Non-Penetrative Sex
Topping & Bottoming WITHOUT Penetration!

Topping & Bottoming WITHOUT Penetration!

Several years ago, I realized that I prefer non-penetrative sex. There are a few exceptions to this, and I do occasionally explore my boundaries in this area, but most of the time I have zero interest in penetration, especially anal.

Many men find this baffling because they can’t fathom the concept of sex without penetration. Others scoff at non-penetrative sex and dismiss it as inferior.

There are also many who are open-minded, and others who prefer it as I do.

My journey as a person who prefers non-penetrative sex has been challenging as I constantly have to assert my preferences and boundaries. In the process of doing so, I accidentally became an advocate for this cause.

My primary interest is masturbation—which is, of course, another form of non-penetrative sex—but I unexpectedly became a “no-pen activist” more broadly.

I previously wrote about this subject back in 2021, in a Bator Blog article titled Sides and Solosexuals: Challenging the Top and Bottom Dichotomy.

Why No Penetration?

First of all, we need to address the misconception that sex is defined by sticking a dick in an orifice.

This antiquated patriarchal fallacy (phallacy?) has been used to oppress and erase lesbians, trans and intersex folks, and everyone else who is unable or doesn’t want to engage in acts of penetration.

All forms of consensual pleasure are good! No matter what body parts you have or what you do with them, if you find it sexually arousing and gratifying, it is sex.

People may choose to engage in non-penetrative sex for many reasons.

Some don’t enjoy being penetrated and may find it painful or uncomfortable. This may be due to injury, surgery, or other personal or health-related reasons.

Likewise, some don’t enjoy being the insertive partner. This could be due to performance anxiety, erectile concerns, or other personal or health-related reasons.

Bodies come in all different shapes, sizes, and proportions, and our parts fit together in different ways. Some may find it difficult or impossible to engage in penetration for several reasons, so non-penetrative forms of sex may be more suitable for their anatomy.

For others, it may be a way of practicing safer sex to reduce the transmission of STIs or avoid pregnancy.

Even those who enjoy penetration may benefit from incorporating non-penetrative play to mix things up. It can provide a break from penetration and allow partners to explore different positions and sensations. It also helps to normalize no-pen sex in general.

Lastly and most importantly, many people simply prefer no-pen sex, no reason needed, and it is a preference that must be respected.

It is not a mere substitute for penetration, but a legitimate form of sex in its own right, and should always be treated as equally valid.

Expanding Our Terminology

Amongst men who have sex with men, the terms “top” and “bottom” are used to indicate the insertive and receptive partners in anal sex, respectively.

In some contexts, including kink scenes, top and bottom may be considered synonymous with dom and sub. However, this is not always the case, as there are also submissive tops (“service tops”) and dominant bottoms (“power bottoms”).

So “top” and “bottom” are somewhat complicated terms, but they are most often used to determine roles in anal sex.

About a decade ago, sex and relationship therapist, Dr. Joe Kort, coined the term “side” for gay men who prefer not to engage in anal penetration.

The term has become widespread within the community, and many now openly identify as sides. It grew so popular that it wasn’t long before Grindr added it as an option on their platform.

It is an acceptable alternative to tops and bottoms, but it is not a perfect solution. “Side” simply indicates a preference for non-penetrative sex, but it doesn’t provide any further details.

“What if you are a side who is attracted to asses? What if you enjoy ass play without penetration? Can you also be a top or bottom? Of course you can!”

Sides can enjoy all kinds of things, as humans do. Some sides may even enjoy anal on occasion, but it is not their primary preference. So the term covers a wide scope of possibilities.

On social media, I have also encountered many militant sides who are completely opposed to anything butt-related and look down upon those who enjoy those activities.

They are the extreme opposite of the penetration-only tops and bottoms who dismiss non-penetrative sex.

In both cases, this is nothing more than gatekeeping, and it invalidates and erases other preferences, experiences, and identities.

What if you are a side who is attracted to asses? What if you enjoy ass play without penetration? Can you also be a top or bottom?

Of course you can! The human experience is complex, diverse, and sometimes contradictory, especially within the realms of human sexuality.

Reducing things to just a few choices and expecting everyone to fall into these arbitrary categories is unrealistic and places restrictions on the vast possibilities of human expression.

It is important to remember that the terms “top” and “bottom” can apply to a sexual position, role, or power dynamic, so they can take on multiple meanings depending on context.

I have described myself as a side for several years now, but to be explicit, I really do like ass. Sometimes a lot. My taste for ass has increased over time.

I have cum to realize that I enjoy many things about ass play and topping, except for anal penetration. That is why I was reluctant to call myself a top for many years, because penetration has become so deeply ingrained in the terminology.

These days, I am embracing my desire to be a top. Sometimes I combine the two terms as “side/top,” but on occasion I really feel like leaning more into the top aspect.

I coined the term “no-pen top” as an alternative, and I have really been enjoying it because it expresses a specific desire: to top without penetration.

It is an exciting revelation because it takes the pressure off and allows me to be a top on occasion and still respect my own boundaries.

Any combination is possible, of course, including no-pen bottom and no-pen versatile. The key is to expand our language and understanding, not limit it. I hope to see this terminology catch on.

Here’s a funny little mnemonic for you: “No-pen means the hole is not O-pen!”

Humping & Grinding & Frotting—Oh My!

There are several ways to enjoy ass play without penile penetration, including rimming or eating ass (anilingus) and spanking or impact play.

But how exactly does one fuck without penetration? It’s not as complicated as it may seem.

Humping and grinding both describe pelvic thrusting. Humping is when someone thrusts their groin against another person’s body.

Grinding can refer to any body parts thrusting together, but it often describes when someone thrusts their posterior backward, much like twerking.

This is not ubiquitous, however, as the terms are often used interchangeably.

These words are also used to describe penetrative sex, which is my point: it involves the same motions and similar bodily friction, so it’s still fucking whether or not penetration is involved.

Frottage is a term that dates back to the late 19th century. It refers to any type of body-rubbing, thrusting, humping, and grinding that is non-penetrative.

In the near future, I will be publishing an article in which I go into greater detail about the history of frottage.

Intergluteal Sex

Also known as:
ass grinding, ass frottage, buttfrot, assjob, ass cheek fucking, hot-dogging

Just as it sounds, intergluteal sex is thrusting the penis in between the glutes or ass cheeks. The bottom may squeeze his cheeks around the cock, or the top can manually press them together.

Depending on the position, this can be done a couple of different ways: the cock can slide up the intergluteal cleft (“ass crack”) towards the back, or pointing downward from above.

These activities can be done nude or clothed. It is often referred to as “dry humping” when some degree of clothing is involved. Some guys like to frot in shorts, underwear, jockstraps, G-strings, hosiery, or singlets.

It is rare in gay porn, especially as the main sex act leading to ejaculation. If it occurs at all, it is usually as foreplay leading to anal sex. It would be really wonderful to see more men enjoying this together.

In contrast, it seems to be quite prevalent in straight porn. Many straight men love booty, especially if their partner is wearing sexy panties. In these scenarios, it is also common for the woman to be in control and grind her ass on his cock.

I find it interesting that straight men are more inclined to participate in non-penetrative butt sex than gay men.

In any event, ejaculation can occur on the glutes, lower back, in the intergluteal cleft and perineum, and potentially other places.

Intercrural Sex

Also known as:
interfemoral sex, coitus interfemoris, thigh frottage, thigh sex, thigh fucking, thighjob

Intercrural is derived from Latin and it means “between the legs.” Interfemoral means “between the thighs.”

The penis is thrust between the thighs, stimulating the partner’s perineum and sometimes the genitals. The bottom often squeezes his thighs together to increase friction.

This can also be done a few different ways, from back-to-front or front-to-back. Alternatively, the receiving partner may be on top and “ride” the cock by moving his thighs up and down.

This form of sex is well-documented and much more prevalent throughout history than the intergluteal variety. For example, depictions on Ancient Greek vases occurred more frequently than anal penetration.

Interestingly, it was often mentioned in sodomy trials from the Middle Ages onward, so its approximation to anal sex has always been noted.

Although it remains overshadowed by anal penetration, there are several examples in gay porn. In straight porn, it occurs almost as frequently as intergluteal sex.

The ejaculation can shoot between the legs of the receiving partner, or on the perineum, thighs, and genitals.

Broaden Your Butt Horizons

Occasionally I see intergluteal sex referred to as “intercrural sex,” which is not quite accurate, but these two terms are closely related.

Sometimes the lines between them can become blurred, depending on the position of the sexual partners and the range of motion between the intergluteal cleft and the pubis.

Because it involves stimulation in a larger part of the butt area, I like to say that no-pen sex is about the whole ass instead of just the asshole (another mnemonic for you).

External stimulation of the anus (“hole teasing”) may or may not be included in these types of sexual activities, depending on the boundaries and preferences of both partners.

If either partner is uncomfortable for any reason, there should be no pressure to do any of this.

I encourage more people to introduce this topic to the conversation and assert their boundaries and desires to their partners.

There is nothing wrong with penetration if both partners consent, but it is important to remember that it is only one option of many.

Broaden your erotic horizons when it cums to butt stuff!

2 thoughts on “Topping & Bottoming WITHOUT Penetration!

    • Author gravatar

      Thanks for your always dependable insights and perspectives. It is upsetting that people still today base their view of what is a “real” relationship only on one thing – penetrative sex. The truth is that the options and the language for non-penetrative sex are expanding at wonderful rate – and they are based in reality and experiences of many.

    • Author gravatar

      Thank you for these explanations. Jargon and expectations can be so murky that it’s easily miscommunicated our desires.

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