Traditionally, media and society tend to portray sex as an experience between a cisgender man and woman, almost always involving vaginal or penetrative sex, but there are so many ways to have an orgasm without vaginal sex. In recent years, many of us have come to acknowledge that love and sex can exist between people with any gender or sexual identity, but there is still progress to be made. The bulk of articles published about sex involve the best sex positions for vaginal intercourse. Due of this, many articles about sex, which are meant to be fun and informative, end up coming across as quite assumptive and exclusive. Because the fact is not all sexually-active people with vaginas are having vaginal sex. And that’s OK.
People may not want to have vaginal intercourse for a variety of reasons — medical conditions that make penetration painful (like vaginismus, according to WebMD), a past trauma that makes intercourse difficult, or they just might not like the feeling of vaginal intercourse. Which is fine since according to sex expert and Psychology Today writer Michael Castleman, only 25 percent of women can achieve orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, sex and relationship expert Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. reaffirmed this fact.
Regardless of what your experience is, not everyone has sex in the same way and that doesn’t make anyone’s sexual experience less valid or enjoyable. Sex is a subjective experience, and oral sex (and even massages) can be considered “sex” just as easily as something like vaginal sex. If you’re expressing or exploring sexual desires with another human being, it’s sex! There are a ton of ways to have great sex that don’tinclude having a dick in your vagina. Here are some of my favorite ways.
The art of fingering is often downplayed as a brief and slightly juvenile form of foreplay. However, fingering can be sex all by itself, and happens to be most conducive for a mega-orgasm for many people, due to the direct stimulation of the clit. Because, according to sex expert Dr. Logan Levkoff, “most women have orgasms from direct stimulation of the clitoris.” Since your clit is the epicenter of nerve endings, you know it’s having the time of its life when your partner’s fingers are directly catering to its every need.
I find sometimes that if my partner is rubbing verygentle circles for a longer period of time, it can deliver surprisingly and especially intense orgasms. This is great especially if your clitoris is feeling especially sensitive that day (or always).
Being fingered from behind is also pretty exciting, especially if you enjoy being dominated in the bedroom. The position gives you more friction and leverage to grind into your partner’s hand and body, while also feeling their body the most with them pressed up against you. Plus easier access to spanking and hair pulling if you’re into that sort of thing.
2. Oral Sex
Being eaten out can be especially exciting and satisfying thanks to the incorporation of one of the strongest and most versatile muscles: the tongue. There are a million different techniques that can be used and shapes it can conform to that make every experience pretty unique. For example, a flat tongue can feel way different from a pointed tongue.
Sex expert Shanna Katz recommends envisioning your partner’s vulva as the face of a clock, gauging their response and figuring out which “time” is their favorite. Katz also encourages you to try not to focus on your partner’s vulva alone. “We tend to focus so much on one area,” she told Men’s Health, “everybody should open up their viewpoint.”
That could mean a little nipple fondling? Some torso scratching? Try out different techniques and positions, and ask your partner what they would like. The more physical interaction, the more stimulating the experience can become.
3. Face Sitting/69-ing
Sitting on your partner’s face as they’re eating you out gives you maximum pleasure control. Especially when sitting facing your partner’s face, you have all the freedom to grind and move freely to what feels good (just make sure you’re not going too hard or your partner won’t be able to breathe). As in all areas of sex, communication here is key.
Sexologist and author of Ride ‘Em Cowgirl, Dr. Sadie Allison told Cosmopolitan something similar: “You get to take control of the angle and pressure, while he simply holds his mouth and tongue in place for you. Plus, you can easily make eye contact, and he can caress your breasts, squeeze your ass, etc.”
Flip yourself around and have the ultimate sensory experience of pleasuring your partner as they pleasure you. The combination of oral stimulation, your partner’s genitalia in your face, and the sounds between the two of you is prime orgasm time.
4. Nipple & Tummy Play
So often nipples are not given the attention they deserve, beyond some absentminded touching during or right before the proceedings. But don’t be afraid to make the nipples the main event. If your nipples are sensitive, then stimulating them should definitely be apart of sexy time. According to sex therapist Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, “The fact is that stimulation of the breasts is wonderful way to increase your arousal, and possibly the intensity of your orgasms.”
Due to the release of oxytocin in the bloodstream during breast stimulation (a naturally-occuring sex hormone, and responsible for the tingly feeling we get when we’re aroused), stimulation of the breasts and nipples can be super pleasurable all by itself. In fact, according to Dr. Castellanos, “about 1 percent of women can experience an orgasm just from having their breasts and nipples stimulated, which is called the oxytocin pathway to orgasm.”
My partner and I had sex focused solely on my nipples when I had both a cold sore and I was on my period (it was a trying week, to say the least).
If your nipples are extra sensitive (especially during your period) or if you enjoy nipple play, have your partner take their time with any combination of their mouth and hands to bring your breasts to an orgasm of their own. Honestly, sometimes I can get pretty close from nipple play alone.
In the realm of period play, there are other ways to have sex that don’t involve below the belt. I’m not personally comfortable with having sex while on my period(although some people think it’s the best), so my partner does this thing where they “eat out” my tummy as if it was my vulva, and it’s pretty wonderful. It involves some level of imagination, and may be tootantalizingly teasing for some. But when you’ve got no other options, I’d say this is a pretty great alternative.
5. Keep It Kinky
Using a vibrator directly against your clitoris makes for an even more powerful orgasm. According to sex expert and author of The Good In Bed Guide To Female Orgasms Emily Nagoski, “The mechanical vibration provided by toys is more intense than anything a hand, phallus, tongue, fresh produce, or other organic stimulus can provide. More stimulation leads to more arousal leads to easier/faster orgasm.”
So why not incorporate it into your sex routine? I sometimes have my partner use my personal vibrator on me during sex. It can be a little tricky at first since your partner can’t exactly feel where your clit is when they’re using a toy. But trust me, practice makes perfect. You’re in for some mind blowing orgasms.
If you’re interested in kink, consider exploring that with your partner. And if you’re a bit hesitant, start slow. “Arousal has a way of naturally lowering your inhibitions and it releases a chemical cocktail that loosens you up,” said sex expert Dr. Kerner to Cosmo . So slowly introducing some kinky things to your sex life and revealing your own kinks will not probably not invite judgment from your partner.
If you’re feeling adventurous, I’d recommend trying handcuffs or a flogger for spanking. No matter what your experience with sex is, adding new routines or toys to the bedroom can really liven things up and keep them new and interesting.