So you’ve been dating someone for some time now and a discussion about sex has come up. While you’re in love with your guy and feel like the time is right to take your relationship to the next level, you’re not sure if you’re ready to have sex with him just yet.
There’s nothing unusual about wanting to delay intercourse. In fact, an increasing number of men and women are putting sex on the backburner for a variety of reasons — some say they don’t feel comfortable having casual sex and would rather wait for the right partner to come along, while others believe that sex is a major commitment that’s best saved for marriage. Many young people also don’t want to deal with sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy — two of the many consequences of having sex with someone.
There are no statistics for Singapore, but in the US, experts have found that sexual activity among young Americans is on the decline. One study, out of Indiana University and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, and published this June in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, found that the percentage of sexually inactive 18- to 24 year-old men increased, from 18.9% between 2000 and 2002 to 30.9% between 2016 and 2018. Women were affected too, with the percentage of sexual inactivity most pronounced among those aged 25 to 34.
The researchers concluded that millennials and Gen Z-ers are delaying sex because they have other things to do at night, such as playing electronic games, engaging in social media and binge-watching TV shows. These young adults are also likely to still be living at home with their parents, which makes dating and having sex a little inconvenient.
But wanting to delay sex doesn’t mean forgoing it altogether. Young people are still getting intimate with their partners, except that instead of intercourse they are engaging in something called outercourse.
Outercourse is any sexual activity that doesn’t involve penetration (although some people might consent to their partners penetrating them with fingers and/or sex toys). Kissing, heavy petting and mutual masturbation all count as outercourse.
Outercourse has many advantages. For one, because it doesn’t involve penis-in-vagina penetration, there’s a low risk of falling pregnant and spreading sexually transmitted infections (of course, if you engage in oral sex or allow your guy’s penis to come into close contact with your vagina, you should always play it safe with condoms and/or other forms of contraception). Outercourse is also a chance for you and your partner to understand each other’s bodies better. Plus, it can increase the trust, closeness and intimacy between you and your man and thus make for more satisfying orgasms.
Here are five ideas for out-of-this-world outercourse: