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Dry humping

 

Dry humping is sexual activity that doesn’t involve direct contact between genitals (dry referring to the lack of bodily fluid exchanged). It can involve various sexual behaviors, including (but not limited to) rubbing or touching a partner through their clothing.

Dry hump has existed in popular slang since at least the 1960s. The use of the word hump with sexual connotations was recorded as early as 1785. Dry hump most likely emerged as an extension of this usage, with the modifier dry referring to the absence of bodily fluids and skin-on-skin contact.

WHO USES DRY HUMPING?

Dry humping is often used to discuss outer sex, or sexual activity that doesn’t involve penetration and doesn’t risk pregnancy or STIs. It’s an option for people who want to engage sexually without losing their virginity or face the possibility of pregnancy. Dry humping might even refer to sexual activity with a pillow, mattress, or other object, since this also involves no chance of pregnancy or fluid exchange.

Dry humping can also be a form of foreplay that precedes penetrative sex or direct genital contact. The partnered dance move, grinding, which involves two people standing chest-to-back and gyrating their hips together, might also be described as dry humping.

The term dry humping is seen as unromantic by many. In the book Hooking Up: A Girl’s All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality Amber Madison gives her opinion on the expression: “Dry humping is undoubtedly the most unappealing name for a sexual act.” She continues by saying that it does not sound like “something you want your boyfriend to do to you.”

Humor can be found in the term dry humping. Comedian, writer, and actress Tina Fey includes it no less than twice in her book Bossypants. In a section of her book where she lists her hopes for her daughter, she writes: “Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short and adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.” Fey clearly views dry humping as a practice of adolescence and young adulthood.

Outercourse. Heavy petting. Dry sex. Tribadism. Dry humping. No matter what you call it, the act of rubbing your vagina against your partner’s leg, knee, erection, or other body parts deserves more respect and love than most people give it. (Ditto for rubbing your vagina against sofa ends, pillows, and other inanimate objects.)

“It’s a long lost art,” says Sadie Allison, PhD, founder of sex toy boutique TickleKitty.com and author of Tickle His Pickle–Your Hands-on Guide to Penis Pleasing. “When I was in high school I was waiting to lose my virginity, but I did a lot of other stuff — like dry humping.”

Yet, dry humping isn’t just something people do before they’re ready to have penetrative sex or be completely naked in front of a partner. For people who have clitorises, dry humping can lead to mind-blowing orgasms. “Clitoral stimulation for cisgender women is the goddess of sex, but is typically overlooked due to our patriarchal view on sex and pleasure,” says Alexis Thomas, owner and sex educator of Taboo Tabou. While people with penises can get pleasure from outercourse, dry humping is all about the clitoris. The repetitive motion applies constant friction and pressure to the clit. So as long as you’re doing it right, there’s a good chance it’ll rock your world.

Not sure how to do it right? We talked to Dr. Allison, Thomas, and other sexperts for tips on getting the most out of dry humping. Read on for their advice, and consider adding dry humping back to your foreplay Rolodex.

Choose your clothes carefully

You can have an orgasm with your clothes on, but it’s going to be a lot harder if you’re wearing super thick denim. The point is to put pressure on your clitoris, so if you’re heading to bae’s house and you know you’ll be doing some dry humping, then wear something thin. The thinner the barrier to your clit is, the more likely you’ll be able to get off.

If the dry humping is a little more spontaneous, don’t be afraid to strip down to your underwear, Dr. Allison says. You can even take your pants off if you have the foresight to know what’s going to go down, and in that case, Dr. Allison suggests wearing silk undies. “When it’s wet, silk will be more slippery than cotton,” she says.

Just be careful if you’re taking your pants off, but your partner isn’t. Catching yourself in their zipper is one sure way to ruin the fun.

Do a little prep work

Dry humping is like penetrative sex in that you might need a little foreplay to make an orgasm happen. So Dr. Allison suggests excusing yourself to the restroom after you and your partner have been making out, but before you start grinding on each other. Take your time in the bathroom to rub your clit and get yourself close to orgasm. “There’s nothing wrong with you prepping yourself a little bit,” she says. Consider it “priming the area.” You can also ask your partner to do this for you if you’re comfortable with it.

Get into position

If you want an orgasm, Dr. Allison says, then you need to find a position that helps you control the speed, position, and angle of how your clitoris is rubbing against your partner’s body.

If your partner has a penis or is sporting a strap-on, Dr. Allison suggests you get on top. “Tilt your pelvis forward and then move your hips around until you find the aha moment against the erection [or sex toy,]” she says. You can also straddle your partner on the couch, which might make it easier to feel the pressure around your whole vulva, she says.

But maybe there isn’t a penis or a strap-on involved in your dry humping situation. What then? Laura McGuire, PhD, a sexologist and consultant, suggests rubbing against your partner’s pubic mound — that’s the ridge right in front of your genitals. While finding a good position is going to take trial and error, she suggests laying side-by-side or with one person on top and taking turns rubbing one person’s pubic bone against the other’s vulva.

Be creative

Of course, dry humping doesn’t have to involve both partner’s genitals and there are plenty of fun body parts to play around with, says Rosara Torrisi, PhD, an AASECT certified sex therapist and the founder of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy. You can rub against someone’s knee, thigh, hand, nose, chin, or even a vibrator attached to someone’s leg. “Anything that has extra hardness can work,” Dr. Torrisi says.

Consider adding sex toys

Dry humping might seem like some desperate, spontaneous act, but putting a little thought into it can really pay off. That can mean choosing to wear silky underwear like Dr. Allison suggested, or breaking out some sex toys. “Wearing an internal vibrator like the Jive will totally give you an advantage,” Dr. Allison says. If your partner has a penis or is wearing a strap-on, they could even wear a vibrating cock ring to make dry humping a little more fun.

Vibrators are also great for creating a spot to rub against, Dr. Torisi says. “You can stick a vibrator in the leg of someone’s pants or between their breasts for something that adds a little more fun,” she says.

Use your hands

Whether you’re with a partner or on your own, you can use your hands to caress body parts besides the clit, as well. Squeeze your breasts and nipples. You can also use them to gently guide your partner towards what feels good to you.

Be careful about bodily fluids

If you’re leaving your clothes on, dry humping can pretty much guarantee you’ll be safe from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. But if you strip down to your underwear or decide to get fully naked, be mindful of bodily fluids.

“Every year a couple people are dry humping with little to no clothing on and babies happen,” Dr. McGuire says. It’s incredibly rare, but it is possible to get pregnant or contract an STI like chlamydia or gonorrhea if your partner’s semen or vaginal fluid gets on your vulva.

Don’t take it too seriously.

Just like any other kind of sex, mishaps can happen during dry humping. Maybe your partner’s knee will slip just as you’re grinding against it, or maybe you won’t be able to find a good angle. Dr. Torrisi’s advice? Just laugh it off and move on. “If you thought that something would feel good and it doesn’t, try something else,” she says. After all, this is all about figuring out what feels good for you

 

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