When a couple rubs their bodies together to produce sexual pleasure, without there being oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, it is referred to as outercourse. In general, it involves a man rubbing his penis against his partner or a woman rubbing her clitoris against her partner, but may involve the stimulation of any erogenous zone.
The combination of rhythm, friction, and pressure associated with outercourse can be equally pleasurable and enjoyable for men and women, without the risks associated with vaginal intercourse, i.e. pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI's), as long as body fluids are not exchanged.
This activity is perhaps associated with female couples more than male/female couples, as male/female couples are presumed/expected to participate in penile-vaginal intercourse, and an absence of an organic penis would presumable prevents female couples from engaging in intercourse. The term tribadism is often used to describe outercourse involving female couples.
When male/female couples participate in this activity it may be considered foreplay, or abandoned altogether once intercourse has been experienced for the first time. Unfortunately, heterosexual couples may not see this activity as an acceptable and major component of their sexual experiences, perhaps believing only intercourse can play that role in their relationship. Having this believe would be detrimental for individuals and couples who are trying to avoid pregnancy and STI's, and those for which intercourse isn't an option or mutually enjoyable.
Required for Some
For many women outercourse is an alternative to intercourse but for others it is a required sexual activity, if they desire to experience orgasm during partnered sex. If you read through the shared masturbation techniques and questions and answers you will see there are women who are only able to experience orgasm when they rub their vulva and clitoris against an object. For these women oral sex and intercourse may be pleasurable activities, but they are not able to experience orgasm during them. This reality may result in anxiety and frustration for one or both partners, as they are not conforming to society's expectation of orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse, or even oral sex.
It is possible for teenage girls and adult women to have a long history of rubbing their vulva against objects to experience pleasure and orgasm, because as young girls or even infants they learned this was possible, and did so regularly. Subsequently, they never learned it was possible to rollover and stimulate their clitoris directly with their fingers and hands. In addition, they probably were not taught they had a clitoris, and it was the cause of the physical pleasure they experienced. They only knew the activity was pleasurable, not why.
Others felt a need to conceal their activities from others, and laying on their stomach allowed for this. Some masturbated in this way simply because it produced the greatest amount of pleasure. As time went by they may have become conditioned to be orgasmic only through this activity. The nervous pathways of their mind and body developed to work best through this type of stimulation. There is nothing wrong with these girls and women, they are simply who they are, with their own somewhat unique needs.
A Needless Struggle
While some or many of these girls and women do learn to experience orgasm through other forms of stimulation I don't know that they all can or do. Based on the experiences women have shared, we know it can be extremely challenging and frustrating when they cannot. It is clear that some women and their partner are frustrated by this reality and fight against it rather than accepting it as normal for her and them.
Instead, they try to conform to society's false expectation of mutual orgasm during intercourse. That is not the correct approach, at least in the beginning. Couples need to know and accept what does work before they can branch out into new areas of exploration. Women and couples need to accept what works best for them rather than seeing themselves as abnormal, and trying to force things to work that simply will not or cannot.
Learning How for Women
How does one participate in outercourse? The basic ingredients of outercourse are pressure, friction, and rhythm. As one can then guess, there is an infinite combination of possible techniques that result. The specifics of how to explore this activity will depend on the individual, as they are likely to have their own unique needs.
These needs will have physical as well as mental components, as women's bodies and minds vary from one individual to the next. Trial and error will determine what works best for each woman. Women who have a history of masturbating in this way will already have a very good idea of what works best for them. Those who do not know their individual needs should be open to experimentation.
The experiences and activities that result in infants and young girls learning how to masturbate in this way will provide some insight for older girls and women wanting to learn how. If you follow the progression of developmental steps they likely took you may discover your own technique. As an infant, a diaper would provide a thick soft pad to press against the vulvar area. While laying on their stomach any rocking motion on their part may stimulate the vulvar area. While initially these movements may be subtle, they may not be once the necessary motor skills have developed.
Others learn it is pleasurable to rub their vulva against the crotch strap of infant car seats, high chairs, and infant swings. Once the diapers come off, or in addition to them, clothing and bed linen may bunch up and press against their vulva causing pleasant sensations to be experienced. She may then deliberately cause this to happen, or place a pillow or stuffed animal between her legs. Other girls place their hand or hands between their legs and cup their vulva or create a fist to press against, because it feels pleasant and/or is soothing, only to discover rhythmic motion adds to their pleasure.
I believe most girls are required to wear cotton underwear to bed, which would provide a thin but soft barrier between her hands and vulva, but some may stimulate their bare vulva. Their technique may involve gentle rocking or vigorous thrusting. Some techniques incorporate a lot of thigh and leg tension, which I would advise against using, as it is difficult to recreate this tension during partnered sex. So it is best not to squeeze your legs together tightly even if it is pleasurable to do so. At some point she may have explored the same activities with an exposed vulva, if she wasn't compelled to keep her vulva concealed at all times.
At least a small percentage of girls learn it is pleasurable to rub their vulva against the body of another person, perhaps enjoying the combination of warmth, softness, and firmness this provides, not to mention the potential emotional security and intimacy. Others learn to rub their vulva against hard objects like the rim of a bathtub, trees, poles, jungle-gyms on playgrounds, and the narrow end of a door. Some rub their vulva against firm yet padded furniture, like the edge or corner of a mattress or arm of a couch or chair. Over time they may explore the sensations produced by different types of fabric; cotton, nylon, wool, denim, fur, silk, etc.
During puberty the presence of pubic hair and increased body fat on and around their vulva may have influenced their technique. When first exploring partnered sex she may find it enjoyable to press her vulva against her partner while they hugged and kissed, and their combined movements adding to her arousal.
With time a girl's masturbation technique may have evolved as she did. Even as young girls they may have had sexual thoughts and fantasies that added to their level of arousal and pleasure. The main things to take from this advice is to go slow and to have no expectations of these activities, as would be the case for an infant or young girl. They have no concept of sex or masturbation, only what feels good, and potentially helps them to relax. The techniques you try will work or they don't. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Find what works for you.
Something girls and teens usually don't have access to that adult women do are lubricants appropriate for sexual stimulation of the vulva. Many consider lubricants to be a necessary ingredient in all their sexual activities. Some women may find it beneficial to coat their vulva with lubrication so their vulvar tissues can slip and slide with less friction, because this may actually increase the amount of stimulation, as dry tissues don't move about as freely as lubricated ones. You may need to work the lubricant up under your clitoral hood, especially if it is tight or long and hides your clitoral glans.
As long as the lubricants are used externally most natural oils will work, as long as intercourse requiring the use of latex condoms will not follow, because oil and petroleum based products cause latex to breakdown very quickly. If you will be using a condom later on then use a water-based lubricant. You can try lubricating your vulva and then covering different objects with plastic food wrap to act as a protective barrier and provide a smooth slick surface to rub against.
Trimming or shaving your pubic hair will also influence the sensations experienced. You can also get adventurous and try wearing clothing made from leather, latex, PVC, etc. The main thing is to explore different techniques and not to limit yourself to the obvious or socially acceptable methods. Use your imagination or read some erotic stories to come up with some new ideas.
The rhythm required will likely be determined by a woman's level of arousal and eagerness to experience orgasm. As a woman's level of arousal increases so does her pain threshold allowing her to experience more intense stimulation. Some women may draw out the pleasure for hours, rocking and thrusting softly. Others may be very aggressive, rocking and thrusting with great abandon. Start out with slow rocking or humping motions but then allow your body to assume its own rhythm.
In the beginning it would be unwise to expect to experience intense pleasure from these activities, at least within the first seconds or minutes of trying them. Give your mind and body time to adapt to these new experiences, and to grow from them. Your mind and body may need to learn to be receptive to this type of stimulation. Give yourself as much time as possible, thirty to sixty minutes, so you don't feel rushed, and pretend to be a young girl without a care in the world, and no expectations. Don't be misled by the media to believe you should see fireworks within seconds of initiating a sexual activity.
Many women experience a vaginal ache during sexual arousal, i.e. a desire to be filled. This sensation is caused by the inner vagina ballooning outwards to make room for an erect penis and the ejaculate. This desire may compel some young women to experience vaginal intercourse before they are truly ready. Instead of using an erect penis to satisfy this desire you can also use a dildo during outercourse. The dildo needs to be short enough to fit inside your vagina far enough that it does not prevent stimulation of your vulva and clitoris. You can buy an inexpensive dildo and trim it to the appropriate length. Another option is to insert two balls of the appropriate size into your vagina. These balls are usually connected to a string for easy removal, are made of plastic or rubber, and have a diameter of about 1 1/2 inches [3.8 cm]. They are often called Duo Tone, Smart Balls, or Pleasure Balls. Any object of the appropriate size and shape that will not break and doesn't have rough or sharp edges should work, as long as they can be easily removed from the vagina. Ben-wa balls are usually of no benefit.
Including Your Partner
Once you know how to masturbate to orgasm using the techniques described above you may want or need to include your partner in these activities. This is particularly true for women who cannot experience orgasm during other sexual activities.
You should describe to your partner in great detail what you need to occur during these activities. This will decrease the chances of them doing something that is distracting or inappropriate. If you need total silence then say so. In the beginning, recreate the environment you normally use alone and ask your partner to sit or lay back and watch. Don't be afraid to ask them to sit on a chair next to your bed or on the floor next to you. If necessary, have your trusty blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal at hand. If you need a particular piece of furniture that is located somewhere in your home then take your partner to the appropriate room. You may need to close your eyes or even turn off the lights initially, so that your partner isn't a distraction; they will still be able to hear you. If it will not distract you, ask or give your partner permission to masturbate while they watch. Don't try to put on an erotic show or be a porn star, as this is about your needs, not entertaining them. You want to share your pleasure with them, not attempt to be someone other than who you really are.
Once everything is set, then dress or undress as necessary and assume a comfortable position and relax. When you are relaxed, do what comes naturally. If you have never done it with a partner present don't expect things to go flawlessly in the beginning. Having someone watch can be a major turn on, or challenge to address. Get you mind focused on something that is sexually arousing, relax, and then begin to move. Don't force it, rush it, or fake it.
Tell yourself and your partner it may or may not work the first few times, so you are both prepared if it doesn't. There is always the next time. If you become aroused but are unable to experience orgasm with your partner present, but want or need to, then explain this to them and ask for some private time. Perhaps you can masturbate in separate rooms. Afterwards you can snuggle or participate in other sexual activities together if you both so desire.
Once you can do it with your partner present using your tried and true solo technique then slowly adapt to using your partner as the object you rub against, if you both so desire. Straddle their thigh, rub against their pubic bone, buttocks, etc. Pick an area on their body that has the appropriate shape and hardness or softness you require. Some women may find bare skin on skin works best, others that they need to lubricate their vulva and the appropriate area of their partner's body. And some will find they need to dress for sex, wearing the appropriate panties, tight jeans, etc. Now experiment and try to recreate the sensations and pleasure you experience when using your solo technique. You must be a little selfish and focus on your needs, and not allow your partner to put their needs before your own.
Be playful and don't be afraid of bloopers and blunders, as they will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Don't expect too much, but rather be open to new things. Again, tell yourself and your partner it may or may not work the first few times, so you are prepared if doesn't. And once again, if you become aroused but are not able to experience orgasm with your partner, but want or need to, then explain this to them and ask for some private time, and afterwards you can snuggle or explore other sexual activities together if you both so desire.
If your partner is a man, then you need to use some form of birth control and possibly a barrier if his pre-cum or ejaculate may come near your inner thighs or vulva, as vaginal penetration is not required for conception to occur. There is very low risk of pregnancy if you are both fully clothed, and this may be desired for teens and young women, even if you undress during other sexual activities together.
Basic Information for Men
The advice provided above for women pretty much applies to men too. The only difference, though a major one, is that an erect penis does have its own unique requirements that an erect clitoris doesn't, because of their size difference. For young men the idea of making out with your partner and a little pressure from her thigh may be more than enough to bring you to orgasm. Most men though will probably want to feel their penis rubbing against their partner's bare skin, because it feels good and to feel closer to them, physically and spiritually.
For couples who already exchange body fluids and who are using an appropriate contraceptive then placing your penis between the folds of her vulva may be a very enjoyable experience for both, as your penis can caress and stimulate her clitoris. If you haven't, can't, or don't want to exchange body fluids then you will need to wear a condom, as penetration isn't necessary for conception or transmission of STI's. This and other techniques may work best with a good quality and generous amount of lubricant, to allow your bodies to slip and slide together effortlessly. Be careful not to use too much pressure, as chances are her clitoris is much more sensitive to pressure and friction than your penis; so be sure to ask if the pressure is okay and proceed as slowly as your desire permits, or simply allow her to get on top and control things. You probably don't want your partner to have a sore vulva or clitoris afterwards, as that takes some of the pleasure and enjoyment out of it for her.
Other areas of a woman's body that tend to work well for outercourse are between her lubricate thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Women with medium to large sized breasts may be able to lie on their back for this, but women with small to medium sized breasts may find it works best if they are top, as gravity will assist in the process. If your breasts are too small, then don't forget about your thighs and buttocks, not to mention your armpits, and between your hands and feet. When inserting a man's penis between your buttocks and breasts you and/or he may need to press them together to form a channel for his penis to slide back and forth inside, with the appropriate amount of friction and stimulation. The glans of his penis and the under side of his shaft near his glans are likely the most sensitive areas so you don't need to enclose his entire penis or need deep thrusting.
If bare on bare skin doesn't work with or without lubricant then try wearing different types of fabric. Have her wear soft cotton or silky satin panties, or even get a pair for yourself to wear. If you are rubbing against her buttocks then ask her to wear a night gown or slip made of a soft or silky fabric. Some couples may want to experiment with latex, leather, and PVC clothing. In the beginning, simply try rocking back and forth so your penis is caressing her and being caressed by her soft skin. Make out and perhaps exchange sexual fantasies or talk dirty to one another to provide some mental stimulation. Don't see how fast you can cum, but how long you can draw out your mutual pleasure.
As I mentioned above for women, be playful and don't be afraid of bloopers and blunders, as they will happen no matter how hard you to try to avoid them. Yes, you may lose your erection or find you cannot ejaculate and this should not be seen as the end of the world. Don't expect too much, but rather be open to new things. Again, tell yourself and your partner it may or may not work the first few times, so you are prepared if doesn't. And once again, if you become aroused but are not able to experience orgasm with your partner, but want or need to, then explain this to them and ask for some private time, and afterwards you can snuggle or participate in other sexual activities together if you both so desire.
Published March 11, 2007