What It Is & Isn’t

No, outercourse isn’t necessarily “safe sex.””Any type of sex act comes with some level of risk, whether that’s risk of STI transmission, emotional vulnerability, physical harm, or social risk. There’s no one form of sex that’s inherently safe or unsafe,” Corrado explains. “If someone is including cunnilingus in their definition of outercourse, that’s oral sex—and it comes with the risk of STI transmission. But there is also how vulnerable someone feels during a sex act, if a particular sex act could trigger gender dysphoria, and if their partner can be trusted to keep what happens in the bedroom between them.”Safer sex is achieved through a combination of communication, birth control (if relevant), and barrier methods. To make outercourse safer, you need to fit the protection to the act. For example, a condom will be effective (although not fail-proof) in preventing pregnancy if used while thrusting between your partner’s butt cheeks or thighs. However, a condom will not protect against herpes, for instance, as this STI is spread by skin-to-skin contact.Likewise, to reduce the risk of STI transmission, a condom or dental dam needs to be used at any time during outercourse where there’s a risk that vaginal fluid or semen can touch your partner’s genitals or mouth.

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