Overview:

Breaking down the myth that penetrative sex is the best form of sexual intimacy between two people.

Just the Tip is a sex and relationship column hosted by queer non-monogamous kinkster Jera Brown. Here you will find interviews with sexuality researchers and educators as well as smart and compassionate responses to anonymous questions. If you have a sex or love question you’d like Jera to answer, email justthequestions@gmail.com or DM Jera on Instagram or Twitter @thejerabrown.

I’m a cis male who doesn’t really enjoy using my penis for sex, but want to be sexual with my partner and make sure she’s satisfied. What should I do?

So first of all, the good news is that there are many ways to have sexy times together that don’t involve you penis. And you have many of other wonderful body parts to help you out: your mouth, hands, etc. If you’re looking for ideas of how to get creative in bed, I recommend starting with the Pleasure Chest’s blog, which has great guides on things like butt stuff, impact play, and more. Maybe it’ll give you some fun ideas and tips.

Here’s what I want to explore in this article: 

  • Common reasons people don’t enjoy using their penis and how to approach it
  • How to approach revamping your ideas of sex and sexy times
  • Questions to ask yourself and your partner

Common Reasons Why People Don’t Enjoy Using Their Penises

Here’s an important question: do you want to enjoy using your penis? First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t want to. If you’d prefer avoiding you have your penis altogether or simply not using it for penetration, that’s all totally fine. (And we’ll get into alternative approaches to sex in a bit.) BUT, if you wish you enjoyed penetrative sex and something is getting in the way, let’s not just give up on it.  

It’s super common for people with penises to have biological and/or psychological issues related to erectile disfunction, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a societal taboo against men talking about this issue and asking for help, and it’s all bullshit.

If you have issues with erection or if sex is painful, you can start by talking to your physician about it who may start you out on medication or refer you to a specialist. You can also find a sex coach or somatic sexologist for a more holistic approach. 

A word of caution: be prepared for a Pandora’s Box. Physical issues often have psychological and spiritual ties. And while digging into issues around sexual performance or pain can bring you closer to pleasure and freedom, it can a mean opening up doors you’ve been keeping closed. Issues related to gender, identity, wounds or intimacy in past relationships, etc.

Just be ready for it.

I’d recommend looking for someone who advertises being trauma-informed, because even if you don’t think there’s any trauma wrapped up in this topic, you might be surprised. You might even be surprised what counts as trauma.

When running a quick Google search on trauma-informed sex coaches for men, I was incredibly disappointed by how little I find. It’s all a part of our toxic approach to masculinity and gender — not recognizing or admitting to trauma and how it impacts our bodies. Don’t just accept someone as an expert or as the right coach for you just because they claim to be an expert.

Ok one other common reason why people don’t enjoy using their penis: size. They’ve been told they’re too big or too small. There are ways around this and, once again, I’d refer you to a sex coach. But, the point is, all hope is not lost. Just be ready to have uncomfortable conversations and find creative solutions.

How to Revamp Your Ideas of Sex and Sexy Times

So you want to satisfy your partner without using your penis. There are millions of people with vulvas out there who are internally screaming, ‘Finally!’ Because there are many of us (myself included) who prefer other activities, (like being fingered or fisted, for instance.)

In a past post, I wrote about how and why to start questioning sexual scripts like “What is sex?” and even “When is sex over?”

There’s this whole myth that penis in vagina penetration is the ultimate form of sexual intimacy, and it’s harmful. It erases queer people. It prioritizes certain types of orgasms and pleasure over others. It doesn’t allow for individual preferences.

So let’s just banish this myth and move on.

Some more good news: you and your partner get to decide what sex means to you and what you enjoy!!!

So where should you start? Here are some questions you can both answer.

Questions to Ask Your Partner

  • What is most satisfying about sex to you?
  • What physical sensations feel good?
  • Do you often have a goal when you initiate sexy times, i.e. a physical release, to destress, or emotional intimacy?
  • What makes you feel close to your partner?
  • What do you want to explore together?

I recommend making it fun. Find some chocolate or wine, put on some music, and treat these questions like something you’d ask when you first start getting to know someone. Because, (spoiler alert), you might be surprised by both your partner’s answers and your own.

Another word of caution: we have been incredibly conditioned. Like this conditioning is really, really hard to break down. 

What does that mean?

It can mean we have been trained to feel satisfied by things we don’t really enjoy. It can mean we have shame built up around what we enjoy or don’t enjoy. It can mean we have walls built up around talking about sex.

I think a lot of online sexual experts would stop with the good news and say something like, ‘talk it out and you’ll find ways of satisfying each other.’ They can make it sound so simple.

Here’s the thing: it’s not always that simple. And there are times when the things you enjoy and the things your partner enjoys or even feel like they need don’t seem all that compatible.

In some cases, you might need to bring in a therapist to help you navigate this. 

For me, all this leads to some truth that’s a little trite, but true nonetheless: sometimes good things in life take work. It might mean tough conversations, self-questioning, etc. And you will be the better for it.

But … oh my goodness… this work can be so much fun too. There’s a whole world of intimacy and sensuality to explore outside of penetration. And I wish you safe and pleasurable travels as you explore.

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Featured image by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

Jera Brown

Jera writes about sexuality, spirituality, and social justice. They are the author of Just the Tip, a queer-friendly, sex-positive, relationship advice column and the editor of Sacred and Subversive,...