Outercourse is a term for sexual activity without penis-vagina intercourse. Sexual activity without “penis-vagina” can cover a lot of ground and can mean different things to different people.

To some, outercourse is for people who do not have penis-vagina sex to prevent pregnancy, want to have an orgasm without intercourse, and for those who want to keep their “virginity” intact.

Some definitions of outercourse exclude all penetrative sexual activity such as oral or vaginal/anal penetration. To others it might mean clitoral stimulation, massage, dry humping (mimicking the actions of penetrative sex), touching, phone sex and cuddling. Still others define outercourse as any sexual activity that doesn’t include penis-vagina intercourse. Such activity could include penis-mouth oral sex, penetration with sex toys, or fingering. The common definition is that penis-vagina penetration is not involved. A similar sexual activity to outercourse is foreplay, (see SexEd.net Topic Foreplay) but penis-vagina sex is not a goal of outercourse.

For the people who engage in outercourse to prevent pregnancy or STDs, there are some instances where precaution should be used for preventing both even without penetrative sex (see SexEd.net Topics STD, Precum & Pregnancy).

The sourced articles below should provide more information on outercourse, one of the many forms of sexual activity that does not include penis-vagina sex as the only method to sexual satisfaction.

  1. Abstinence And Outercourse

    “Many couples want to be sexual with each other without having vaginal sex and/or risking pregnancy. Outercourse can prevent pregnancy the same way abstinence does: by keeping sperm away from an egg. Using outercourse as birth control means you do some sexual activities, but you don’t have vaginal sex (penis-in-vagina) or get any semen (cum) in the vagina. This way, the sperm cells in semen can’t get to an egg and cause pregnancy. Some outercourse examples include kissing, massage, masturbating, dry humping (grinding), and talking about your fantasies.”

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, plannedparenthood.org, accessed on 5/11/2019

  2. Do Abstinence And Outercourse Protect Against STDs?

    “Sexually transmitted infections can be spread by touching genitals and sharing sexual fluids (like semen, pre-cum, and vaginal moisture). So there are a few ways outercourse can put you at risk for sexually transmitted infections:
    [1.] Oral sex and anal sex spread most of the same STDs as vaginal sex. Use barriers like condoms and dental dams to help protect each other.
    [2.] Swapping sexual fluids (semen, pre-cum, and vaginal fluids) (like if you have semen on your hand and touch your partner’s genitals) can transmit STDs.
    [3.] Touching your bare genitals together (dry humping) without clothes on can also spread certain STDs (like herpes and HPV), even if you don’t swap fluids.
    [4.] Wearing underwear makes dry humping safer, but it may not prevent all skin-to-skin genital contact or keep sexual fluids away. And some STDs can live on areas that underwear doesn’t always cover (like your upper thighs or butt cheeks).
    [5.] If you’re going to have outercourse but you don’t want to worry about STDs, avoid all skin-to-skin genital contact, and keep sexual fluids away from each other.”

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, plannedparenthood.org, accessed on 5/11/2019

  3. Outercourse Sexual Activity Overview

    “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.’ … Although body rubbing is a relatively low-risk activity, it’s not completely safe sex. Outercourse can still put you at risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases that spread from skin to skin.”

    Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, verywellhealth.com, 5/7/2019

  4. Is Outercourse The Same Thing As Abstinence? And 5 Other Questions, Answered

    “Outercourse is an option for sexual activity without intercourse. When you get down to the details, that means different things to different people. For some, it’s everything except penis-in-vagina (PIV) penetration. For others, outercourse means no penetration of any kind, including fingers, sex toys, and anal sex.”

    Maisha Johnson, medically reviewed by Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST, healthline.com, 3/8/2019


    “It is important to note that people often confuse abstinence with outercourse. However, there is a key difference between the two strategies. Outercourse refers to the practice of ejaculating outside the body in order to keep the semen (sperm) away from the vagina. Outercourse is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy as long as the semen from the ejaculation does not come in contact with the vagina directly or indirectly. Indirect contact means touching the vagina or vulva with hands, mouth, sex toys, or even underwear that are tainted with wet semen. Indirect contact of semen with a vagina can allow the sperm to travel up the vagina and fertilize an ovum and result in pregnancy. Indirect contact can also happen during anal intercourse in case the semen drips into the vulva and the vagina. Abstinence, on the other hand, refers to the practice of not engaging in sex altogether.”

    Sghani, nurx.com, 12/21/2018

  6. Study: Why Women Are Seeking ‘Outercourse’ Instead Of Intercourse To Get An Orgasm!

    “If we look at the classic definition of foreplay, it includes activities like cuddling, kissing or teasing before the actual act (hence the word ‘fore’play). Which means foreplay leads to intercourse. But outercourse alone is enough to get an orgasm without having an intercourse. For example, a woman may get an orgasm with clitoral stimulation or use a vibrator to climax. Even a man may attain an orgasm without resorting to penetrative sex.”

    TNN, timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 9/11/2018

  7. Outercourse

    “We end this week’s Word Watch with an unusual word employed in a disturbing context. In 2016, Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at Stanford University in 2015. He served three months in prison and now he is seeking an appeal. And as we learned this week, one his lawyers, Eric Multhaup, argued Turner only wanted to have sexual outercourse with the victim. Lawyers are known for their language, but Multhaup wasn’t just making outercourse up. Modeled in contrast to intercourse, outercourse is attested as early in the 1980s for ‘non-penetrative sexual activity’. A 1986 article in Psychology Today noted the term in a discussion of healthy, consensual teenage sexuality, with healthy and consensual being operative words. When it comes to Turner’s claims of outercourse, though, the public wasn’t buying it.”

    John Kelly, blog.oxforddictionaries.com, 7/27/2018

  8. Everything To Know Before Having Sex For The First Time

    “Outercourse can be as fun as intercourse: Outercourse is basically sex acts without penetration. Don’t be afraid or insecure about not being ready for intercourse, or even if you’ve had intercourse but aren’t in the mood for it. Outercourse is a safe and equally satisfying experience if you don’t have contraception.”

    Paisley Gilmour, cosmopolitan.com, 7/11/2018

  9. Outercourse Can Be The New Intercourse For Folks Over Age 50

    “Frottage or dry humping. Remember those long gone, blue light basement days? Well, you get the picture. Dry humping mimics the motions of sexual activity without actually having intercourse. It can satisfy sexual urges in a pleasurable, and exciting way and for many, it can even bring on an explosive orgasm (especially for women due to clitoral stimulation) and all while your clothes are still on!”

    Karen Halliburton, 50bold.com, 7/2018


    “At 65, I’ve learned a more expansive idea of sex, one that isn’t so genitally focused. Every part of my body can be an erogenous zone. My partner and I enjoy hours of pleasuring each other, engaging in ‘outercourse’: manual, oral, and anal stimulation. We may have a single orgasm and continue pleasuring. We might enjoy several orgasms, or one extended orgasm. We have more of a sense of play and exploration.”

    Joan Price, seniorplanet.org, 5/21/2018

  11. 4 Things That Increase Your Risk Of Pregnancy If You Do Them Before Having Sex

    “The practice of engaging in intimate contact without having oral sex or intercourse is known to some as ‘outercourse,’ defined by Planned Parenthood as masturbation, body rubbing, etc. It can oftentimes lead to the male partner climaxing. If semen ends up soaking through and coming in contact with your vag, as unlikely as it sounds, this could result in a bun in your oven.”

    Tayi Sanusi, elitedaily.com, 10/27/2017

  12. 7 Outercourse Techniques To Help You Orgasm & Build Intimacy, According To Sex Experts

    “The key is to discover what works for you. Check out these different outercourse techniques to try to have a more satisfying, intimacy-building sexual experience.
    [1.] Change Up How you Kiss …
    [2.] Touch Each Other …
    [3.] Use Your Words …
    [4.] Hop In The Shower …
    [5.] Breathe Together …
    [6.] Awaken The Senses …
    [7.] Find Each Other’s Erogenous Zones …”

    Sarah Fielding, bustle.com, 9/6/2017

  13. Intercourse Isn’t Everything For Most Women, Says Study — Try ‘Outercourse’

    “This term ‘outercourse’ refers to sex that isn’t intercourse and doesn’t involve penetration. It can include kissing, touching, erotic massage and using sex toys, just to name a few options. … [Debby] Herbenick [director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University] suggested that couples take a lesson from the early days of their relationship. ‘Sometimes, when people are first getting together, they spend time making out and touching each other’s genitals long before they start having oral sex or intercourse with each other,’ she explained. ‘All too often, once oral sex and intercourse become part of their routine, the rest fades away — which is too bad, considering how powerful genital touching can be.'”

    Ian Kerner, cnn.com, 8/28/2017