By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:
1. Explain that positive feelings usually associated with sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) can also be experienced without intercourse.
2. Describe how engaging in outercourse (sexual behaviors without intercourse) allows a couple to experience sensual pleasures without the risks of penetrative intercourse.
3. Identify a variety of behaviors that 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 what their abstinence definition prohibits them from doing, as well as 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 a person’s own abstinence definition includes outercourse, many of the pleasures of sexual intercourse may be possible and safer still.
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 infections and unplanned pregnancy. In this lesson, participants evaluate outercourse as an important sexual option that may fit with a person’s definition of abstinence.