While an appetizer before a meal isn’t a necessary stipulation, it’s a welcomed pre-meal practice that makes the whole dining experience a lot better. The same idea goes for foreplay before sex.

But how long should good foreplay last? Given that one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the median length of intercourse is a measly 5.4 minutes, adding some sexual mileage in the form of foreplay is becoming a more standard—and mutually appreciated—idea, especially as Westerners continue to steadily open up themselves to new sexual experiences.

Sexologist Lindsey DoeDeciding recently addressed the proper length of foreplay in a new episode of her video series wherein she marries her own sexual experiences with reputable research to teach the masses about sex.

In this episode (embedded below), Doe reveals that the average foreplay lasts about 13 minutes, yet the ideal is five minutes longer, at 18 minutes. She adds that, of the world’s population, the Brits clock the longest foreplay sessions, at a whopping 22 and a half minutes before they consider getting the penetrative show on the road.

Doe is also a firm believer that merely setting up for sex is an important form of foreplay, which she coins “choreplay.“ This include things like creating ambiance in the bedroom, walking the dog before you get started and so on. “It may just seem like preparation for sex, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be act one of sex theater,” she suggests.

Doe maintains that humor is arguably one of the best foreplay techniques, but insists that the most important technique of all is communication. Dirty talk doesn’t hurt either. But if you’re not comfortable with dirty talk or are unsure as to what it entails, the video references a very simple explanation from sex columnist Dan Savage, who says “dirty talk is simple: Describe what you’re going to do, describe what you are doing and describe what you just did.”

The video also takes a look at a dated, yet eerily relevant, study from 1948 conducted by none other than sexual pioneer Dr. Alfred Kinsey on the most common foreplay techniques. These, she hopes, can better help us determine which techniques we should introduce into our own choreography. Techniques ranked by popularity as are follows: Lip kissing (99.4 percent), hands on breasts (98 percent), hands on female genitals (95 percent), mouth on breasts (93 percent), hands on male genitals (91 percent), deep kissing (87 percent), cunnilingus (54 percent), fellacio (49 percent).

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the video is the fact that anything regarding sex has to meet some sort of preconceived format. Foreplay should last as long as you and your partner want it to, because hell, 18 minutes is a very long time to go before penetration actually takes place.

Sex is neither a marathon nore a sprint fellas. The idea that foreplay must lead to sex is another closed-minded belief, according to Doe. “Foreplay can be what’s important,” she urges. “It can be the sex.”

Just in case you’re still not sold on the importance of foreplay for whatever reason, additional research has found that building up to intercourse not only leads to longer sex, but results in stronger orgasms as well. Results found that both sexes reported that their orgasms were more pleasurable when there was a greater buildup of sexual arousal and desire beforehand.

If you’re looking for additional foreplay techniques to add to your sexual repertoire, here are some fun, off-the-cuff ideas to consider: Take a shower together, give each other a massage, throw some sex toys into the mix, give the other a strip tease or toss on some tunes. Most important, have fun.

Watch Doe’s episode here: