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Soaking

Updated: OCTOBER 14, 2021
Reviewed by Jen Mallia

Soaking is vaginal penetration by a penis, without thrusting. The term gets its name as the penetrating partner’s penis "soaks" in the receiving partner's vagina, almost like someone soaks in a bath.

Soaking originated in the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) youth community as a way to be sexually intimate with a partner without technically breaking the religion’s rule forbidding premarital sex. While Mormonism forbids all sex before marriage, people who soak say they aren't having sex as they aren’t thrusting or moving themselves in any way.

To soak, the penetrating partner positions themselves near the receiving partner’s vagina and enters them. They may soak in any position people have vaginal sex in, such as lying down with the penetrating or receiving partner on top, laying side by side, or sitting with one partner straddling the other. Rear-entry soaking is less common than face-to-face soaking, but it is still possible.

Foreplay is uncommon before soaking, as Mormonism also forbids heavy petting outside marriage. Mormonism forbids sexual touching under and over clothes, so couples may avoid caressing and fondling during soaking. They also try not to have orgasms, as climaxing outside marriage is another sin.

Usually people soak without their underwear. A more chaste variation sees one or both people keeping their underwear on for soaking. The partners feel each other’s arousal, including the wetness of her underwear, but do not experience penetration.

A couple can soak on their own to feel close to one another. To make soaking feel more pleasurable, they may ask a friend to jump hump on the bed they’re on. The jumping movement moves the couple, creating friction that mimics the way sex feels. However, as the couple does not move themselves, many people believe this act is permissible before marriage.

The term soaking entered the mainstream in 2021 through the social media platform TikTok. As more Mormon people shared their soaking experiences, news of soaking hit the mainstream media. However, LDS people say the practice goes back many years, although in the past it was rarely spoken of.

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More About Soaking

To feel like they are not breaking religious rules, people who soak do not move. However, it’s not uncommon for penetrating partners to push the boundaries and move a little, insisting they need to readjust for comfort. These kinds of "readjustments" can be very pleasurable for both people soaking.

While some people enjoy soaking and feel it sits within religious law, prominent members of LDS communities have spoken against it. They argue that soaking is still a form of sex, and as such couples shouldn't engage in it outside marriage. The negative reactions of elders in the Church community can make people who soak feel ashamed or embarrassed.

There are many reasons why some people are critical of soaking. The most common criticism of soaking is that it goes against the spirit of Mormonism’s ban on sex outside marriage. They argue that any penetration is sex, whether there is thrusting and orgasms or not.

Others feel penetrating partners may manipulate receiving partners into the act. They argue that someone who wants to please their partner may agree to soak and compromise their religious beliefs. They suggest religion may forgive penetrating partners more easily than receiving partners. People may say they are unclean or unworthy of taking part in temple rites. Some people suggest that receiving partners may also develop negative reputations and struggle to find suitable spouses.

Soaking carries a slightly lower risk of transmitting STIs and unwanted pregnancies than penetrative sex, as the penetrating partner typically does not ejaculate. However, there is still risk. Viruses and bacteria can live on and around the genitals, so any skin-to-skin contact can transmit them. There is also a small amount of sperm in the precum that may enter the receiving partner’s vagina during soaking. Using condoms for soaking can lower the risks.

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