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Non-penetrative sex activities you might have not tried

I know you might have heard it before, but sex is not just about intercourse. Growing up, there was always pressure to “go with the flow” or “put out” in conversations about sex. I personally resent the lack of options and agency given by this belief. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy your sexuality and get intimate with your partner that don't involve penetration. These non-penetrative sexual activities can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of gender identity, which is a big plus in my book!

Hand play

Two hands belonging to different people are pictured on the image, they're holding onto a paper heart

Otherwise known as “manual sex” is a great and safe way to get comfortable with a new partner or to explore new things with a long-term partner. It can be as light as sensual massages and petting, or more direct like nipple play and masturbation. While some people might think of it as “just foreplay”, hand play can actually feel fully satisfactory in and of itself.

Maybe you don’t have too much time or space, maybe you don’t feel ready to go further, or you just want to understand what buttons to push to make your partner reach climax. Any and all reasons are valid if you want to focus on this type of sex.

Oral sex

A person's face is being gently cradled by a male hand, the left thumb is hovering over the other person's lips.

Many people agree that oral sex can be a highly pleasurable experience for them, regardless of their position as giver or receiver. Whether it is cunnilingus, anilingus or fellatio, it gives folks the option to be the receivers of attention without having to worry about staying in sync with the other person’s movements.

For the giver, it can be extremely enjoyable to make the experience a pleasurable one for their partner and have the front view to their reactions. The mouth and tongue are sensitive and capable of providing a variety of sensations that can feel incredibly enjoyable, so it makes perfect sense to put them to good use. Physicality aside, the dynamics of it can heighten your senses and contribute to an improved sexual life!

As with any other sexual activity, hygiene and safety are things to consider. Make sure you’ve brushed your teeth and you and your partner have been tested. If that’s not the case, you might want to rely on dental dams or condoms.

Toys and vibrators

A person is pictures taking a bubble bath, their hand holds a purple vibrator next to their kneecap

Using sex toys can be seen as hand play 2.0. They come in all shapes, sizes, materials and colors—there's no limit to what you can do with them!

I’d like to highlight vibrators specifically for people who don’t enjoy penetrative sex or who don’t have an interest in it!

When people think of sex toys, the mental image might be of dildos or any sort of phallic toy since they’re the more traditional option for beginners. Variety in modern vibrators is pretty recent, with pretty creative shapes and functions available in storefronts or online retailers. As they stimulate through vibrations, they can be very versatile and you can use them for any sensitive external areas.

What types of toys/vibrators should you use? The best way to figure out which kind of sex toy will work best for your needs is by doing some research online or asking friends who own similar products which ones they recommend most based on their experiences.

Kink play

Two women in black lace lingerie lie on a bad, their wrists are joined by the same set of handcuffs and one of them is holding a rose.

Kink play is a broad term that can include bondage, power dynamics, and many other types of role play. It can be helpful when people want to explore themselves and connect with a partner in a deeper way.

It’s something that should be discussed beforehand and continuously during the act itself, whatever it may be. The benefits it offers to folks who don’t wish to partake in penetrative sex are that they get to experience arousal in their own terms and under guidelines of their own making.

It’s perfectly possible to add more spice to your sex life without forcing yourself to go through something you don’t enjoy, so tread at your own pace and make sure to research any questions you may have before dipping your toes into new experiences!

Benefits to non-penetrative sex

A couple sits together on a bed while they hold hands, their position is romantic

There are many benefits to engaging in non-penetrative sex activities, both for individuals and for couples. Some of the potential benefits include:

  • Increased physical pleasure: they can provide a different type and intensity of physical pleasure than traditional sex and can be a good option for people who find penetrative sex uncomfortable or painful.
  • Greater emotional intimacy: Engaging in non-penetrative sex activities can help couples think outside the box, build trust, communication, and intimacy, and can allow them to express their love and affection in new and different ways.
  • Increased sexual variety and excitement: non-penetrative sex activities can add variety and excitement to a couple's sex life, and can help prevent boredom or routine. After all, it’s easier to be spontaneous while keeping it simple!
  • Better sexual health: they can be a good option for folks who worry about unsafe sexual contacts as they can help reduce the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancies. They’re also a great option for people who are not in monogamous relationships.
  • Increased sexual autonomy and agency (a personal favorite): Non-PIV sex activities can provide individuals with more control and autonomy over their own sexual experiences, and can allow them to explore and express their sexuality in a way that is true to their own desires and needs.

In conclusion, there are many ways to explore your sexuality solo or be intimate with your partners without involving intercourse. Some people may think that this type of sex is not as “complete” as PIV sex, but the truth is that it can be just as satisfying and enjoyable if done right!

If you're looking for something different in the bedroom that might be a best fit for you then try out some of these activities!

Please note that the information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The author of this blog is not a medical professional and the information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice.