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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Between the Sheets: Not your nana's abstinence—sexy tips for students who don't have sex

All articles featured in Almanac are creative, satirical and/or entirely fictional pieces. They are fully intended as such and should not be taken seriously as news.

In case y’all missed it, last week was sexual health week around the country. Here at UW-Madison, we had some events including pole dancing lessons from Miss Pole, a Chimera self-defense class, the screening of the first ever feature-length documentary focused entirely on masturbation called “Sticky” and even a sexual health carnival in Library Mall with games and hella free safer-sex supplies.

A huge part of sexual health includes recognizing the validity of not having sex (aka abstinence), and all the fun and sexy things one can do in lieu of intercourse.

Contrary to popular belief, not all college students are having sex. Many people haven’t had sex because of religious reasons, because the right down-to-clown cutie hasn’t come along just yet or because they simply don’t feel ready.  

To be clear, when I say sex I am not limiting that to penis-in-vagina intercourse. Sex can be an encompassing term for many different activities between all different bodies.

No matter why someone is not doing the deed, there are tons of oh-so-sexy activities one can do instead.

We’ll start off with the one, the only, masturbation. As the saying goes: Masturbation—it’s sex with someone you love! Masturbation is the trustiest tool we have in our belts. Whether we’ve never had sex or we’re just on a little hiatus, we can always count on masturbation to cum through.

There are oodles of benefits to pleasuring ourselves. One huge perk is that we have complete autonomy over when, where and how it happens. As long as we aren’t hurting ourselves or anyone else, we can feel free to diddle the skittle and buff the banana to our heart’s content.

Masturbation requires the time of one person and one person only: you! This is a huge and sometimes overlooked benefit. Only have five minutes to rub one out? Great! Want to put on some mood music and spend the whole night “dancing by yourself?” Fantastic! Accounting for the needs of only one person allows us to get what we need, when we need it.

If we’re looking to add a little buzz or extra tug to our sessions of self-love we can visit A Woman’s Touch, or go online to find masturbatory toys and tools worth writing home about.

For folks with phalluses (peens, willies, dongs), things like fleshlights and masturbation sleeves can feel really good and provide sensations that might be a nice change from the trusty ol’ hand.

Fleshlights are flashlight-shaped tools that are hard on the outside and squishy on the inside. The inside has an opening for a penis and is oftentimes shaped like a vulva, anus or other genitalia.

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Masturbation sleeves are tube-shaped devices that go around a penis to provide extra sensation.

When picking out a masturbation toy, it’s helpful to think about what kind of sensation one might be looking for. Do I want it to feel like I’m penetrating something? Do I want ridges or dots? Some masturbation sleeves even have a little pocket for a bullet vibrator. What a time to be alive!

Pals with vulvas also have a pleasure chest of fun to choose from. The plethora of vibrators and dildos available at sex shops and online is truly something to behold. Similar to picking out a masturbation toy for a penis, we’ll want to decide what sensation we’re looking for. Do I want to feel like I’m being penetrated? Maybe I should pick out a dildo! Do I want to feel a fluttery or throbby sensation on my clitoris? It’s straight to the vibrator aisle for me!

With vibrators, we can also choose to start small with a bullet vibrator and work up to the legendary Magic Wand (a very powerful and well-known electric vibrator), if we’re not sure what intensity and sensation we’re looking for.

The best part about masturbation tools is that they teach us what feels good so we can make informed decisions about what toys we want to buy in the future, and not to mention what we might want from a future partner.

Someday we may find ourselves in situations where we want to be intimate and sexual with someone else but we aren’t ready or don’t want to have sex yet. This is when we can turn to mutual masturbation, or masturbation 2.0, which can be a fantastic way for two people to get off while staying safe and taking notes for the future.

Mutual masturbation is as simple as it sounds; two people in one room gettin’ their jollies. This activity is both steamy and safe since everyone keeps their fluids to themselves.

Masturbation is amazing, but it’s not the only sexy non-sex activity. We can’t forget about outercourse and frottage. Outercourse is a sort of catch-all term for hot activities to do with a partner that don’t include penetration or direct genital-to-genital contact. On a basic level, we can think of it as kissing, feeling, touching, groping and all that good stuff.

Frottage is an ultra-arousing component of outercourse. Many of us probably know it better as “dry humping” or two people grinding on each other with their clothes on. It can be crazy erotic and even orgasmic because of the friction produced by layers of clothing. We may find that getting frisky without getting naked adds tension that will have us trembling.

Outercourse can also apply to non-touching activities like dirty talk, writing erotica, phone sex, strip tease—the possibilities are endless.

Even if we aren’t planning on having sex any time soon, we can still use words to show our boos how much they turn us on.

Think how sexy it could be to get dirty little notes from a love bug. When it comes to writing erotica, I highly recommend a pen and paper. Sexting is great for instant gratification, but it also comes with some risks. No matter what medium we choose, we should feel confident that our partners will keep what we create private.

Part of the reason dirty talk—either verbal or written—is so titillating is because of the element of vulnerability involved. Telling our partners what we would like to do to them or what we would like them to do to us sometimes takes a little courage. The key is to say it with confidence and to be open to laughing about it when we miss the mark a little.

Ultimately, we should remember that just because we are not having sex doesn’t mean we are not still sexual beings. In fact, finding other ways to be intimate with ourselves and our sweeties will probably make us more creative and well-versed if or when there comes a time when we decide to get it on.

Want to know where to purchase a really quality lamp on campus? Anna actually could make some good suggestions about that, but she’s also very knowledgeable about sex. Email her at

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