Brianne Hogan
September 05, 2019 6:30 am
David Jakle, Getty Images

Ah, dry humping. Some may know it as “frottage” and many of us have tried it, either alone or with a partner. Dry humping usually involves rubbing your private parts against your partner’s erection, vagina, knee, or leg. It could also involve rubbing against an inanimate object, like a sofa cushion, to feel pleasure and maybe reach orgasm.

Back in high school, I wasn’t having sex. But I was doing a lot of dry humping that may or may not have involved a sofa cushion from my parents’ couch (it did), and I may or may not have imagined David Duchovny or Kevin Costner while doing it (I did).

And it felt really good.

Dry humping isn’t just for horny teenagers. In fact, the art of frottage seems to be having some sort of renaissance, with celebs like Kaitlyn Bristowe and Ashlee Simpson proudly owning the fact that they like a good dry hump thrown into the bedroom mix.

How did this amazing sex act become associated with teenagers? McDevitt says because dry humping is all about sensations—with no penetration and little to no skin or fluids—the act is perfect for “younger people who may not be emotionally ready for skin-to-skin sexual activities, or may want to avoid pregnancy. So maybe this is where the stereotype came that it’s a sex act that is ‘only’ for adolescence, and then you grow out of. But really, anyone who doesn’t want, isn’t ready, or wants to avoid skin/fluid contact can enjoy it.”

If you’re down for some clothes-on-clothes action and a whole lotta rubbing, you need to know about dry humping—including the best positions to use—so you can add some frottage into your next sex session.

What exactly happens when you dry hump?

“Dry humping, which tends to involve rubbing, grinding, and stroking on the outside, can be an exciting prelude to other types of sex, or it can be a satisfying main event,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD., host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, tells HelloGiggles. “If you have a clitoris, cupping and rubbing on the outside can be an effective path to orgasm, as the pressure along the lips, clitoral hood, and pubic mound can also stimulate the internal erectile tissue of the clitoris.”

Because that’s really what’s being stimulated here: your clit. Adds McDevitt: “The glans clitoris, one of the most nerve-rich areas of the human body, is front and center during dry humping in ways that penis in vagina (PIV), and even cunnilingus, is not.” Dry humping allows you to control the pressure, which many clits needs for orgasm.

“You also control the rhythm, again, in ways that PIV, oral, and fingering do not,” says McDevitt. “Essentially, it’s the best of both worlds: the best of masturbation, in which you get full control over exactly how you want it, and the best of partnered sex, in which you get that intimacy and excitement of face-to-face erotic touch.”

Why does dry humping feel so good?

Because dry humping is “clit-centric,” it’s especially mind-blowing for those people with clitorises. Which, McDevitt says, is probably why dry humping is typically overlooked as a viable sexual practice. “When something is clit-centric, it’s something our culturally anointed sex acts tend not to care about,” she says.

While penises are all about receiving pleasure from outercouse, dry humping is ripe for clitoral orgasms. However, that’s not to say the penis won’t receive any sexual satisfaction from the act.

“If you have a penis, dry humping can also be highly pleasurable as you stroke the shaft and head against a firm surface: the bed, your partner’s back, thighs, butt or other body part, or a vibrating toy,” says O’Reilly. Additionally, McDevitt recommends putting lube inside of the penis partner’s underwear.

You don’t have to be totally dry to dry hump.

“Dry humping is a bit of a misnomer, because you don’t always stay dry while grinding against your partner’s body,” says O’Reilly. “You may find that your body produces natural fluids like vaginal lubrication and/or ejaculate as you grind—even through clothing. And you don’t have to stay fully clothed; you can also rub and press up against one another without penetration using lube to create a slippery surface.”

Here’s how to dry hump really, really well.

Below, O’Reilly provides her go-to tips for a satisfying frottage session.

The leg-grind: One partner lies on their back and the other straddles one leg to ride, grind, and stroke to their heart’s delight.

The snake: One partner lies on their stomach and the other lies on top of them. The bottom partner can rub against their hand, a toy, or a mattress, and the top partner can grind against their lover’s butt and thighs.

The face-sit: One partner lies on their back and the other partner sits on their face to rub and grind.

The oral rub: Rub yourself off against your partner’s leg while you go down on them.

The spoon: In a spooning a position, the rear partner rubs against the backside of the front partner; both partners reach around to rub the front partner’s genitals.

The make-out: You make out fully clothed like you did when you were teenagers and rub off on one another’s legs, hips, or hands.

The rider: One partner lies on their back and the other mounts them to grind against their pelvis.

The reverse-rider: Turn around to face your partner’s feet.

Sounds pretty steamy for such a dry event, right? Don’t be shy—add some frottage into your next sex session.

Advertisement