March 1, 2009
I recently hosted a training session on enhancing and supporting the sex lives of people living with HIV/Aids. Part of the workshop involved driving home the message that sex encompasses a wide range of amazingly pleasurable activities beyond plain old intercourse. While intercourse (of many varieties) can be awesome, we limit our potential for pleasure when we restrict sex to intercourse alone.
There are so many wonderful reasons to expand our sexual repertoire and potential beyond the confines of intercourse:
- Pleasure – lots of things feel so good!
- Safety – some activities reduce the risk of pregnancy and STI infection.
- Excitement – it’s fun and stimulating to try new things.
- Intimacy building – some activities are more likely to facilitate bonding between partners
- Variety – it’s the spice of life and repetition can get boring.
- Learning – sex for educational purposesJ
- Orgasms – they can be experienced differently with intensified pleasure through varied stimulation of body parts and nerves.
- Minimized sexual challenges – pathologized “dysfunctions” may be accurately reframed as personal differences when we expand our definitions of sex. For example, a man who cannot maintain an erection long enough for his partner to feel sexually satisfied through intercourse can be labelled with “erectile dysfunction” or learn to explore exciting (and improved) avenues of sexual pleasure that do not require prolonged erection. This reframing of sex may also remove some degree of performance pressure and alleviate symptoms of his so-called dysfunction.
- Personal preference – sex feels better when you do what you want to do as opposed to conforming to restrictive cultural norms
Here are a few ideas for expanding sex beyond intercourse:
- Erotic massage with teasing
- Fantasy sharing – your brain is by far your most powerful sex organ
- Sexy talk – when you’re feeling physically lazy, a little sexy talk will take you a long way
- Writing erotic stories
- Masturbation (alone, with a partner or in a group)
- Role playing and dress up – why wait until Halloween to use your chaps, mullet, clown wig, nurse outfit, catsuit, cowboy hat, bunny costume, leather harness, firefighter cap, handcuffs and/or Sarah Palin mask?
- Belly breathing in a spooning position
- Oral sex with sucking, licking, tickling, blowing, humming and moaning
- Hand jobs with lots of lube and a beaded necklace
- Fingering with lots of lube and textured finger sleeves
- Rimming (tickling, licking, sucking the asshole) with flavoured lube
- Bondage scenes
- Hot wax application with soft paintbrushes
- Playing with sex toys: anal beads, dildos, vibrators, cock rings, etc.
- Phone or cyber sex
- Food play
- Use of erotic films or pictures
- Pole dancing, belly dancing and exotic dancing
- Filming yourself with or without partner(s)
- Playing with others or swinging
- Group sex
- Licking, tickling, stroking, sucking/blowing on the perineum (space between scrotum and anus in men/vulva and anus in women)
- Nipple and breast play
- Body painting with chocolate or caramel
- Bubble baths/sensuous showers
- Sexting (sending sexy text messages or emails)
- Clitoral play
Take time to explore and learn about a variety of sexual activities and be sure to discuss your desires and expectations with partners before experimenting. Practicing safer sex goes beyond condoms, dental dams and lube; if you’re going to introduce new activities into your sex life, be sure you’ve researched safer sex and risk minimization techniques in advance. The use of bondage, hot wax, foods and other props require a separate set of safety strategies and new sexual activities with partners requires a whole lot of open communication.
Let’s get beyond intercourse and make sex even better!