Ask Beth: How do we become more physically intimate without having premarital sex?

PaigeHi, I’m Beth Boatman and I am a professional human sexuality educator and consultant dedicated to enlightening adults about all things related to sexuality.

My interest in sexuality started as a curious child who asked my parents LOTS of questions. Fortunately, my parents were excellent at providing me with both honest and age-appropriate information. While searching for my life goals in my early college years, I found my calling at Widener University, which houses the only fully accredited doctoral program in human sexuality in the country.

I am a lifelong resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area and have provided individuals with sexuality education on topics ranging from sexually transmitted infection prevention to female ejaculation.

When I’m not teaching about sexuality I’m doing yoga, window-shopping at fancy grocery stores, spending time with people I love, and experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes.

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Q. We are in our 30’s and dating for 8 months, but don’t believe in premarital sex. All we have done is kissed. What can we do to be more physically intimate but not have sex?

What an excellent question! Thank you for reaching out. Here are some helpful hints to help you and your partner become more physically close while also respecting your beliefs, boundaries, and comfort levels..

Communicate Openly

I know this may seem uncomfortable but the best thing you can do is just have a straightforward talk with your partner. Something like:

“I really want to talk to you about increasing the physically intimate things we do together but also staying within the boundaries of our beliefs and levels of comfort. I would love to become more physically intimate with you because it makes me feel very close to you on a deeper level of trust and connection. Even though this conversation might make us a little uncomfortable, I think it’s important to reinforce a healthy relationship by being honest and open with each other and establishing exactly where our boundaries are. Do you think this is something you would be willing to talk about with me?”

If your partner says yes, than begin talking with him about the list below. Remember, very romantic dates and learning something new together (kayaking, cooking class, etc.) can be very intimate experiences as well.

There are so many physically intimate options you two can explore together that can be safe and within the boundaries of your beliefs and values. As a side note: I don’t know what your beliefs and values are, so here is a list, but you should pick out the ones that best fit what you and your partner are comfortable with. In fact, the best thing would be to make a list together. Or print off this one and talk about it together.

Please note: The more you do physically may lead to you wanting to have sex more. So make sure you clarify boundaries with your partner and reestablish them every so often. 

Other options besides penile/vaginal intercourse:

Any exchange of fluids could transmit sexually tranmitted diseases. Both of you should get tested and share/discuss results before exchanging any body fluids. Notice this list moves from slow and simple to more physically intimate. Do the same thing when you talk about this your partner.

  • Holding hands
  • Foot massage
  • Back massage (shirt on or off, laying down or not)
  • Back tickles (shirt on or off)
  • Scalp massage
  • Dancing very close to one another
  • Embracing each other horizontally while running hands over each others body (clothes on, or just pants on with tops off)
  • Deep kissing (essentially french kissing with lots of tongue twists and contact time)
  • Necking (making out horizontally and doing lots of neck and ear kissing and licking)
  • Fondling (fondling breasts, genitals, etc, on top of clothes)
  • Fondling (without clothes)
  • Nipple play (licking, kissing, sucking nipples)
  • Dry humping  (mimic movements of sex with clothes on)
  • Hand job (using hands on the penis)
  • Fingering (using fingers in the vagina)
  • Fellatio (mouth on penis)
  • Cunnilingus (Mouth on vulva/vagina)
  • Erotic massage (basically a back massage that turns into a genital massage)
  • Mutual Masturbation (helping or watching each other masturbate)
  • Sex with breasts (placing the penis between naked breasts and pressing them together while penis slides in and out of cleavage, using lubribation)
  • Sex with thighs (press your thighs together and penis will slide (with lube) between thighs. *This works especially well with beautiful thick thighs!
  • Role play (dressing up in costume and playing out an erotic fantasy without the sex)
  • Anal play (rubbing, licking (make sure its nice and clean), or inserting finger into the anus)
  • and anything else you and your partner can think of….

Have fun!