Say the word "sex" to a lot of people and they'll automatically imagine penetration: Putting a peen into a vageen, or a butthole. But penises aren't moles that have to permanently live in holes. Vaginas aren't hot dog buns that are pointless without a sausage inside them. And sex isn't a prize draw: No-one has to be entered for there to be winners.
You can have an incredibly hot, intimate, mutually satisfying night in without putting anything in anyone. So, here are some fresh suggestions on how to have OMG-so-damn-good sex without thrusting a P into a V or a B.
"'Kunyaza' is a practice that's been exercised for hundreds of years between heterosexual couples in central Africa," says owner of the Whores of Yore sexual history hub, Dr. Kate Lister.
"During kunyaza, the man rhythmically and firmly strikes the clitoral glands with his erect penis. As the woman becomes more aroused and the vulva starts to swell, he rubs his penis from the top to the bottom of the vulva, then left to right, and then in a zigzagging motion—always returning to strike the clitoris after each rotation. Finally, as the woman is brought close to orgasm, he simultaneously stimulates the whole vulvar area using long strokes...but never penetrating. The technique itself may sound deceptively simple, but kunyaza literally means 'to make urinate,' or 'to make squirt.'"
Use non-penetrating toys.
Tenga eggs are soft, stretchy, squishy hollow ovals with a hole at the bottom. You pour a little lube into the hole, pop them over the end of a guy's wang, then use them to give him a hella good hand job—each one has a different texture inside it, to caress him in different ways.
These aren't just toys for the boys, either. Try flipping one inside out over your fingers, and using it to stroke the clitoris and labia, again with lashings of lube.
Make the most out of the perineum.
The perineum is the fleshy part between a guy's balls and anus, and it's full of nerve endings. "It also hardens as he does," explains Topher Taylor of Clonezone gay guys' sex shop. "The perineum graduates from soft, to firm and back—which gives you a plump area to rub, tug, and massage. I find that stimulation using your tongue and your knuckles works well."
With him lying on his back, try holding the first and middle fingers of your dominant hand as though you're flicking the Vs at his genitals, then pushing those knuckles either side of his perineum, gripping against the firm flesh, and rubbing up and down while licking the surrounding areas.
The perineum responds well to moisture, pressure, and temperature. Try pressing against it with a heavy, ribbed stainless steel dildo that's been chilled in the fridge or submerged in warm water.
Lay back and relax.
Sarah Berry, a sex and relationships therapist, suggests a variety of exercises that don't focus on the foof. But says they're also beneficial for couples who find it hard to pause in their busy lives, or who are struggling to get aroused, especially if they feel pressure to perform sexually. They're spot-on for simply switching up your routine, too.
"Get some finger food—no pun intended!—and some booze or decadent non-alcoholic fizz, put on some music and sit opposite each other on the bed in comfy undies or robes," Sarah says. "Mix up chatting and snacking with touching, stroking, kissing, and masturbating if the mood takes you." If your bedroom has accidentally become a place that's centered around frantic fucking and insomniac fretting, this helps rebrand it as a space for chilled thrills too.
Another good reason to savor some languid afternoon loveliness? Fumbling and bumbling around in the pitch black means sex is likely to be a more clumsy, less fulfilling and bonding experience, but if getting nude and lewd with the bulbs blazing seems too intimidating, cozy semi-clothed cuddles in the daylight are a positive lower-stress step.
Layer your lubes.
According to The Vaginismus Network, "Pain-free penetration (if you want it) may be the physical end goal of vaginismus treatment. But in the meantime, if you want to have a sex life, you have to embrace other options. Vaginismus forces you to be creative in the bedroom, and actually has the potential to deepen the connection between you and your partner because you can't just 'have a quickie'—you have to put a bit of effort in. Also, because vaginismus is often rooted in anxiety, fear, and shame, it's important to keep your sex life fun and interesting, to reduce the sense of humiliation and worry and the feeling of being 'second best' to people without genital issues."
"Women with vaginismus usually have fully stocked lubricant collections, as it's invaluable when attempting to insert dilators (slim dildos that start teeny weeny and increase in size, designed to gradually get the vagina used to accommodate an object). However, it's also great to use for slickly stroking and massaging the labia and clitoris."
For ultimate sensuousness during an extended massage sesh, try first smoothing on a layer of long-lasting silicone lube, then adding a "cushion" of thick water-based lube on top.
Take a texture tour.
"Blindfold your partner, then stroke or press on the skin all over their body using household items you've gathered that have different textures: A feather duster, a leather glove, a foamy sponge, a blusher brush, satin knickers, a wooden spoon for spanking, a silicone spatula and a chilly metal fork," suggests Kim Loliya, editor of Sex+zine.
Lydia Bowers, who coaches couples on non-penetrative sexual techniques as part of her online workshops, says, "Be mindful of the pleasure you experience while you're touching your partner, too. How does the object feel in your hand? How does your lover's skin feel, taste, smell? What are the different sensations in stroking an arm, a collarbone, a belly?"
Ain't nothing wrong with period sex, but it isn't everyone's cup of tea. "Frottage, aka dry humping, has a rather 'year 7' reputation, but it can genuinely feel great," says Thinx' CJ Frogozo. Challenging one another to provoke pleasure through fabric forces you to think outside the box.
Plus, hefty vibrators with real va-va-voom work wonderfully through clothes. If your partner is intimidated by larger toys, telling them that wielding a wand could make them a genius that can make you orgasm through your jeans might help them see it as less of a humongous, horrifying monstrosity, and more of a ~*magical*~ power tool.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.