There are many ways to enjoy intimacy with a partner without having intercourse.
One is something I like to call “sex without sex.”
What is Sex Without Sex?
Essentially, sex without sex is the exploration of physical intimacy without intercourse/penetration. There are hundreds of ways to achieve gratification with your partner, but in our sex-obsessed society we’re often not exposed to these (sometimes ancient) practices.
Let’s Get Started
Tonight, ask your lover to name three things besides intercourse (i.e. penetration) that most thrills him/her.
Name three yourself.
When you next make love, focus on these three things, if only by paying closer attention to them as they occur. Luxuriate on them a little longer than you normally would. This is a great step toward developing greater intimacy.
It may seem odd to find a tip about abstinence in a collection about better sex. But this tip is so simple, you may have overlooked it as a possibility.
Stop having sex. Not forever, but for a set period of time. If you’re in a relationship, maybe a week will do. (Or, if a week seems like an unneccessary punishment, try three days. ) If you’re not currently with a regular partner, perhaps a month. (Don’t roll your eyes. I once went two years without partnered sex. Yes, by choice.)
During your time of abstinence time, concentrate on all events, activities, entities, etc. that give you pleasure: Favorite music, food, sunshine, snuggling in bed, taking an evening walk, a bath… Keep a journal if you’re so inclined.
At the end of the period, mentally place sex as one of these pleasures, in equal value. In other words, level out the playing field and put sex in perspective. Try to see it as beautiful as a sunset or a fine piece of chocolate.
In this way, you’ll have discovered more opportunities to experience bliss in your daily life.
The Third Date Myth
I don’t know how this idea that having sex on the third date became so popular that it has actually become dating etiquette, but it’s very damaging. Always trust your gut when it comes to whether or not to have sex with someone. Don’t ever use sex to keep a relationship going or because you fear losing someone’s interest. It debases you as well as the act of love itself.
Needing guidelines such as “The Third Date Rule” to negotiate interactions with other human beings presumes that we have lost contact with our instincts. Do not accept that. It is natural to be attracted to someone and natural not to. Listen to your body, listen to your heart.
Bonus Tip: Forget the “Wait Three Days Before Calling” rule, too. Here’s why: Picture a female bird in a tree singing for a mate. Now imagine there’s a male bird in the neighboring tree saying, “Yeah, I’ll call back in a few days. I don’t want to seem desperate.” Ridiculous, right? Go with nature. Be honest.
The practice of “heavy petting” probably conjures up an image of two teenagers grappling in the back of a steamy-windowed car. However, petting is a wonderful prelude or alternative to actual intercourse. Petting is defined as touching or rubbing against a partner’s body in a sexual manner, toward release.
There are, however, many variations on a theme as far a heavy petting is concerned. One of the most fun for long-time couples is to spend an evening petting instead of making love.
Begin as you normally would begin a lovemaking session, only this time, restrict yourselves from actually having intercourse. Knowing this ahead of time will make the petting session even more intense. Remember, there’s no rule against having an orgasm, just no penetration. See how creative you can get!
Bonus Tip (for the truly adventuresome and/or truly horny): Keep your clothes on.
Close your eyes. What does the bottom of your lover’s right foot look like? Don’t know? Have you ever seen it?
Time to fix all that.
Get naked together. Choose a place where you are most comfortable, either in bed, in a bath, or even lounging on the couch.
Take turns exploring each other’s body. For each place you touch, try to invest as many senses as you can in the action. For example, if you touch the small of your lover’s back, feel the hairs under your fingertips. Smell the scent of his/her skin. Taste it. What are the sensations you feel in your body as you do this?
Take your time on each area. Don’t rush! It may feel odd, but keep going. And it’s perfectly okay to laugh and have fun while you investigate each other.
Mutual masturbation is perhaps the most gratifying safe sex act ever discovered. It combines the thrill of voyeurism with the intimacy of seeing your lover in bliss.
Some couples may be averse to sharing such a private act, but I beg you to give it a try at least once. By sharing this act of pleasure, you drag it out of the dark of possible shame and into the light of a more connected state between the two of you.
Besides all that, it’s hot. Seriously.
Next time you’re both in the mood, try reading some erotic stories to each other. There are plenty of compilations of fine erotica to be found in any bookstore. Find a collection you both will enjoy. Choose one story apiece, and read it out loud to your lover.
Bonus Tip: Both of you can get naked for story time. Don’t allow your lover to touch you as you read. Make sure you get through the whole story!
Once you’ve elected to abstain from sex for a period of time—whether it’s until marriage or just for the purpose of taking a break from sex in order to explore deeper connections with your partner—sex without sex offers a vast and exciting world of possibility.
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Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Fran Watson at Pixoto
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