Boobs! Not just for foreplay anymore

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend has suggested "tit sex" as an alternative to intercourse, which we want to wait a while to go ahead and do. I want to know, what exactly is "tit sex" and how do you do it? Will it hurt?

Dear Reader,

One of the most enjoyable (although sometimes confusing) things about sex is the variety of ways to be intimate with a partner. "Tit sex" also known as "breast sex," a "tit wank," a "tug job," or the more formal "mammary intercourse," is a form of outercourse, or sex without penetration. During breast sex, the penis is placed between the breasts and then rubbed back and forth for stimulation. Breast sex is not usually painful, but couples sometimes use lubrication for more pleasure and to minimize any discomfort caused by chafing. As your boyfriend suggested, breast sex may be an enjoyable and generally low-risk alternative to intercourse, especially if you're trying to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

However, even breast sex can have risks. Some STIs (like herpes and pubic lice) can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Also, if your boyfriend ejaculates near your face, it's possible that some of his semen may get into your eye, which could transmit an infection or cause irritation. If you're not keen on getting a pool of semen on your face or chest (also known as a "pearl necklace"), you might want to have some tissues or a towel handy.

Another consideration is that breast sex is often combined with oral sex, where a partner will orally stimulate the head of the penis while continuing to squeeze and rub the shaft between the breasts. To protect against STIs, you might want to take a few precautions like using a condom and being tested for STIs before launching into mammary humping or any other sexual pleasures.

Before experimenting with breast sex (or any new sexual foray), you might also want to think about your own sexual preferences and boundaries, and then talk with your partner. For example, where and how do you like to be touched? Does breast fondling turn you on? Are you comfortable getting up close and personal with your boyfriend's penis?

Breast sex can be a safe and titillating addition to a couple's sexual repertoire. Just remember to keep the lines of communication open and protect yourself and your partner. If you decide that breast sex is not for you or you want to explore other options first, there are plenty of satisfying alternatives to intercourse such as passionate kissing, full body massage, partner masturbation, and dry humping. To get your creative juices flowing, check out the related Q&As.

Last updated May 31, 2015
Originally published Oct 16, 2008

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