Thinking Outside The Box: Sex Without A Penis

Lova art by Darcy Rae

If you’re a woman who likes women, chances are you’ve heard someone say this: “Okay, but how do two women even ~have sex~?”

This question is mostly asked by straight men. My answer to them is usually something like this: “If you can’t imagine how two women could have sex, you clearly don’t know how to pleasure a woman yourself.”

Why? Because as most people with vaginas know- foreplay is the best part. And when two women have sex, foreplay is pretty much all they do. Except they do it for the entire session, and with no penises necessary.

But here’s the thing: a penis isn’t required for heterosexual sex either. Anyone can enjoy non-penetrative sex – and that’s totally okay. Men, women, and nonbinary folx can all find pleasure from other forms of sex, and it’s time we start changing our perception of what sex is or should be. 

Vaginal penetration is overrated

According to Michael Castleman from Psychology Today, only about 25% of women consistently orgasm during vaginal intercourse. That’s why in hetero sex, foreplay is so important. 

Because many straight men overlook foreplay, lesbians have more orgasms than straight women do. 

Lesbians have 74.4% of their sexual encounters lead to orgasms, while straight women only have orgasms 61.2% of the time.

Lesbians are having more orgasms for several reasons. Women can have multiple orgasms, whereas men normally have a long refractory period. A refractory period is the amount of time it takes you to become aroused again after an orgasm.

Because lesbians can have multiple orgasms, they can have sex for a much longer period of time. But they’re also more attentive to one important thing: the clitoris.

According to Medical News Today, only 18.4% of women said they could orgasm with vaginal penetration alone. 36% said they needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and another 36% said that clitoral stimulation enhanced their experience. 

This is something gay gals know well, so here’s what we do: pretty much everything but vaginal penetration. We obviously don’t have penises, but we don’t need them. If we want to go inside the vagina, we have fingers and vibrators, which are arguably more fun and pleasurable. 

There’s all kind of stuff you can do to have sex with another person with a vagina. Oral, nipple, and anal stimulation are still on the table. Just use your imagination! 

I’m going to break down why non-penetrative sex is great for all groups of people, not just lesbians. 

People with Penises

Most men know how two people with vaginas can have sex (we know because they watch porn). They just lie or refuse to recognize it as “real sex” because a penis isn’t involved. 

This comes from insecurity. When men find out they aren’t needed for sex, it can hurt their “masculinity”. But non-penetrative sex isn’t just about women on women – straight couples can have sex without a penis, too. 

Men can benefit from having other forms of sex with their partner. When you understand how to make your partner orgasm better, it can improve your relationship. 

According to Dr. Madeleine A. Fugere from Psychology Today, “Men who are more concerned about their partner’s sexual experience also feel more sexually satisfied themselves.”

And besides, some people with penises genuinely enjoy going down on their partner, and that’s great. You shouldn’t feel ashamed or emasculated for what you like. 

Another reason men may enjoy non-penetrative sex is that pentration isn’t always possible. Many men experience erectile dysfunction or low sex drive, which may prevent them from feeling aroused. 

According to Healthline, “52 percent of men experience some form of ED, and that total ED increases from about 5 to 15 percent between ages 40 and 70”.

There are a lot of men who can’t get hard – but it’s not a hard problem to fix (again, no pun intended).

The solution? Go. Down. On. Your. Partner. 

Oral sex is great for stimulating the clitoris, so is fingering and using sex toys. There are plenty of ways to please your partner if you’re experiencing problems with being erect. 

Some men argue that going down on their partner is “emasculating”. 

  1. If your man says this, dump his ass. 
  2. How is making your partner orgasm emasculating?

Even if you aren’t having issues becoming erect, spending time making sure your partner has an orgasm will help your relationship in the long run. 

People with vaginas

Clitoral stimulation is great for people with vaginas because it’s much easier to orgasm this way.

If you’re in a relationship with another woman, this might come easily – no pun intended. But if you’re single or heterosexual, you might not realize all the possibilities. Talk to your partner(s) and let them know what you’d like to try. (For more on communication about orgasms with your partner, click here.) Of course you can experiment on your own as well!

If you’re looking for new ways to experience clitoral stimulation – solo or with a partner, try Lovability’s WaterSlyde. It’s a unique sex toy that allows a bath faucet to guide water to the perfect spot ;). Creator Maureen Pollack says it has a similar sensation to oral sex, except you don’t need a partner.

The WaterSlyde by Lovability – “Pure Genius”

Another reason non-penetrative sex is great is because it usually is painless. 

Yes, sex should be pain free

Unfortunately, pain is a common experience during sex for people with vaginas. 

First of all, let’s establish that sex should never be painful. Lube can help out a lot if you experience pain related to vaginal dryness, but there are other conditions such as vaginismus that can cause pain during intercourse as well.

According to the College of American Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Nearly 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. For some women, the pain is only a temporary problem; for others, it is a long-term problem.”

Clitoral stimulation and oral sex are great ways for people wth vaginas to avoid experiencing pain during sex. 

Communication is also super important in this aspect. Talk to your partner(s) if you experience pain and tell them what gives you pleasure. This will make it a lot easier for your partner to make you cum. (For more ideas on how to decrease pain during intercourse, check out the Ohnut).

Even if you’re a woman who likes women, make sure your partner knows that vibrators or even fingers could cause you pain. 

If you like vaginal penetration, then do it! If you prefer oral stimulation, then stick with it! If you like long foreplay, then keep going! Everyone has different preferences- just be clear about what you like.

Changing your perception

Penises (or men) are not bad. They’re just overrated when it comes to our pleasure. We constantly talk about and are inundated with images of “normal” heterosexual sex, so that’s what we think sex is supposed to be. 

When we only define sex as “penis in vagina” it excludes many LGBTQ+ people, some people with disabilities and anyone who enjoys having non-penetrative sex. No one has the right to define what sex is for other people. 

We also need to stop treating vaginal intercourse as the main event. It’s okay to just do foreplay, oral sex or use sex toys. It’s also perfectly normal.

Sex is whatever you want it to be. It is how YOU experience intimate, sexual pleasure. Expand your definition of sex, and you’ll expand the possibilities of pleasure.


About The Author

A senior at the University of Missouri, Veronica Mohesky is studying Emerging Media Journalism. She is also a sexual health peer educator at her university. She works for local media outlets while in school, and you can find her other journalistic work at veronicamohesky.com. She will graduate in December 2020 and hopes to work for a nonprofit or public media outlet. Veronica loves to report on sexual health issues and believes it is important to have conversations to de-stigmatize sex, pleasure and STIs. You can find her on instagram at @veronicamohesky13.



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