7 Types of Sex

When it comes to sex, we’re all different. While intercourse may be a part of sex for some of us, it’s not the only sort of sex out there and it’s important we acknowledge that all sex is sex. In this post, we’re going to touch on seven types of sex, and how consenting sexual pleasure in all its forms is a valid and valuable experience for each one of us.

Illustration of two hands clasped together on bedsheets with the text 'All sex is sex'

From what we learn in sex ed, to the movies we watch, it can become easy to think of sex in a certain way. However, sex is not just one act. There has always been a wide and wonderful spectrum when it comes to sexual pleasure. Our desires and our dislikes vary, as do our libidos. What’s important is that all sex is consensual and that it makes you feel good. Now, let’s take a look at some of the different types of sex...

1. Erogenous touching

We’ll start with an all-rounder. From head to toe, different parts of our bodies offer different sensations. Exploratory touching lets us discover these erogenous areas and is a type of non-penetrative sex that can build trust and knowledge. It can also be highly erotic! 

For some individuals, it’s possible to reach orgasm through nipple stimulation alone, while others may equally enjoy erogenous touching, cuddling or kissing without reaching climax. Just do whatever feels good we say...

2. Oral sex

Let’s take a minute to talk about oral. This type of sex involves using the mouth to stimulate the genitals. For some people, oral sex is the best kind of sex, for others it’s not enjoyable. Some people might like giving oral sex, but don’t like receiving it, or the other way around. All feelings about oral sex are valid and there’s no right or wrong way to react to it.

Clear communication with your partner can help you understand what you are both comfortable with when it comes to oral pleasure. While you can’t get pregnant from oral sex, using a condom can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

3. Anal sex

Regardless of gender, sex or sexual orientation, anal sex can be enjoyed by anyone, but that also doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. As with all types of sex, it’s really important to talk about what you are and aren’t comfortable doing. 

You need to use lubricants when having anal sex because the anus doesn’t naturally create its own lubrication, and this can make sex painful if you’re not prepared. While it’s not possible to get pregnant from anal sex, it is possible to get pregnant if ejaculate gets into the vagina. You can also use a condom to protect against STIs.

4. Masturbation

Did you know that solo sex is still sex? You don’t need anyone else to be present to validate your own sexual experience. It can also be a useful way to discover your own preferences in a safe space without fear of being judged, and we can’t stress enough that you should never feel ashamed of masturbation

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, masturbation can be a healthy part of anyone’s sex life. If you’re comfortable with sharing the experience with your partner, masturbation can also help you teach each other what you most enjoy, and can ultimately be a healthy part of a shared sex life. Remember, it’s also fine if you want to keep it just for you.

5. Vaginal sex

When it comes to talking about sex, many minds might go straight to penis-in-vaginal intercourse. However, it’s simply not the only type of sex out there. It is still a type of sex, and one that made it onto this list for obvious reasons. This is the only type of sex that requires individuals to use birth control if they want to avoid pregnancy. As with oral and anal sex, using condoms during vaginal sex is also useful for preventing the spread of STIs. 

Interestingly, only about 18% of female orgasms come from vaginal intercourse, as the clitoris is the real pleasure center when it comes to female orgasms. However, vaginal intercourse can still be enjoyable with or without reaching climax or it can be practiced with clitoral stimulation, if that’s what works for you.

6. ‘Sex toy’ sex 

The word ‘sex toy’ might make them sound like playthings, but the extra stimulation provided by these intimate objects can lead to some serious pleasure. From wands, to rings, to sleeves, to dildos, these sex aids come in all shapes and sizes and are designed purely with pleasure in mind. 

Keep your intimate objects clean to avoid infections - in some cases you can also use condoms for added protection. Using lubricants with sex aids may make the experience more enjoyable, and keep in mind that they can be enjoyed on your own, or with company, depending on how you want to use them.

7. Phone sex

It’s easy to get hung up on being physical, but you don’t need to be in the same room, or even the same city to have sex. Whether it’s a bit of breathy aural foreplay, a virile video call or simply some steamy sexting, phone sex isn’t just reserved for those in long-distance relationships, or even those who want to practice social distancing (but it is useful).

Phone sex can also create a safe space to explore untapped fantasies while getting dirty down the line can be a great way to strengthen communication and build trust without being physically intimate.

Get to know your body & sex life better

Thanks for checking out our list of seven types of sex! Of course, this post only scratches the surface, and there are plenty more ways to explore pleasure out there. Promoting knowledge around sexual health is an important part of our mission here at Natural Cycles, and while we’re primarily a birth control method, we believe an inclusive approach to how we talk about sex benefits everyone.

Natural Cycles is the first FDA cleared birth control app. It can help you prevent pregnancy hormone-free or plan pregnancy if and when you’re ready to start a family. The app also offers a unique learning experience as you can track how your body changes throughout your menstrual cycle by logging libido levels, different types of pain, mood changes and more. 

Test your knowledge about types of sex

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

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