Dry Sex

A couple laying on a bed and hugging.

Dry sex, also known as “dry humping” or “outercourse,” is non-penetrative sex. No bodily fluids are exchanged in ways that could cause pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).1 Outercourse is a low risk sexual activity that can still provide stimulation that results in orgasm. Many people participate in dry sex as a fun, safer alternative to intercourse. There is no universal method of dry sex. Some participate in dry sex fully dressed, while others participate in dry sex wearing only underwear.  The defining characteristic of dry sex is that there is no penetration of the vagina, mouth, or anus.1

There are many different variations of dry sex. These variations may include: manual stimulation or mutual masturbation, deep kissing, massaging, and any other non-penetrative act. Typically, non-penetrative sex is when partners rub against each other in a sexual manner, such as rubbing genitals. This action can be performed with or without clothes. Dry sex can be performed in different positions, and the partners may imitate the movements of actual intercourse.

Why Do People Engage in Dry Sex?

A couple sitting on a bed and kissing on the mouth.

Dry sex is an exciting, low risk alternative to intercourse that many people participate in for a variety of reasons. Some may engage in outercourse as foreplay that will lead to intercourse. Other people engage in dry sex in order to preserve their virginities or to prevent pregnancies.3 It is a great way for partners to experience sexual stimulation without the pressure and risks of sexual intercourse, STIs, or pregnancy. However, if there is skin to skin contact, there is still a small risk of contracting an STI.2 Dry sex can be an exciting and erotic experience for both partners and may result in orgasm.

Advantages of Dry Sex

  • There is a low risk of contracting an STI.1
  • There is a very low risk of pregnancy.1
  • No bodily fluids are exchanged.1
  • Participating in dry sex helps partners avoid pressures associated with sexual intercourse.1
  • There is stimulation with the possibility of orgasm.1

Disadvantages of Dry Sex

  • There is less direct stimulation of sex organs than penetrative acts.1
  • Males may experience discomfort in tight clothing that puts too much pressure on the penis.1
  • Partners may not reach orgasm.1

Health Risks Associated with Dry Sex

Although dry sex is a great low risk alternative to intercourse and other penetrative acts, there are still some health risks that should be brought to attention. Even when no penetration occurs, some STIs such as HPV, pubic lice, and herpes are still transmittable through skin to skin contact.2 If the male ejaculates near the female’s vulva or vagina, there is a still a chance of pregnancy, even without penetration. It is important to be aware of these risks before engaging in any sexual behavior.

Concluding Remarks

Dry sex, or non-penetrative sex, is a great alternative for partners who do not want to engage in penetrative activities. Some people prefer dry sex as a way to preserve their virginities, while others use it as a method of birth control method. Dry sex can also be form of foreplay. Dry sex is a fun way for partners to be intimate without a high risk of STI’s or pregnancy since there is no direct contact of the genitals and no bodily fluids are exchanged. People can reach orgasm. Dry sex can be an enjoyable alternative to penetrative sex, but, it is important to be aware of the associated health risks, but dry sex can be an enjoyable alternative to penetrative sex.

A person on top of another person. Their legs are intertwined.


  1. . “Outercourse: Dry Humping, Dry Sex and Other Sexual Behaviors – Sex & Relationships Info and Tips.” EmpowHER. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
  2. sexetc. “What Is Dry Sex?” – Sex, Etc. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
  3. Parenthood, Planned. “Outercourse as Birth Control | How to Prevent Pregnancy.” Outercourse as Birth Control | How to Prevent Pregnancy. N.p., 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

Last Updated: 8 October 2016.