21 Ways to get close through nonsexual foreplay


It’s no secret that foreplay is the intimate behavior that comes before getting busy. Many believe foreplay is what happens just minutes before sex. But, the art of foreplay is that it starts long before you even think about sex⸻even hours prior. 

There are multiple types of good foreplay. That said, the foreplay we’re talking about is nonsexual foreplay which helps establish a connection with your partner, keep the emotions alive, and show each other the meaning of your relationship. Everyone has busy lives that may cause relationships to be less of a priority at times. Nonsexual foreplay helps avoid fading feelings and relationship ruts. 

There’s no right or wrong way to engage in nonsexual foreplay because what turns one person on may differ from another.

Read on for 21 nonsexual foreplay ideas for you and your partner to grow closer together and enjoy sex.  

1. Forehead and cheek kisses

There’s something sweet and sensual about forehead and cheek kisses, and they’re just enough to send your insides tingling. To show some surprise affection, sneak in a forehead or cheek kiss when your partner least expects it ⸻when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or when they're in the middle of cooking dinner. Use some chapstick, so your lips are moist and soft. Chances are, your partner will respond well to these kisses.

2. Body rubs

Light touches or tender rubs can be enough to send a surge of excitement through your body. Whether it's a short back rub while binge-watching your favorite show or a light thigh rub while driving in the car, you can use body rubs to fuel the passion between you two. 

3. Aromatic massage

Physical touch like massaging can quickly lead to sex. Rubbing a good smelling lotion on your lover’s hands or feet can supercharge their emotions and get you both closer to lovemaking. If your partner isn’t into massages, you can hold them close to you instead. 

4. Offering your full attention

Putting down your device can make a huge difference in how well you and your partner interact with one another. With devices constantly vying for your attention, it can be hard to intentionally spend distraction-free time with that special person in your life. Take time to pay attention to your significant other to remind them of their value. 

5. Intimate eye contact

Direct eye gazing isn’t something we often think about doing since eye contact tends to happen naturally. Intimate eye contact helps your partner feel they can trust you. Try thinking about your partner's best qualities as you gaze to avoid feeling weird or awkward. 

6. Gentle whispering

A gentle whisper can be a sexy act that requires zero touching. Whisper in their ear the things you want to explore with them or how you make them feel. It helps to make sure your breath is fresh before engaging with your partner. 

7. The 5-second kiss

Life gets busy, and sometimes giving a quick peck while you’re on your way out the door is the best way to communicate your feelings to your partner. A five-second goodbye kiss is enough to stir up some emotions that may have you both planning to return home from work early.

8. Give a lingering hug

An easy way to grow in intimacy is to hug your partner for a long time. Those warm fuzzy feelings may show up, causing you and your lover never to want to let go. Life can be stressful, and a lingering hug can be just the reminder you need that you’re not going through it alone. 

9. Cuddle

If playing little spoon or big spoon has grown dull,  switch things up by trying a new cuddle position. There’s the sweetheart cradle or the honeymoon hug, for example. Try different positions until you find one you both feel mutual comfort. Reignite your emotional connection through cuddling. 

10. Holding hands 

A 2020 study found that holding hands during fights helped with better communication between romantic couples (source). Imagine what holding hands can do when you’re not upset with one another. Holding hands is easy to do anywhere and at any time, and the physical act of holding hands helps couples feel connected and secure.

11. Play games

A game-themed date night can be just what you and your love might need to increase your fondness for one another and enjoy some laughs together. Playing games can bring out parts of you your partner maybe hasn’t seen before, and it can help you both learn more about each other. Keep things interesting, romantic, and fun by playing games.

12. Leave notes

It doesn’t take much thought or effort to reassure your partner of how much they mean to you. In just five minutes or less, you can write a short and sweet message to your partner and leave it where they’ll see it⸺on their car, in their home office, or on their morning coffee mug.

13. Send loving texts

To deepen intimacy, text your partner a special memory of the two of you together. Send a song that reminds you of them or expresses the things you wish you were doing with them. 

14. Feed each other 

In many cases, sharing things starts to become second nature when you’re in a relationship with someone. Sharing a side of fries or the taco special you like to order is a way to show sacrificial love to your mate. You can take things up a notch and keep things hot and fresh by providing your partner a taste of delicious food or a lick of whipped dessert from your finger. 

15. Footplay

A little under the table foot play during meals can keep you both smiling. Playing footsie makes dinner at home fun,  flirty, and may help guarantee dessert!

16. Surprise them with something small

It doesn’t take a surprise trip to Tulum to get closer to your partner (though it helps big time). Think about your partner’s favorite things and gift them something special. It might be creating a new Spotify playlist, getting a new plant, surprising them with coffee, or cleaning out their car.

17. Provide affirmations

To make this natural and meaningful, think of a recent example of something positive they did and how it helped you. You can also remind them of something they’re good at. Use your words to make your partner feel like the best person on the planet. 

18. Sit on their lap

Lap sitting can be a cute romantic gesture that quickly captures attention, brings comfort, and reconfirms interest. It can be the tease that leads to more nonsexual foreplay like hugging and cuddling. 

19. Dance together

Having fun with your partner increases intimacy. What’s more fun than dancing together? It doesn’t matter if you have no rhythm; dancing together is a nonsexual foreplay activity that draws you close and creates a great time. 

20. Touch foreheads together

Coming together to forehead touch is one of the most intimate nonsexual foreplay acts that require no words. It’s a gentle and sensual reminder that you’re into each other and support one another. 

21. Share a drink 

Open up a bottle of bido for you and your partner to enjoy together for greater intimacy by keeping you both happy, healthy, and horny. bido beverages are natural foreplay-friendly drinks you can share as a couple to support your physical, mental, and emotional health needs. 



Gaby McPherson MS, RDN, LDN

Gaby is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in evidence-based health, nutrition, and wellness articles, as well as creating engaging content for health brands. Her clients have been Healthline, Ovia Health, Happiest Baby, Once Upon a Farm, EatingWell, and more. She’s very passionate about reproductive and family health. When she’s not writing, Gaby spends her free time dancing to the Encanto soundtrack with her beautiful preschooler.