Outercourse

Lesbian couple on bed
Lesbian couple on bed. Tony Garcia/Image Source/Getty Images

Definition: Outercourse is a term that can be used to encompass a wide variety of sexual behaviors. It is often used to describe frottage, tribadism, or other types of sexual body rubbing that do not involve penetration.

In addition to sexual body rubbing, outercourse may also be used to describe the act of a male partner thrusting his penis to orgasm between his partner's thighs, breasts, butt cheeks, or other body parts as a simulation of intercourse.

Once again, the defining factor is the lack of penetration of the vagina, mouth, or anus. This type of behavior is sometimes referred to as "dry humping"

Finally, in some communities, outercourse can be used to describe any type of sexual act that does not involve vaginal penetration and thus carries little risk of pregnancy. For individuals who define the act of outercourse  solely in terms of pregnancy risk, outercourse may therefore include the possibility of oral and/or anal sex. However, most sex educators and sexuality professionals do not use the term in this manner.

Outercourse is Also Known As: body rubbing, frottage, tribadism, dry humping, non-penetrative sex

Examples: Some people use outercourse as a way to interact sexually with someone without a risk of pregnancy. However, although body rubbing is a relatively low risk activity, outercourse can still put you at risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases that spread from skin to skin.

Outercourse can be made safer with the use of condoms or other barriers. In addition, many of the activities that fall into the category of outercourse can be done with clothing on. Even naked, however, outercourse is a relatively safe activity. Skin infections can be transmitted, but compared to vaginal, oral, or anal sex, it's pretty low risk.

It's even used as a risk-reduction technique for individuals with HIV!

It's worth noting that, for some couples who practice abstinence (until marriage or just at some stage of their relationship), outercourse is a viable and fun sexual option. Body rubbing can potentially be fun and even lead to orgasm, without violating any religious strictures. That depends on the beliefs and practices in question, of course, but it can be a pleasurable activity for people whose sexual activities are restricted for religious or other reasons.

That said, before engaging in outercourse with a new partner, it's a good idea to negotiate your preferences and boundaries. Not everyone agrees on what outercourse is, so it's a good idea to be sure what both of you are interested in and agreeing to. Fully clothed frottage is a very different level of intimacy from simulated intercourse between the thighs, buttocks, or other body parts.

Sources:

Butler RB, Schultz JR, Forsberg AD, Brown LK, Parsons JT, King G, Kocik SM, Jarvis D, Schulz SL, Manco-Johnson M; CDC Adolescent HBIEP Study Group. Promoting safer sex among HIV-positive youth with haemophilia: theory, intervention, and outcome. Haemophilia. 2003 Mar;9(2):214-22.

Norman LR. The viability of outercourse for HIV prevention within the Puerto Rican context. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter;20(1 Suppl 1):S1-178-84. PubMed PMID: 20521411;

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