How To Have Sex Without The Sex

Sex without the sex?

How does that work?

Woman with long dark hair looking confused about something

Sex typically means intercourse or penetration. Books, films and TV usually focus on the traditional “in-and-out”. We’re surrounded by a sexual culture saying this is the “normal” way to have sex.

But what if this type of sex doesn’t satisfy people?

Never fear!

Ashton Kutcher standing below a light that turns on as his face lights up

There are lots of different ways to explore physical intimacy without intercourse.


First things first: touching each other.

“Heavy petting” is a phrase that scrunches noses, but using your hands to explore a partner’s body is a great run-up or alternative to intercourse. This can be with clothes or without clothes. Perhaps starting with clothes and ending without them.

Jim Morrison from the band 'The Doors' singing

Touching each other can be incredibly intimate. Whether you’re in bed, in the bath or on the sofa, make sure that you’re comfortable and take turns exploring each other’s bodies.

Use all your senses, take your time on each part of your partner’s body, and enjoy each other!


This is non-penetrative sex, so it all takes place on the outside of your body.

Perhaps you want to stimulate each other, but don’t want to penetrate or be penetrated. Sometimes penetration can feel invasive.

Woman shaking her head in disagreement

So, outercourse! There are many different ways to have outercourse and perhaps there’ll be one (or more) positions that you and your partner(s) like.

Just remember to take it slow with new positions and check in with your partner(s) throughout.

Mutual Masturbation

Isn’t masturbation something done in the privacy of your own bedroom of an empty house?

Homer Simpson standing in an empty home

Not necessarily! It can be extremely intimate to see your partner(s) pleasure themselves.

Not only are they showing you exactly how they like to be touched (to be noted for later/another time), but they’re also trusting you with a very personal part of themselves.

Vice versa, it’s an opportunity to open up and show your partner(s) how you like to be touched.

Oral Sex

Rather than using your hands, you can use your lips and tongue to pleasure each other.

Oral sex is about using your mouth. It can be penetrative, but it doesn’t have to be!

Man licking a bowling bowl provocatively

Similarly to exploring each other with your hands, make sure you’re comfortable and get to know each other’s bodies in a different way.

Take your time and enjoy each other!

It may feel a little awkward or strange to initially explore these other ways to have sex. That’s okay! There’s no harm in having a giggle while you try things out with each other. Just make sure you keep those communication channels open.

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