A broader view of intercourse

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by dr. Denise Renye, Registered Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist, PsyD, MA, MEd, in San Francisco, CA

When many individuals consider intercourse, they consider penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. They can even take into consideration orgasms and ejaculation. As a sexologist, nevertheless, I take a look at intercourse extra broadly. There are at the very least 5 circles of sexuality, and I embody each foreplay and aftercare within the sexual expertise. Foreplay and aftercare are simply as vital, even integral, to intercourse as orgasm and/or ejaculation.

A broader understanding of intercourse

In American tradition (and plenty of others) we’re inspired to consider intercourse as an finish recreation. There is one thing to attain, to attain, to attain. Many folks go right into a sexual expertise considering it “should” finish in orgasm or ejaculation, however that is not true. Foreplay — staring, staring, touching, speaking, and even fantasy exploration — is a part of intercourse.

So is aftercare. The phrase “aftercare” has its origins within the bondage and self-discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism (BDSM) neighborhood wherein the Dom/Domme checks in with the Sub and vice versa to course of, interrogate, a BDSM scene, combine and regroup.


Aftercare after “vanilla” or “traditional” intercourse could be nice as an everyday apply! However, aftercare throughout a sexual expertise could be even higher. The aftercare course of between two or extra folks creates potential therapeutic via a fragile connection between the folks concerned express their feelings and share previous experiences. Let’s kickstart our therapeutic via sexual expression by constructing in aftercare!


Also, let’s cease considering of intercourse because the “main event.” The thought of ​​foreplay is a heterosexually targeted idea, and it may limit and restrict the sexual expertise, even for heterosexual companions.

“Foreplay” generally is a problematic thought

Like I’ve written about before, I’ve an issue with the idea and the phrase ‘foreplay’. To start with, the phrase itself denotes a for. Etymologically, foreplay comes from the basis phrase ‘fore’, that means earlier than, earlier than or earlier than; plus “play,” that means an exercise for enjoyable and recreation. However, the phrase “foreplay” assumes that the enjoyable hasn’t began but! If seems and vitality are exchanged and mutual contact leads to pleasure, does not that imply the enjoyable has already begun? This view of intercourse is so limiting!

Sex will not be linear

Calling, texting, holding arms, speaking over tea or a glass of wine, stroking, admiring, stroking, massaging, tickling, kissing lips and necks and arms and bellies and internal thighs are all types of play (entrance and out of doors). Sex will not be linear – it does not begin with kissing, does not progress to foreplay, and does not culminate in heterosexual intercourse. Sex can go from speaking to kissing to speaking to holding arms to caressing to massaging to intercourse (if relevant and desired) to massaging to caressing, and so forth.

The different factor about foreplay is that it is heteronormative, as a result of it is foreplay is the lead as much as intercourse, which means digital, oral and anal intercourse will not be intercourse. (Hello, Bill Clinton’s “I didn’t have sex with that woman.”) Well, no. It’s all intercourse. It all counts, the queer neighborhood is aware of that and has been instructing us for hundreds of years. PIV intercourse is not the one type of intercourse. Nor is it superior intercourse. One isn’t any higher or worse than the opposite. In addition, there may be the difficulty of individuals with disabilities who will not be able to anatomical penetration, in addition to those that want outdoor run. Using the idea of foreplay signifies that these folx won’t ever have intercourse, which is simply plain unsuitable.

Sexual exercise isn’t just about orgasms

Finally, the way in which foreplay is usually offered in heterosexual relationships is that the “work” beforehand is to show a lady on to get to the “fun stuff” or “real sex”: penetration, orgasm, and/or or ejaculation. There is nothing unsuitable with orgasms and ejaculations, however focusing a lot on them leaves pleasure out of the equation. I do know which will sound paradoxical, as a result of orgasms look like they’re inherently pleasurable. However, when it’s the focus, dissociation from the physique can happen. Pleasure-oriented intercourse means specializing in pleasure through the entire sexual expertise – not simply on one particular level. And in case you’re targeted on pleasure, orgasms and/or ejaculations are easy by-products of the sport – they happen as a pure development.

How we take into consideration intercourse influences our expertise of it

Our view of intercourse has lots to do with how we expertise it. Considering every little thing I’ve written above, you might be questioning, “How can I have better sex?” Discuss potential scenes, likes, dislikes, hopes and needs. Let intercourse be a recreation as an alternative of stuffed with “musts” “have to haves” and different inflexible approaches. Pleasure and fear cannot coexist, so if you’re enjoying and nervousness arises, communicate it out to your associate(s) so you’ll be able to transfer via it. If expressing it does not really feel secure, then neither is enjoying with this particular person or folks. You can all the time exit a scene at any time. Yes, even half manner!

And once more, care for aftercare. What we’d like on this world is extra consideration to one another’s inside landscapes in order that therapeutic via intercourse can happen. The manner we listen to one another’s inside landscapes can be by taking note of our personal. Notice what is occurring in your physique. Notice what feels proper, not proper, secure, not secure. The extra you perceive your self and may talk that together with your associate(s), the higher your intercourse life will likely be.

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© Copyright 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Dr. Denise Renye, Registered Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist, MEd, MA, PsyD in San Francisco, CA

The previous article was written solely by the creator listed above. Opinions and opinions expressed should not essentially shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or feedback in regards to the earlier article may be directed to the creator or commented under.

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