In human sexual behaviour, foreplay is physical intimacy at the beginning of a sexual encounter that serves to build up sexual arousal, sometimes in preparation for sexual intercourse or another act meant to bring about orgasm.
Foreplay varies between cultures. Some acts which may be considered foreplay may include kissing (especially French kissing), petting and stroking, touching of the genitals and mutual masturbation, oral sex, and sexual roleplaying, fetish activities, or BDSM.
Because of common female arousal patterns (inherent, cultural, or personal historical), foreplay of some kind is often the primary method of increasing arousal enough to get to orgasm. Feminism, and assorted comedians and would-be comedians, have used this difference from male arousal patterns (much quicker in most situations) to make points. Feminist theory to find another instance of unreasonable and unacceptable male attitude and behaviour, and the comedians for laughter.