Intercourse’s claim as the be-all-end-all of sex may be about to take on a challenger.
Introducing ‘outercourse’. You probably haven’t heard the word before, but we’re betting you’ve experienced it – especially if you are someone who doesn’t orgasm through penetrative sex alone.
Research from the Centre for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University found that of the 1055 women aged 18 to 94 surveyed only about one in five (18 per cent) reached an orgasm through intercourse alone.
The other 82 per cent of women? Well they needed something else. They needed outercourse: kissing, massaging, using vibrators, touching erogenous zones, clitoral stimulation, oral sex or toe-sucking. Basically, everything else that might come with sex, but isn’t penetration.
“But isn’t that just foreplay?”, you ask. Well, not really. For the 36 per cent of women surveyed who only orgasm with clitoral stimulation, (as well as the further 36 per cent who say it enhances sex), it’s an integral part of the main event – not just a precursor that can be skipped if necessary.
And that’s why we need to start changing the way we think and talk about sex, says sex therapist and clinical psychologist Dr Janet Hall.
Dr Hall tells Mamamia the problem with using the term “foreplay” to describe all the other stuff that isn’t penetration is that it signals that it’s not important to the female orgasm – and it very much is.