It is painful to see that so many people still call intercourse “sex.” It’s even more painful to see that people out there in the world still believe that intercourse is the end-all-be-all of sex.

We have a (very stupid) hierarchy in our society which categorizes some “sex” as better than other forms of “sex.” Thanks to the Patriarchy, intercourse is considered the best kind of sex.

Yet, intercourse is not the way the vast majority of clitoris-owning folks experience orgasm. The epicenter of female-bodied pleasure is the clitoris, and yet it is ignored. This, combined with truly ghastly sex education, has had the catastrophic effect of making vulva-owning people and women feel broken or lacking when they don’t climax their brains out at the thrusting of a penis in their vaginas.

“The idea that P-in-V intercourse is the be-all-end-all of sex is sexist, patriarchal, and old-fashioned,” explains sex therapist Vanessa Marin. “It heavily emphasizes male pleasure and the potential procreative value of sex. It makes women feel bad for needing the exact same thing men need - direct stimulation of the most sensitive part of the genitals.”

What’s more, intercourse is simply not for everyone. Some people may experience pain with penetration, have medical conditions that prohibit penetration, or simply don’t like it at all because it doesn’t feel pleasurable.

So, what does that mean for them? No sex? Please. Get out of here.

It’s time to put an end to this BS. Sexual experiences do not culminate with intercourse. Intercourse (or penetration of any kind) is not necessary for quality, fully satisfying sex.

Here are six ways to have sexual pleasure in a complete and wonderful way without penetration. Because let’s face it: Penetration is not the bee’s knees when it comes to sex. Grandma term aside, you know we’re right.

1. Stimulate Your Brain

Your brain is the largest sex organ you have. All sexual pleasure begins in the brain (and is carried through the sympathetic nervous system). So, instead of going straight for touching genitals, embrace the cerebral side of eroticism.

Kristine D’Angelo, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist, suggests giving dirty talk and sexting a whirl. If talking dirty sounds terrifying, take it slow. Remember that no one really knows what they’re doing. It’s about exploring together, without judgement.

“Ask your partner to do a couple of practice rounds outside of arousal so you can become more comfortable,” D’Angelo suggests. “Then, practice in an erotic setting when you’re ready.”

2. Get Some Toys

While intercourse isn’t needed for good sexual experiences, sex toys are basically a must-have. They were designed to make your sexual anatomy happy, whether you have a penis or a vulva. We’re talking about gear that is made to give you orgasms.

Go to the sex shop together or shop online. Check out inclusive sex shops like BMS Factory or your local feminist sex shop. “If you can think of it, there’s a toy for it,” says D’Angelo. If you’re unsure what you’re looking for, “ask an employee for this week’s best seller.”

Head home and experiment to see what feels good to you. “Communicate what feels good and what needs to be adjusted for a really pleasurable experience,” D’Angelo says.

Sex is about expression and exploration, not putting something inside of a vagina.

Pillow Talk Flirty vibrator on bed

Try a toy like the Pillow Talk Flirty! This nifty little bullet vibrator is great for exploring all different kinds of play!

3. Stimulate Your Various Erogenous Zones

Clinical sexologist and sex educator Sunny Rodgers says that there are so many erogenous zones on the body that can bring us full-spectrum pleasure, and full-body orgasms. Some prime examples include the clitoris, nipples, vulva, perineum and anus.

“The anus is the external opening of the rectum and has a high concentration of nerve endings. External stimulation of this region can bring intense pleasure,” Rodgers says.

Pillow Talk Sassy Wand vibrator on bed

We love the Pillow Talk Sassy Wand for perineum and rimming stimulation. Its curved shape is perfect for reaching every hot spot.

4. Try Some Mutual Masturbation

Marin suggests mutual masturbation for any couple looking to experience pleasure without intercourse. Mutual masturbation is great because it’s basically a guaranteed orgasm.

Plus, you’ll learn a thing or two that you can take into partnered sex later. “It helps you learn what your partner likes, since you can watch exactly how they touch themselves,” Marin says.

What’s more, this simple act has an air of the taboo about it because it isn’t one of the “normal” prescribed sex acts you find most vanilla couples trying. Anything that feels a bit out of the box is sure to awaken the fires within. We crave novel experiences in our sexual lives and this is a great way to broaden your sexual repertoire.

Pillow Talk Cheeky vibrator on bed

Feel free to bring toys into the sessions. A powerful wand vibrator like the Pillow Talk Cheeky has endless possibilities when it comes to spicing up mutual masturbation!

5. Give 69 Some Love

The 69 position is widely loathed because people think that when you do a sex act to someone, everyone should climax. Meanwhile, the 69 position requires both receiving and giving, which can be too distracting for one or both of you to “peak.”

diagram of 69 sex position

Here is the secret: Don’t put so much pressure on orgasm and the act becomes wholly more pleasurable. Rodgers explains that 69 allows for a total sensory experience. “It also allows for pleasure using ones’ mouth and can heighten the experience with additional sense stimuli such as taste and smell instead of relying only on touch.”

6. Play With Edging

Edging is when you bring your partner (or yourself) to the very brink of orgasm only to stop right before they go over the hill. You might be wondering: Why the heck would anyone want to do this? It’s quite simple, really.

Marin explains that when you build up sexual tension over and over again, once you actually have an orgasm, that all-powerful release, it’s incredibly intense. She suggests bringing them to the brink “as many times as your partner can stand.”

Once you have that next-level, all-encompassing orgasm, penetration will be the furthest thing from your mind.