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Dry Humping

Updated: SEPTEMBER 11, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on July 6, 2022

To dry hump is to rub genitals against a person or object, without penetration. The term is most commonly used to describe rubbing genitals with a partner, often fully clothed. However, it is also dry hump an inanimate object such as a piece of furniture or pillow. Dry humping with a partner is sometimes called dry sex. It is a type of outercourse, as it does not involve penetration as intercourse does.

Dry humping is a variation of humping, a slang term for penetrative sex. It’s called dry humping because people don’t directly exchange bodily fluids as they do during oral, vaginal or anal sex. They also usually don’t come in contact with bodily fluids, such as vaginal lubrication, pre-ejaculate, or ejaculate either. As such, dry humping is a very safe form of sexual play.

When dry humping, people get close to their partners, aligning their bodies so they are face-to-face. They may lie next to each other or one person may lie on their back while their partner straddles them. Couples can also dry hump in a standing position. One person may lean against a wall for support when they’re dry humping while standing. Alternatively, one partner could stand and lift their partner, who wraps their legs around the standing partner for support. Couples can also dry hump from a seated position, with one partner straddling the other. Once in position, the couple moves rhythmically together, rubbing their genitals to stimulate them. It is possible to orgasm from dry humping.

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As dry humping involves getting physically close to a partner, it is a great way to build intimacy. Some people find it easier to relax or stay in the moment during dry humping as they don’t have to worry about pregnancy or contraception.

Some people enjoy dry humping as part of foreplay. Others dry hump instead of having intercourse. This is common early in a relationship and when people are abstaining from sex. This may occur when couples abstain from sex before marriage or during periods when they are at high risk of pregnancy.

Frottage is often presented as a synonym of dry humping, but unlike dry humping, it doesn't typically imply that the participants are clothes.

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More About Dry Humping

Some people say any non-penetrative humping is dry humping, whether participants are fully clothed, partially clothed or undressed. Others argue that as it’s possible to come in contact with vaginal fluids and pre-ejaculate if you’re naked and humping without penetration, you can't call it dry humping. These people insist that at least the genitals must remain covered during dry humping.

Dry humping is a common way that people who commit to abstinence create intimacy with partners. However, some religions and cultures that endorse abstinence feel dry humping goes against their beliefs. Others believe dry humping is a better way to prevent pregnancy and premarital sex than condemning all pleasurable contact outside committed relationships.

As people don’t directly exchange bodily fluids during dry humping, it is a relatively safe way to satisfy sexual urges with little to no risk of pregnancy or transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, there can be some risk of pregnancy and STI transmission, depending on the circumstances. If you are dry humping while wearing clothes or underwear, there is no chance of pregnancy as pre-ejaculate or ejaculate never enters the vagina to fertilize an egg. However, if you are dry humping while naked, there is a small chance of pregnancy as bodily fluids can enter the vagina. While the chance of pregnancy remains small, it is greater for couples who dry hump to orgasm.

Since bodily fluids aren’t usually exchanged when dry humping with a partner, there’s also little chance of contracting or passing on STIs. However, there is some chance, especially for STIs transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes and public lice. As with pregnancy, the fewer clothes you wear, the greater the risk.

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There is also the chance that people will become so aroused during dry humping that penetration occurs. Penetration may occur accidentally if a couple is naked or wearing thin clothing. A couple may also feel tempted to have penetrative sex, and increase their risk of pregnancy and STIs.

The repeated rubbing of dry humping may also irritate the genitals or the skin surrounding them. Couples should try to stay conscious of their body and how it feels. If they’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, they should stop or try a different sexual activity.

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