Outercourse: Non-Penetrative Play

It seems like a lot of times, conversations about sex revolve around penetration. But what if you or your partner don’t have a penis? Or what if you or your partner have a penis but don’t want to utilize it? If that’s the case, we’d like to introduce you to outercourse. 

What is Outercourse?

Yes, it’s a real thing. Healthline explains that outercourse can mean, “everything except penis-in-vagina (PIV) penetration” or it could mean “no penetration of any kind, including fingers, sex toys, and anal sex.”

Outercourse, as we are choosing to explain and explore in this post, is sexual contact that intentionally involves no penetration between people who would otherwise incorporate penetration into their sexual activity. 

We’d also like to give the disclaimer that sex looks different for everyone. Sex is subjective, and something that can be tailored to your and your partner’s needs. There does not have to be penetration with a phallic object or penetration of any kind in order to make sex between you and your partner valid.

Who Can Participate in Outercourse?

If you’re not totally ready to have penetrative sex or want to have direct genital stimulation, but still want to find a way to be intimate with your partner, this is a great option. Outercourse is an excellent launch point for people who are new to sex. 

It’s also a great way to reconnect intimately with your partner. Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees. Sex is just as much a mental act as it is a physical act. Outercourse can help you not only become more introspective of your own sexuality, but also more in tune with your partner’s particular quirks. 

We always recommend that you discuss your partner’s sexual health and history before becoming intimate, but sometimes there isn’t a right time to have that conversation. Outercourse is a reliable way to avoid pregnancy or the spread of STIs as long as you don’t come into contact with sexual fluids or engage in genital-to-genital contact. You can eat your cake and have it, too, pregnancy and STI free.

(Psst: always clean your sex toys before and after all uses even if you are not directly in contact your partner's genitals and/or fluid during outercourse play because bacteria can remain on your toys long after use, potentially transmitting an infection.)

How Do You Have Outercourse?

There is no wrong way to go about outercourse. We’ve outlined some ways you and your partner can have fun with each other, without penetrating each other, below. 

When you decide you want to try outercourse for yourself, lay out your expectations and some ground rules with your partner beforehand. Like we’ve said before, not everyone’s idea o sex is the same so you want to be on the same page as your partner when you decide to take penetration out of the equation.

Try Mutual Masterbation:

Like we explain in this blog post, mutual masterbation is when you and your partner both perform the act of masterbation while in each other’s presence. You can do this simultaneously, or take turns with one watching while the other performs. 

Aside from the physical pleasure you will receive, you’re also part of a voyeuristic act. Knowing that you’re being watched, that someone is viewing you with sexual desire, can increase your own enjoyment of the act.

Try Non-Penetrative Sex Toys:

External stimulation with the fingers out tongue are great contact options for outercourse. But if you want to spice up your handjob, try incorporating a masturbator. A masturbaotr is a sex toy inteded to be used by a penis owner, meant to mimic the act of mastubating. Using one during a handjob will create more complex sensations for your partner to enjoy.

We recommend something like the Tenga Hard Gel Egg. It’s inside is textured to add an extra layer of pleasure. Add some lube, and use it paired with your bare hand. 

For vulva owners, some styles of vibrators provide wonderful sensations exclusively to the exterior gential area. We recommend clit-specific vibrators, like wand, bullet, or clitorial-stimmulator styles. 

Satisfyer is a pioneer in clitoral stimulation toys. Using air-current technology, their unique products stimulate the clit with intense pulsations. The Satisfyer Pro 2 also comes with a vibrating feature for some extra oomph. 

A bullet vibe like the Rose 2 by Vush can be enjoyed by anyone, either as a warm up or some auxiliary support for the main act. This tiny but mighty vibrator packs a powerful punch that can be incorporated into any activity. Try stimulating your partner with it, either by itself or in addition to something else. 

Talk With Your Partner.

Paint them a picture of your favorite fantasy with your words. Homegrown, personalized erotica can be very hot. Discuss in vivid detail something you’ve always wanted to try, or something you want to try again.

Not only is this titillating for you and your partner both, but it’s also a great way to start a conversation about something you would enjoy trying. By framing it as not only a fantasy, but also making it part of something they are currently enjoying will only make both experiences more appealing. 

Get Your Grind On.

Grinding. . . dry humping. . . whatever you want to call it, it’s fun. It’s a great way to take your make out sesh to the next level without proceeding to all out sex.

Try an At-Home Couple’s Massage.

Skin on skin contact meant to elicit physical pleasure. . . that doesn’t involve the genitals. Give your partner a thorough, full-body rub down. You can do this with just your bare hands, but we recommend some kind of massage oil for a little extra lubrication, which is always a good thing. 

This one by Exsens of Paris also has warming technology that’s activated by skin to skin (or skin to mouth!) contact, so things are certain to heat up once you get going. 

Get Kinky!

Kink doesn’t always involve sex. Kink runs the gamut from sexual restraints to power-exchanges. Explore any kinks you have, be that a humiliation kink or an objectification kink. Anything is on the table. 

However, if you want to get physical, activities like spanking can also be very sexual without involving any kind of sex. 

Whatever you do, or whatever you want to try, feel free to get creative. Other than practicing safe sex and always having consent, sex doesn’t have any rules. It can be whatever you want it to be. Experiment as much as you like, and you’re guaranteed to find something that rubs you the right way.