Everything You Need To Know About Outercourse
When we think of sex, we often imagine penetrative sex being the end-all be-all to the point that the terms ‘sex’ and ‘intercourse’ are often used interchangeably. Contrary to popular belief, intercourse isn’t the only way to experience pleasure. Sometimes, the best sex doesn’t have to involve intercourse at all. The phrase “outercourse” describes sexual activity that is neither intercourse nor involves penetration. Kissing, oral sex, touching, erotic massage, talking about fantasies and the use of sex toys are just a few examples. Here’s a look into this practice.
But first, what is sex?
The concept of outercourse seeming ‘weird’ or ‘non-conventional’ poses a question – what is sex really about? If sex is strictly vaginal sex, then that nullifies the extent of outercourse being considered sex. Although the question may appear simple and the logic that supports it problematic in a similar manner, it should not come as a surprise that one kind of sex is prioritised and seen as the “legitimate” form of sexual expression.
Our cultural imaginations and depictions of sex, including, predictably, queer sex, continue to be strongly heteronormative as of right now. The definition is frequently restricted to P-in-V (penis in vagina) or P-in-A (penis in anus) sexual experiences. Many people believe that when penetration begins, sex officially begins, and the remainder is foreplay. This makes it seem like the activities preceding intercourse are not on par with intercourse itself, even though that is not the case. In many cases, especially for people with vaginas, intercourse is often not as pleasurable (clitoral stimulation has mostly been stated as the way to orgasm instead of penetrative sex by many) and hence they may prefer outercourse.
The rise of outercourse
According to Carol Queen, author of Exhibitionism for the Shy and a Good Vibrations sexologist, the phrase was created in the 1980s when “safer sex” gained popularity. According to Queen, the intention was to “help people distinguish between intercourse and all the sexy things that can be experienced without penetration.”
According to Tyomi Morgan, a professional sexologist and pleasure coach, the specifics of what this entails vary depending on each person’s boundaries. Some people believe that everything except penis in the vagina counts as outercourse. Others forbid all forms of penetration, including sex toys, anal sex, and penetration with fingers.
Additionally, outercourse might cause orgasm and intense arousal. You can actually have a lot more pleasure than you might expect if you focus on it and purposefully take penetration out of the picture. Which leads us to the next question.
What is the difference between foreplay and outercourse?
Although the two phrases can be used interchangeably, Queen says: “I am not wild with the term ‘foreplay,’ since it indicates that you are doing activities that precede the true main event.” However, Queen notes that many people enjoy wonderful sex without ever engaging in physical contact. “Penetration is not the definition of sex; it is an option.”
Instead of calling a sexual act “foreplay,” it is implied that it can begin and end as outercourse by using the term “outercourse.” There is nothing that must come before it or after it. Outercourse is hence also used by many couples as a form of birth control. Those who do not wish to risk pregnancies, often find outercourse as a satisfying alternative in order to sexually engage with their partners.
If you are unsure about why you should try outercourse, here are some facts that may help you with changing your mind –
o Since many BDSM and role-playing sessions do not actually include penetration, you can get quite sexy. Consider using whips, floggers, shackles, and blindfolds.
o You do not want to engage in penetrative sex for whatever reason (maybe you find it uncomfortable, perhaps you do not feel comfortable doing it while you are on your period, perhaps you are more likely to get an orgasm via clitoral action, etc.).
o Without the use of barrier or contractive techniques, pregnancy can be avoided.
o If your partner has trouble keeping an erection, you can extend the session.
o You experience painful sex as a result of endometriosis, vaginismus, fibroids, or scarring (physical and mental) from past sexual trauma.
But what about STIs? Should I be worried about them?
Good news: Outercourse frequently carries a lower risk than all other types of intercourse (especially where STI transmission is concerned). Touch is frequently much safer since your outer skin is less absorbent than the “mucosal tissue”—the skin that lines your mouth, vagina, and anus. Nevertheless, there are hazards associated with outercourse.
When you engage in oral intercourse, the mucosal tissue exposes you to any potential contaminants that your partner may be carrying (like STIs). Make careful to discuss when you last had testing in advance. In general, it is a good idea to use barrier measures for some types of outercourse. For instance, using condoms during anal sex or dental dams during oral sex.
Modern day understanding of what sex entails is quite warped. The fact that we consider usually consider intercourse to be ‘real’ sex clearly reflects an underlying bias in our society – what is pleasurable for the cisgender heterosexual man is what sex should entail. It is for the cisgender heterosexual man that penetrative sex is usually the most enjoyable. Only about 1/3 of women climax via intercourse alone. And thus, outercourse becomes even more important for them. It is time we change our perceptions about sex is, move on from dominant patriarchal views of sex and realise this – “Penetration is an option, not the definition of sex.”