Foreplay

Sex often starts by caressing, cuddling, kissing and stimulating each other’s erogenous zones (foreplay). When both partners are aroused, they may want to have sexual intercourse.

Foreplay example 1: a woman caressing a man.
Foreplay example 1: a woman caressing a man.
Foreplay example 2: a man and a woman cuddling.
Foreplay example 2: a man and a woman cuddling.
Foreplay example 3: a man and a woman kissing.
Foreplay example 3: a man and a woman kissing.
Foreplay example 4: a man licking a woman’s breast.
Foreplay example 4: a man licking a woman’s breast.

Vaginal sex

Vaginal sex (vaginal sexual intercourse) is sex with penetration of the woman’s vagina with a hard penis.

You can have vaginal sex in different ways:

  • You can vary the position: lying down, sitting, standing or crouching, the man on top, the woman on top or the man behind the woman.
  • You can vary the speed, rhythm and intensity of the movements.

You can also have vaginal sex using objects, like a dildo or a vibrator (sex toys).

Man and woman having sexual intercourse.

A woman can get pregnant through vaginal sex if she and her partner do not use a condom or other methods of contraception.

You can infect your partner with an STI through vaginal sex. A condom reduces the risk of getting an STI.

Condom

Oral sex

Oral sex means stimulating the erogenous zones on your partner’s body with your mouth, lips and tongue.

  • Oral sex with a woman: the partner licks, sucks, nibbles or gently bites the woman’s sexual organs. The clitoris, especially, is very sensitive.
  • Oral sex with a man: the partner uses his/her mouth, tongue and lips to stimulate the man’s penis and scrotum.

You can also stimulate your partner’s nipples or anus with your tongue.

A man giving a woman oral sex.
A man giving a woman oral sex.
A woman giving a man oral sex.
A woman giving a man oral sex.

There is a small risk of infecting your partner with an STI, or getting an STI from him/her, through oral sex:

Anal sex

Anal sex (anal sexual intercourse) is sex with penetration of someone’s anus with a hard penis. A man or woman can also penetrate the anus with a finger or caress it.

You can infect your partner with an STI through anal sex:

  • Use a condom. Use a new condom if you want to have vaginal sex or oral sex as well.
  • Use lots of lubricant. Use a water-based or silicone lubricant. Do not use oil or cream, as the condom might tear.
2 men having anal sex.

Masturbation

Masturbation means giving yourself sexual pleasure by stimulating your own body, especially the vagina, clitoris, penis, nipples or anus, with your hands or a sex toy. Partners can also masturbate each other.

Talking with your partner

You can have sex in different ways. Not everyone wants sex in the same way. Talk about it with your partner and try to find what you both like.

Couple talking in bed.

More information or help needed?

Family doctor
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Wijkgezondheidscentrum
You can visit a family doctor in a community health centre. Other care professionals such as nurses and social workers also work at community health centres. Care is provided free of charge. Find a community health centre in your neighbourhood:
CAW - Centrum Algemeen Welzijn
Centre for general well-being - Help with all kinds of issues: a difficult relationship, medical, financial, administrative, legal or material problems, family problems,... CAWs also provide assistance to victims of violence and abuse. Find a CAW in your neighbourhood:
More health professionals

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