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What is dry sex?

Dry sex is a term that has different meanings to different people. Some people think it means taking off your clothes and going through the motions of sexual intercourse, thrusting and grinding and rubbing against each other’s bodies without ever having sex. Other people think it means going through the motions of sexual intercourse without taking off some or all of your clothes.

Dry sex can give you sexual pleasure and orgasms, so it’s definitely a type of sexual activity. But there’s less risk than with sexual intercourse. It’s a good idea to talk beforehand about how far you want to go and have safer sex supplies (like condoms and dental dams) nearby just in case.

For a guy and girl couple, dry sex with clothes on can’t result in a pregnancy. If ejaculation happens while wearing clothes, then there is no way for the sperm to get through the clothes and into the vagina. This form of dry sex also carries no or very low risk for sharing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

If there are no clothes on, however, and semen comes in contact with the opening of the vagina, pregnancy is possible.

This form of dry sex, no matter the sex of the partners, also carries a risk for many STDs. Some STDs such as herpes and HPV can be passed through skin-to-skin contact. This means that if a partner has a herpes sore on their upper thigh or in their groin region, and they rub this part of their body on their partner’s genitals, herpes can be transmitted. This is why discussing sexual histories is important, as is getting tested for STDs regularly. Find a clinic near you.

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