What is outercourse?

What is outercourse?

In general, the word outercourse refers to sexual activities that don’t involve penetration. However, the word can mean different things to different people.

For example, some couples define outercourse as any sexual activity that doesn’t involve penis-in-vagina penetration. But it might include oral sex or anal sex.

Other couples who practice outercourse may opt for no penetration of any kind. For them, oral sex and anal sex would not be included.

Overall, outercourse is whatever you and your partner decide it should be.

During outercourse, couples might kiss, caress, rub against each other, masturbate, or practice fellatio or cunnilingus. They might role play, act out sexual fantasies, and use sex toys, too.

People choose outercourse for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re not ready for intercourse.
  • Penetration is uncomfortable or not possible.
  • They want to lower their risks for unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • They want to add variety to their sexual activities.
  • They want to learn more about what excites their partner or themselves.

Even though outercourse does not involve penetration, partners can still spread STIs. Skin-to-skin contact, along with any contact with semen or vaginal fluids, can transmit bacteria and viruses that lead to STIs like herpes, chlamydia, HPV, and HIV. So it’s still important to use condoms and dental dams during outercourse. Any sex toys should be washed thoroughly before use.

While the likelihood of pregnancy is low during outercourse, it can still happen if semen comes in contact with the vagina or vulva. Couples who do not wish to become pregnant should use contraceptives.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have outercourse, and you and your partner can decide together what you would like to try. However, just like with intercourse, it’s important that each partner consent to the encounter and to the activities included. The use of condoms and dental dams should also be discussed so that the encounter can be as safe as possible.



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