What is outercourse?

Dear Alice,

In Free from pregnancy worries, you said partake in safer "outercourse" rather than intercourse. What exactly is "outercourse"?

Dear Reader,

Outercourse is lovemaking without penetration into a vagina or an anus. It allows a couple to be sexual, more intimate, and even orgasmic with one another without having sexual intercourse. With outercourse, no semen, vaginal fluids, or blood is shared between partners. As a result, outercourse protects against pregnancy and some sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Some outercourse pleasuring possibilities include hot talk, sexy stares, erotic fantasy, spicy role-plays, sensual massage, showering or bathing together, strip-tease, mutual masturbation, phone or e-mail sex, and dry sex (a.k.a., dry humping, or frottage).

Outercourse is useful:

  • When people choose to abstain from sex or are not ready for intercourse yet
  • If one partner doesn't feel like having intercourse
  • As another sexual option for partners who have already had intercourse
  • If a partner doesn't want to be penetrated (or do something that's penetrating)
  • If a partner is sore or has an infection
  • If people don't have condoms or any other birth control
  • If a woman partner has her period
  • Just for a change

Hope this answers your question.

Last updated Jul 15, 2015
Originally published May 14, 1999

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