’s quest to understand how female pleasure is achieved is not based on a woman enjoying pleasure. If it was, men would be happy to know that women orgasm through masturbation alone. Men’s quest is a selfish one. They want women to continue to be amenable to intercourse so that their sexual outlet is secured. Women’s lack of enthusiasm for sex is a constant worry for men in case they lose their source of sexual pleasure and relief.
A significant biological disadvantage of intercourse for a woman, it the possibility of being impregnated. Her increased vulnerability and her presumed social responsibility to raise a child mean that she wants to know that she will have a mate to help her. Having a mate involves sexual loyalty. A man will not be loyal unless a woman offers regular sex. This is still true today and explains why women feel obliged to provide the sex men need.
The sexual techniques which marriage councils and marriage manuals recommend are designed to foster the sort of intellectual eroticism which the upper level esteems. It depends on prolonged pre-coital play, a considerable variety in techniques, a maximum of stimulation before coital union, some delay after effecting such union, and, finally, orgasm which is simultaneous for the male and the female. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)