Yes, having sex without “having sex” is a thing. You may have come across it on the Internet or in person. You may see it in people’s dating profiles of sexual preferences, or find out about it on a date discussing the possibilities of hooking up.
Everyone has non-penetrative sex on occasion. We tend to see it as a temporary concession, a stop on the way to the “real thing.” But for many people, it is the thing.
There are a surprising number of reasons that some people prefer non-penetrative sex. Here are a few.
Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right
Some people are saving intercourse for marriage or for a committed relationship. Even though many of these people won’t hop into bed at all, some acknowledge that they are sexual beings who enjoy sex but are saving the official act for the future.
Making a political statement.
Some but not all of this movement is politically motivated. On the most extreme end of this is the radical feminist belief that all guy-on-girl penetration sex is rape. Others say it’s the invention of the patriarchy, because it gets men off, but women orgasm differently.
A very few subscribe to neither of these, but want to defy biology and outsmart nature. Or they want to avoid “heteronormative” sex because they believe its mere existence is hateful of others.
Having sex is impossible.
Some people are unable to have penetrative sex, so they have created a sexual life for themselves that isn’t focused on the fucking part. Some women have a rare but real condition called vulvodynia where the opening of of vagina is extremely painful. Instead of trying over and over and having anxiety and pain and disappointment, they live by their own rules.
Having intercourse is not really on the menu.
Some guys have a micropenis, a condition they are born with where the penis might be an inch or two long. Rather than denying themselves the joy of sex, they participate fully without emphasizing penetration.
These folks can enjoy penetration through dildo play, strap-ons, and fingering. Most do, but some don’t.
Having no sex is the safest sex.
Though most STIs and even unplanned pregnancy can be spread without actual intercourse, avoiding vaginal and anal penetration greatly reduces the risks. For some folks, it just makes sense to skip the worries.
Avoiding sex is its own thrill.
What? Okay, I’ll be the first to say no way to the notion that penis-in-vagina sex is not feminist. I have no problem with the obvious—that heteronormative sex is deeply fulfilling to me at every level. That doesn’t mean I don’t love eating pussy too, or that I dismiss gay desire or other ways of fucking.
That said, it’s also true that once you get to that stage, it takes center stage. When you won’t or can’t—you’re still waiting, you’ve got your period, whatever—you use your imagination, you make out longer, you get higher and hornier.
I love a good pounding before I rush out the door to work, but sometimes with familiar lovers I wish we could bring back the unhurried exploring heydays. You can get so worked up before you even take off your pants with a new partner. Non-penetrative sex is a way of keeping sex in that place of imagination indefinitely. And that is hot.
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