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Sex doesn't have to mean penetration!

Sex doesn't have to mean penetration!

Sex - It’s a word that evokes a different emotion or image for every person.

Sex has infinite possibilities and that’s what makes it so exiting! That's why it's so frustrating that one form of sex is completely centred and deemed to be the most ‘authentic’ form of sexual expression. And that is of course: Penetration - generally in the form of a penis entering a vagina.

In fact, looking at depictions in film or narratives surrounding “virginity” perfectly sums up society's fixation with penetration. To have your virginity taken constitutes a change from innocence to adulthood which is supposedly implemented once a penis has been used to penetrate a partner. Because obviously sex isn’t really sex if a penis isn’t penetrating someone, somewhere! Thanks patriarchy!

Obviously, this is not the case. Sex is whatever you make it. Sex is about pleasuring your partner, and people get pleasure from all kinds of intimate acts. Sex is not all about genitals and anatomy. Focusing too much on physical acts ignores the powerful emotional connections we can make. It ignores the way we can explore sides of human sexuality.

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We can challenge this narrative by thinking about feelings - ours and our partners, and not just our physical actions.

When sex that prioritises penetration over everything else is being promoted, or is seen as the ‘ultimate’ form of sex, it can cause sexual experiences to be harmful and restrictive.

When something is presented this way, as the right thing to do or the only thing to do, it will be seen as the only kind of normal or accepted form of sex to have or want.

Penetration can be only a small event in sex. It does not have to make an appearance for sex to be deemed complete.

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For some people, just holding each other is perfect. Others enjoy passionate kissing for hours on end. Others fondle and stimulate sensitive areas of the body with their hands or lips.

Using toys is also a great way to mix things up and stop sex from becoming predictable. Changing up the location of where you and your partner get down and dirty can be heaps of fun? Given it’s not somewhere public or illegal of course!

There are countless ways to participate in sex with a person, each experience is as valid as the next.

Before having sex with someone, you probably have a pre-conceived idea about how it's all going to go down so to speak. That’s something you definitely need to let go of beforehand!

Being able to silence the mental playbook you’ve pre-organised will allow you to open your mind and body to new sensations and experiences. This is obviously a lot easier said than done.

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To change a way of thinking that's all we have known our entire lives is going to take a lot of trial and error. But don't worry! It's completely okay! By stepping out of an idealised way of having sex, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to be present in the moment, and expand your knowledge of your sexuality.

Trying things differently stimulates the brain to release dopamine, and dopamine heightens sensual intensity. When we let go of assumptions about what is or isn’t a valid or expected part of sex, we open ourselves up to a world of possibility.

Remember that communication is great. The sooner you know exactly what it is that your partner likes, the sooner you can get to practicing.

Being a trans guy myself, I’ve definitely encountered the question: “So if you don’t have a penis, how do you have sex?”

When I’m asked this question, I’m always curious as to whether this person is either exceptionally nosy or genuinely doesn’t know that there are other ways to make someone reach orgasm without the presence of a penis.

Centreing penis in vagina sex is ultimately prioritising (the majority of) mens sexual pleasure over womens - especially as most women with vaginas cannot orgasm from penetration alone. Again, thanks patriarchy!

In fact, some people may not have a choice but to remove penetration from their sex life all together. A person’s age, illness and disability can all have an effect on someone’s sexual function. But does that mean that they can no longer enjoy a gratifying, intimate and pleasurable sex life? No, of course not!

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No matter your gender, sexuality, or age exploring and experimenting with sex is exciting, given you’re doing it safely and with consent. Sex with someone you trust can give you the opportunity to be immersed in a fun and exhilarating act of passion.

Being in a state of vulnerability, whilst feeling absolutely and completely safe, feels incredible. So don’t let society shape your expectations or preferences without your consent! Sex can be overwhelmingly perfect, but it can also be disastrously imperfect. Have fun, be safe, communicate, and explore.

Jed Biggs, Sex-positive Trans-Masc Writer & Sex Toy Reviewer
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