Penetration during sex is great — but it’s not everything. If you want to mix it up, you should be empowered to explore all kinds of ways to explore intimacy that don’t involve penetration with your partner whenever you want. The more you experiment and open yourself up to new experiences, the more satisfying your sex life will be, and the more intimate you will become with your partner.
Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast, agrees. "You certainly don’t require penetration to achieve pleasure or intimacy, and research reveals that sex is more fulfilling when you engage in a wider variety of activities," O'Reilly tells Elite Daily. "Data suggests that approximately one-third of women report reaching orgasm consistently via vaginal penetration alone, so it makes sense that we’d seek out and celebrate alternatives." So, it follows that "once you discover what takes you over the edge, you’re unlikely to view them as alternatives and instead define other activities as 'sex' itself. This is why the definition of sex varies from person to person."
If it just so happens that you're in the mood to try out some new alternatives to, ahem, "celebrate," here are a few ideas the experts suggest you try with your partner... tonight.
1. Have A Make Out Sesh
Want to try something really intimate with bae? Sex therapist Stefani Threadgill suggests getting back to basics with an old-school makeout sesh. “My patients tell me often how hot it is to make out like they used to,” Threadgill tells Elite Daily. “The sexual tension of taking sex off the table often lowers anxiety and creates anticipation for more.”
2. Give Each Other An Erotic Massage
If you're craving something a bit more sensual and full-on, Threadgill says to give each other an erotic massage because it forces you to slow down and “allows you to explore new and undiscovered erogenous zones.”
“Touch the entire body for pleasure and move slowly," O'Reilly suggests. "Use the backs of your hands, your breath, lips, tongue and any props (e.g. lube, oils, feathers).” She also suggests using your breath to build the anticipation and “bring your lips as close to the surface of their skin as possible and breath gentle kisses over their collarbone, neck, inner thighs, etc.”
3. Play With A Toy
If there's one thing intimate, consensual sexual behavior should be, it’s fun. And what's more fun than playing with toys? “Women who engage in a variety of sexual behaviors (including the use of sex toys) report higher levels of sexual satisfaction and are more likely to orgasm,” O'Reilly says. Also, by bringing toys in to the bedroom, you have the added benefits of “self-discovery, an expansion of sexual repertoire, and increased opportunities for communication with your partner. Something as simple as a sex toy or book can spark conversations you never thought you'd have.” Sounds pretty intimate to me.
4. Share Your Fantasies
One of the most intimate things you can do with a partner in the bedroom doesn't even require touch, and that’s sharing your fantasies. That's because “sharing sexual fantasies involves using your imagination and creates feelings of novelty and adventure that often lead to increased desire,” explains Threadgill.
If this is something you want to explore with your partner but don't know where to start, O’Reilly suggests that you start by talking about “the sex scenes you see on TV and in the movies.” She suggests describing the scenes and asking, “What do you like?” and “What turns you off?”
“It’s often easier to talk about other people’s sexual interactions than our own, but you can still gain important insights from these conversations," she says.
5. Stick To Oral Sex
When it comes to oral sex, O'Reilly suggests learning to be "both a giver and a taker so that you can both enjoy the pleasures of tongue, lip, finger, and facial play." She says it's a great way to help each partner be in the moment and focus on enjoying the experience more holistically because, “research shows that the orgasm gap declines with age, but many of us still need a reminder that sex is generally more satisfying when we see it as an experience as opposed to a performance — so you need to learn to receive pleasure too. We are inundated with messages touting the value of being good in bed, but we don’t receive similar messages about the value of receiving pleasure.” Oral sex can allow both partners to make both giving and receiving pleasure a priority, something O’Reilly says will help you “find that sex is both more frequent and satisfying for both you and your partner.”
When it comes to penetrative sex, it really is all about following your bliss. Just remember that there's a lot more out there to explore. The same goes for those who aren't interested in penetration. With so many ways to be intimate with the people you care about, you aren’t missing out on a thing.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!