So here’s a term that’s new to me: “outercourse”, as opposed to intercourse. Basically, sexual stuff other than penetration, and somehow distinct from mere foreplay.

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.

“When we equate intercourse and sex and call everything that comes before intercourse ‘foreplay,’ we are buying into the cultural script that sex should proceed as follows: foreplay (just enough to get her ready for intercourse), intercourse (during which both women and men orgasm), and game over,” Mintz said. But sex doesn’t have to involve intercourse at all. Even when it does, other forms of stimulation can add to the experience and may improve the odds of reaching orgasm.

Herbenick 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.”

It’s true that making out tends to give way to sex as your relationship matures, but is that somehow less than ideal?

Sexy Corte and I often invest a lot of time, creativity, and energy into foreplay (with various games, bondage, toys, etc.), but then we have sex. SC requires clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, but still strongly prefers to climax with penetration.

I definitely see the argument for more and better foreplay — and the importance of recognizing that the vast majority of women require clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm — but I’m not sure I get the idea of outercourse and sex without penetration. What do you think? What role does outercourse have in your marriage?