Despite the language we have to describe it, foreplay does not actually exist.

The traditional definition of foreplay is "sexual activity that precedes intercourse."

The traditional definition of intercourse is "sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a man's erect penis into a woman's vagina, typically culminating in orgasm and the ejaculation of semen."

Is it just us, or do those definitions seem extremely limiting to you? What about anal sex? Or oral? Or penetration with a sex toy, finger, or other miscellaneous tube-shaped instrument? How about cunnilingus, masturbation or cybersex?

Of course, these definitions hold true true for certain people in certain relationships. But they can be both problematic and alienating for the millions of people who don't practice "traditional" intercourse, whose mode of sexual expression are not provided for by our current way of speaking.

We need a linguistic solution to this problem.That's why we think we should broaden our definition of sex to include foreplay, and stop using that word altogether.

After all, for many of us, "foreplay" is the sex. For one reason or another, penetration is either a rejected choice or not an option, and the acts that we define as foreplay are actually the main event.

Think about lesbian sex for a second. Unless there's a man involved, no one's getting vaginally penetrated with a penis, and there is no explosive ejaculation of sperm.

But the chicks are still fucking each other. They're eating each other out, fingering, kissing, and maybe using toys. They're still having sex, still going "all the way,"  just not in a way that our current lexicon accommodates for because we tend to define what they're doing as "foreplay."

Same story with gay sex. You could absolutely argue that anal sex counts as sex despite its definition in our lexicon, but still; many gay men don't practice anal sex at all. Some men consider blow jobs to be sex; an act that categorically falls under the umbrella of "foreplay" in our language. Yet by not acknowledging the blowjob as sex, there's an implication that what they did was a step down from the "real thing."

Same story with straight sex in which no one's penis goes in a hole.

To us, that just seems wrong. Why imply, when two people are perfectly certain they're fucking each other, that they're not?

Yet, sexuality itself isn't the issue here; it's the definition of what sex actually is, something that's both hotly debated and highly subjective.

The bottom line is, sex is whatever it means to you. If you consider oral sex "sex," congratulations it is. If you think it's anal, it is. If you think it's dry humping in a hammock, fuck it: that's sex.

Penetrative sex is not the end-all, be-all coital behavior, something sex researchers and activists are increasingly trying to relay to the people they educate.

"Foreplay does not exist. It's just not a thing," said sex educator Jack Lamon of Toronto's infamous Come As You Are sex toy shop on Episode 496 of Dan Savage's Savage Lovecast. "It's just play. P-in-V sex is not the end-all, be-all play. God, there's just so much more out there."

Dan backed him up on air, saying "I completely agree. Talking about everything as foreplay frames P-in-V intercourse, or even PIA [penis in ass], or penis in … somewhere, as the terminus, as where you have to go or you didn't have sex is not okay."

Both these people are renowned, well-respected voices of sex education and sex positivity, and both advocated for eliminating foreplay from the sex lexicon.

When we make a categorical separation between foreplay and sex, we risk alienating the millions of people who don't partake in what we'd consider to be "traditional sex," aka, vaginal penetration. Instead, we should think of foreplay not as a step below sex or even an appetizer course before the entree, but acts that exist on the same playing field as penetration; acts meant to increase intimacy, fulfill desire and increase pleasure. Instead of calling something foreplay, let's call it whatever type of sex it is they're having, be it oral sex, anal sex, manual sex, sex with sex toys, etc. Changing our language around sex acts in this way could help concede that there are many types of sex outside the realm of vaginal penetration.

We're in no way suggesting we eliminate the acts we consider to be "foreplay." God no. Not at all. So-called "foreplay" is what makes the world go 'round, and many people rely on the acts associated with it to get off.

We're simply suggesting we broaden our definition of sex to include acts of foreplay so that we can include and respect the interests of people who don't fuck exactly the same as we do. Removing "foreplay" as a label also acknowledges that sex is an individual experience, capable of being defined not by society, but by the people actually involved. Sex is whatever you, personally, want it to be, and if you want it to be flinging rubber bands at an erect penis while listening to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael on a jetski, then you have our blessing. Good talk.