1. Discover that positive feelings usually associated with sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) can also be experienced without intercourse.
2. Understand that engaging in outercourse (sexual behaviors without intercourse) allows a couple to experience sensual pleasures without the risks of penetrative intercourse.
3. Recognize that a variety of behaviors may be included in a person’s definition of sexual abstinence.
When young people are making decisions about abstinence, it is important for them to consider not just what their abstinence definition prohibits them from doing, but also what it permits. Since young people usually equate the term “having sex” with vaginal intercourse only, they often view “having sex” or “not having sex” as the only two possibilities. However, when outercourse is considered consistent with a person’s own definition of abstinence, most of the pleasures of sexual intercourse are possible, and much safer.
Further, sex educators and therapists observe that outercourse helps people look at sexual behaviors in a less pressured and goal-oriented manner. Outercourse allows people to express their sexuality in many ways, remain abstinent, and avoid the risks of sexually transmitted infection and unplanned pregnancy. In this lesson, participants evaluate outercourse as an important sexual option that may fit with a person’s definition of abstinence.