Taking a Broader View of Intercourse


GoodTherapy | Taking a Broader View of Sex

by Dr. Denise Renye, Licensed Scientific Psychologist and Intercourse Therapist, PsyD, MA, MEd, in San Francisco, CA

When many individuals consider intercourse, they consider penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. They might additionally consider orgasms and ejaculation. Nevertheless, as a sexologist, I take a broader view of intercourse. There are a minimum of 5 circles of sexuality, and I embrace foreplay in addition to aftercare within the sexual expertise. Foreplay and aftercare are simply as vital, even integral, for intercourse as orgasm and/or ejaculation.

A Broader Understanding of Intercourse

In U.S. tradition (and lots of others), we’re inspired to consider intercourse as having an endgame. There’s one thing to realize, accomplish, attain. Many individuals enter right into a sexual expertise considering it “has” to finish in orgasm or ejaculation, however that’s not true. Foreplay — glancing, gazing, touching, speaking, and even fantasy exploration — is part of intercourse.

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


Aftercare following “vanilla” or “conventional” intercourse can be nice as a daily observe! Nevertheless, aftercare all through a sexual expertise can be even higher. The aftercare course of between two, or extra, people permit for potential therapeutic by susceptible connection whereby the folks concerned categorical their emotions and share previous experiences. Let’s get our therapeutic on by sexual expression by incorporating aftercare!


Let’s additionally cease eager about intercourse because the “predominant occasion.” The thought of foreplay is a heterosexually centered idea, and it will probably restrict and prohibit the sexual expertise even for heterosexual companions.

“Foreplay” Can Be a Problematic Concept

As I’ve written about earlier than, I’ve an issue with the idea and phrase “foreplay.” To begin with, the phrase itself designates a earlier than. Etymologically talking, foreplay comes from the foundation phrase “fore,” which means earlier than, forward, or in entrance of; plus “play,” which means an exercise for enjoyment and recreation. Nevertheless, the phrase “foreplay” assumes the enjoyable has not already begun! If seems and power are being exchanged and consensual touching is leading to pleasure, doesn’t that imply the enjoyable has already began? This view of intercourse is so limiting!

Intercourse Isn’t Linear

Calling, texting, holding arms, speaking over tea or a glass of wine, caressing, admiring, stroking, massaging, tickling, kissing lips and necks and arms and bellies and interior thighs are all types of play (fore and past). Intercourse will not be linear – it doesn’t begin with kissing, progress to foreplay, and culminate in heterosexual intercourse. Intercourse might go from speaking to kissing to speaking to hand-holding to caressing to massaging to intercourse (if relevant and desired) to massaging to stroking, and many others.

The opposite factor about foreplay is it’s heteronormative, as a result of if foreplay is the lead-up to intercourse, which means digital, oral, and anal intercourse aren’t intercourse. (Hello, Invoice Clinton’s “I didn’t have intercourse with that girl.”) Properly, no. All of it’s intercourse. All of it counts, which the queer neighborhood has identified and has been instructing us for ages. PIV intercourse will not be the one form of intercourse. It’s not superior intercourse, both. None is best or worse than one other. Plus, there’s the matter of individuals with disabilities who might not have the capability for anatomical penetration, in addition to those that choose outercourse. Using the idea of foreplay means these folx won’t ever have intercourse, which once more, is simply plain fallacious.

Sexual Exercise Is Not Simply About Orgasms

Lastly, the way in which foreplay is commonly offered in heterosexual relationships is it’s the “work” beforehand to activate a lady to get to the “enjoyable stuff” or “actual intercourse:” penetration, orgasming and/or ejaculating. There’s nothing fallacious with orgasms and ejaculations, however specializing in them a lot leaves pleasure out of the equation. I do know that will sound paradoxical as a result of orgasms look like they’d be inherently pleasurable. Nevertheless, when it’s the main target, dissociation from the physique can happen. Pleasure-oriented intercourse means specializing in pleasure through the total sexual expertise – not simply at one particular level. Additionally, for those who’re centered on pleasure, orgasms and/or ejaculations are easy byproducts of the play – they happen as a pure development.

How We Assume About Intercourse Impacts Our Expertise of It

Our view of intercourse has so much to do with how we expertise it. Given all the pieces I’ve written above, you could be asking, “How can I’ve higher intercourse?” Talk about potential scenes, likes, dislikes, hopes, and wishes. Let intercourse be play versus full of “musts” “must haves” and different inflexible approaches. Pleasure and nervousness can’t coexist, so if you find yourself taking part in, if nervousness arises, voice it to your accomplice(s) so you’ll be able to transfer by it. If voicing it doesn’t really feel protected, neither is taking part in with this particular person or folks. You possibly can at all times shut down a scene anytime. Sure, even halfway!

And once more, incorporate aftercare. What we’d like on this world is extra consideration to one another’s inside landscapes so therapeutic by intercourse can happen. The best way we listen to one another’s inside landscapes can also be by listening to our personal. Discover what’s taking place in your physique. Take note of what feels good, not good, protected, not protected. The extra you’ve got an understanding of your self, and are capable of talk that to your accomplice(s), the higher your intercourse life can be.

If you happen to’re involved in studying extra about how one can have good intercourse, join my e-newsletter.

Therapists: Do you know our members have publication alternatives on our weblog? Be taught extra in your Member’s Space.

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

The previous article was solely written by the writer named above. Any views and opinions expressed aren’t essentially shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or issues concerning the previous article might be directed to the writer or posted as a remark under.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *