Sex Without Intercourse: A Hot Option for Lovers of All Ages

Vaginal intercourse is not necessary for peak erotic pleasure or orgasm.

Posted Sep 15, 2014

We live in a sexual culture overwhelmingly focused on intercourse. Sex in books, movies, and on TV is dominated by the old in-and-out. To many Americans “sex,” means intercourse.

But for many lovers, sex that revolves around intercourse is problematic:

• Only about 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic from it. If you doubt this statistic, see the exhaustive discussion in The Case of the Female Orgasm by Elizabeth Lloyd (Harvard University Press, 2005). Intercourse simply does not provide enough direct clitoral stimulation to allow most women to come.

• In addition, some women never produce much vaginal lubrication, which can make intercourse uncomfortable even with a lubricant. Then, starting soon after 40, as women begin the long transition to menopause, many more develop vaginal dryness that lube may not resolve, and eventually, the vaginal wall thins (vaginal atrophy), which can mean pain on intercourse.

• Meanwhile, after 40, many men’s erections become iffy, which can interfere with intercourse. As men age, an increasing proportion suffer balky erections. And then there’s erectile dysfunction. Viagra and the other erection drugs usually help, but not always. For around 30 percent of men, they don’t work very well if at all.

• Finally, many medical conditions can make intercourse difficult or impossible: diabetes, heart disease, sciatica, back pain, cancer treatment, etc.

As a result, the notion that sex equals intercourse leaves many couples frustrated. Fortunately, there’s an erotically fulfilling alternative—lovemaking without intercourse.

Welcome to Great Sex Without Intercourse

Sex without intercourse may sound disconcerting. It requires some effort, adjustments on the part of both lovers—and change is never easy, especially in erotic repertoire. But if you find intercourse problematic, sex without it allows hot, fulfilling lovemaking for life.

Once you get on board with sex sans intercourse, it’s pretty easy. It involves the same leisurely, playful, whole-body touching, caressing, and massage that sex therapists recommend to all lovers. But it eliminagtes vaginal intercourse, focusing instead on all the other ways couples can enjoy marvelous genital pleasure: hand massage (your own and/or your lover’s), oral sex, and sex toys, particularly vibrators and dildos for women, and penis sleeves for men.

For many couples, great sex without intercourse means experimenting, which can feel strange. But novelty is key to sexual zing. Doing things differently stimulates the brain to release dopamine, and dopamine heightens erotic intensity. In other words, if you adopt some new non-intercourse moves, lovemaking without intercourse can feel more pleasurable than ever.

Great Sex Without Intercourse—For Men

Hand-massage of the penis is a major part of sex without intercourse. But is your honey providing the caresses that really excite you? Many men find that being stroked by a lover isn’t as much of turn-on as their own masturbation routine.

In that case, the man can show the woman exactly how he likes to be stroked by demonstrating it for her. If you’ve never masturbated in the presence of a lover, this can feel awkward and embarrassing. But it serves three important functions. It clearly shows her which strokes turn you on the most. It helps her provide the most stimulating caresses. And it increases her confidence in her own erotic prowess and attractiveness.

Masturbating for a lover also deepens the couple’s intimacy. Intimacy is all about self-revelation, disclosing who you really are. What’s more self-revealing than displaying how you enjoy sex with yourself?

Fellatio is also a major component of great sex without intercourse. And guess what—men don’t need erections to enjoy it. They can derive great pleasure from oral sex even if only partially erect or even flaccid.

In addition, a firm erection is not necessary for ejaculation and orgasm. It’s quite possible for men to enjoy earth-moving orgasms with only partial erections or none at all—if they receive sufficient stimulation by hand, mouth, or sex toy.

Couples experimenting with sex without intercourse might also try penis sleeves, artificial vaginas or mouths that, when lubricated, feel remarkably close to the real thing. A man who can’t manage vaginal intercourse may be able to slide (or stuff) his penis into a sleeve. Penis sleeves, available from sex toy marketers, can be easily incorporated into partner lovemaking.

Great Sex Without Intercourse—For Women

This bears repeating: Only 25 percent of women are reliably orgasmic during intercourse. In other words, three-quarters of women need direct clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm.

Now it’s possible to provide direct clitoral stimulation during intercourse. In doggy style, the man can reach around. Or in the woman-on-top position, she can masturbate or he can place a fist on his abdomen and she can lean into it. But the way most couples make love, intercourse does not provide sufficient stimulation for women to enjoy orgasms, a big reason why sex without intercourse can feel so satisfying.

Meanwhile, for women who enjoy feeling filled up, dildos and phallic vibrators can be godsends. The woman can use them on herself with the man watching, or holding and gently caressing her. Or the woman can coach the man about how she likes things inserted. Most women prefer toys and their vaginas to be well lubricated before slow, gentle introduction. Or the man might use a strap-on dildo for more of an intercourse feel (see my recent post about playing with strap-ons). Sex toy marketers offer dildos, vibrators, and strap-ons.

Great Sex for Life

For those who think “sex” is the old in-and-out, it can be a challenge to discover the joys of great sex without intercourse. But lovemaking without intercourse can be a marvelous alternative for lovers of any age who have trouble doing it like they do in movies.

For individualized help coping with problematic intercourse or age-related sexual changes, consult a sex therapist. To find one near you, visit the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.

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