Hello again, dear friend Anonymous. Welcome back to our sex talk column where readers submit questions, then we do our research and craft a story to answer as many questions as we can. We tapped Dr. Kate Balestrieri—licensed psychologist, certified sex and PACT couples therapist, and founder of Modern Intimacy in Los Angeles, California—to provide her (s)expert knowledge on steamy topics (like how to teach yourself to squirt, everything you need to know about edging and rocking, if nipple orgasms are real, ways to increase your libido, sex stage fright, and more). Today she’s taking the mic in our Ask Us Anything: The Sex Edition, to answer the latest submission. The topic? Outercourse.
I Need Some Tips for Enjoying Outercourse ... Can You Help?
“Penetrative sex can be great. Amazing, even. But centering your whole experience of sex around the idea of intercourse leaves a lot of pleasure potential untapped. Enter outercourse, the term most recently used as an alternative to the word foreplay, which supposes penetration (intercourse) as the main event during sex and everything else as a lead-up to it. However, sexual pleasure is so much more than penetration. Broadening the definition of sex creates more opportunities for sexual creativity, satisfaction, and connection, and may not include penetration at all.
“Sex without intercourse? Yes! Outercourse can include so many ways to be hot and can be intense on its own, or in addition to intercourse. It’s up to each set of partners to set the stage and boundaries together. Outercourse can include oral sex, stroking, kissing, nibbling, licking, spanking, tickling, massage, etc. Anything that involves pleasure without penetration is considered outercourse, but whether that includes the exclusion of penis to vagina penetration only, or the exclusion of the use of toys or fingers too is up to each person to define for themselves. The options with outercourse are limitless.”
So where to begin? Here are a few ideas to get started:
“Slow, sensual, and carnal touch is one of the most arousing forms of outercourse to create. So often, when intercourse is perceived as the main form of sex, the landscape of the body is left undiscovered. Using outercourse as an opportunity to explore each other’s erogenous terrain can set your skin ablaze with passion and pleasure. You might pay attention to the parts of your body that rarely get touched, such as the inner elbows, backs of knees, lower stomach, underarms, etc., and take time to use different pressures and kinds of touch to titillate each other’s senses. You may even consider using warm breath and/or sensual massage oils to augment the experience of touch, especially on each other’s genitals, to create a different way of stimulation.
Art of the Tease
“When was the last time you were epically teased? Truly, crawling out of your skin with anticipation and desire teased? Now is your chance. Building anticipation and then holding out on a partner can send their body into a state of torturous ecstasy. Teasing gives you a chance to build intensity to a breaking point that rarely disappoints. Edging, or bringing your partner closer and closer to orgasm and stopping just before they come, is the ultimate form of erotic teasing, and can be done without any penetration at all.
Get Your Kink On
“Outercourse is a phenomenal way to introduce or play with BDSM. Most of the scenes played out in BDSM do not involve penetration, and instead are about exchanging power and/or pain in the context of a fantasy. This is a great time to introduce a little bondage or spanking, blindfolding, or rope play. Consent, pre-play boundary setting, and after-care are a must to ensure a safe and mutually rewarding scene.
“Taking penetration out of the equation opens space for so many other kinds of play. Consider it an opportunity to up your oral sex game. Take your time with your lips, mouth, and tongue all over your partner’s body, and immerse yourself into stimulating their genitals. For partners with a penis, you might even consider using your mouth and tongue to stimulate their perineum, the space behind their testicles in front of their anus, which ultimately is a form of prostate play. If your partner has a vulva, outercourse is a great way to spend time learning about how their vulva and clitoris respond to different kinds of sucking, licking, and kissing. Oral sex is not just for genitals. The anus has a plethora of nerve endings and rimming can offer a whole new world of pleasure.
Open Your Mind
“No matter what forms of outercourse you choose to engage in, psychologically, the goal is to open your mind. Can you allow yourself to think about sex in new terms that do not focus on penetration? If not, what are your concerns? Fears? Too often, we get stuck on a rigid idea of what sex must include to be counted as sex or worth the effort. Redefining your definition of sex and creating the mental and emotional space for different dimensions of sexual pleasure can sometimes be the gift of outercourse, in and of itself.”
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