Sexual intercourse can be pleasurable, romantic, satisfying, and fun. Yet, oftentimes, sex is met with anxieties over performance and sexual positions. In this article, the Sexperts have compiled a list of common, and easy-to-try, sex positions. There are many variations for each position, and these suggestions are not limited to opposite-sex couples. The difficulty of each position will vary among different couples, and thus it is important to have open communication between partners when trying something new. It is best to experiment in a comfortable and relaxed environment. Open communication is important to help partners find the positions that will provide satisfaction and exhilaration.
Unless partners want to become pregnant, it is important to always use a barrier form of contraception during the entirety of all sexual activities to prevent against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Barrier contraception should also be used during oral and anal sex. Recommended barrier contraceptives include male and female condoms. To be most effective in preventing pregnancy, the Sexperts recommend using a barrier contraceptive with another form of contraception, including, but not limited to, birth control pills, the intrauterine device, the contraceptive implant, and the diaphragm.
*In our examples, we use feminine pronouns to represent the receiving partner and masculine pronouns to represent the penetrating/giving partner. We use these pronouns for simplicity in understanding, but please understand that these positions can also apply same-sex couples!
Missionary – This position involves the receiving partner lying flat on her back while the penetrating partner positions himself comfortably on top of his partner. There are many variations for this position, including putting a pillow underneath the receiving partner's pelvis for elevation and deeper penetration. 1
Girl-On-Top (Cowgirl/Cowboy) - This position involves the receiving partner kneeling above her partner and lowering herself onto him such that the partners are facing one another. This position allows a great amount of control for the receiving partner. For females, it also provides significant vaginal stimulation and clitoral stimulation. Variations of this position include, the receiving partner rocking back and forth, or leaning backwards to use her partner’s ankles for balance and support. 1
Reverse Cowgirl/Cowboy – This position is very similar to the Cowgirl/Cowboy position mentioned above; the primary difference is that the receiving partner is facing the other direction. The receiving partner kneels over her partner with her back towards him. She can then lower herself down and control most of the penetration. To increase the pleasure for the receiving partner, she can lean back against her partner’s chest, allowing him to stimulate her manually while she is being penetrated. This position provides the most control for the receiving partner. She may simply rock back and forth, twist her hips in circular motions, or bounce up and down during penetration. 2
Doggy-Style – This position is often enjoyable for both males and females. The penetrating partner gets most control regarding the speed and rhythm of the penetration, while it allows for better access to a female’s G-spot. A variation involves the receiving partner kneeling over on the bed, instead of the traditional position on all fours. For more novelty, she may try kneeling over other surfaces (the couch, kitchen table, etc.). The penetrating partner may stimulate the clitoris or testicles/penis of the receiving partner while simultaneously penetrating the vagina or anus from behind. 1
Stand and Deliver- This position is especially great for the receiving partner as it provides more stimulation to the G-spot. The receiving partner lies on her back on the bed with her legs dangling off the edge. The penetrating partner stands on the ground facing the receiving partner and carefully holds the receiving partner’s ankles. Her legs may naturally bend towards her chest. The penetrating partner should enter his partner carefully as this position narrows the vagina/anus. While the penetrating partner is thrusting, the receiving partner may manually stimulate herself or her partner. 2
Side-By-Side - This position involves one partner, usually the penetrating partner, lying behind the other. Both partners should be lying on their sides, facing the same way. This position may provide more stimulation of the G-spot and can make it easier for the penetrating partner to stimulate his partner’s breasts or clitoris. The receiving partner may also have an easier time stimulating her own breasts or clitoris during penetration. For female same-sex couples, one partner may lie behind the other while providing manual stimulation to her partner. This position is intimate, since there is increased contact between the partners’ bodies. The position also allows for increased access to the erogenous zones around the ear and neck of the receiving partner. 1
Reclining- This position involves the receiving partner lying on her back, with her legs bent and her feet flat on the bed. The giving partner may kneel or lie face down in between the receiving partner’s legs to perform oral sex, or manual stimulation. This position is great for two females as the giving partner could use a strap-on or other sex toys to provide increased stimulation to the G-spot. Variations of this position include resting the legs on the giving partner’s shoulders, or putting a pillow underneath the receiving partner’s back.4
Flat Iron- This position gives the receiving partner greater vaginal/anal please because the inserting angle is tighter. The receiving partner lies face down on the bed with her legs straight and hips slightly elevated. The penetrating partner enters from behind, with his face towards his partner and using his arms to prop himself up. To make the position easier and more comfortable, the receiving partner may place a pillow underneath her hips. 3
Sideways - This unique position provides easy access to a female’s clitoris and allows for deep penetration. The female partner usually lays down on her side with one leg elevated. Her partner kneels between her legs, such that their bodies perpendicular to each other. The penetrating partner may rest his partner’s leg on his shoulder, or hold onto it for balance during penetration. The receiving partner may touch her own breasts or clitoris during the penetration. 3
The Octopus - This position (usually intended for opposite-sex couples) involves the male sitting down with his hands placed on the ground behind him and his legs extended, but bent slightly at the knees. The female sits on his lap, facing her partner and placing her hands on the floor behind her for support. She then raises both of her legs to rest on each of his shoulders. This position usually involves rocking back and forth and can take some time to get used to. It is easiest when both partners are in sync with the rhythm of penetration.3
69- This position works great for all couples and allows oral stimulation for both partners. One partner lies flat facing up, while the other gently positions her/his genitals to the partner’s mouth. Both partners perform oral sex simultaneously. If a female is on top, she can move her pelvis up and down to control the stimulation of her clitoris. 2
The Elevator- This position is great for same-sex male couples and heterosexual couples. It involves the receiving partner standing up, while the giving partner kneels down in front of the standing partner to perform fellatio, or oral sex.2
Sitting- The receiving partner sits on the edge of an object such as a table, couch, or bed and the giving partner kneels on the ground with his head in between the receiving partner’s knees. The giving partner can massage the receiving partner’s clitoris with his tongue and may use his hands to massage the receiving partner’s breasts. If the partners are using a flat surface, the receiving partner may lie back in order to relax more. 4
The Hot Seat – The penetrating partner sits on the edge of a bed or couch with his feet on the ground. The receiving partner sits on his lap with her face the same direction as his. The receiving partner can control the angle she wants and how fast she wants penetration. This position is great for G-spot stimulation for the female, and for prostate stimulation for the male.2
The G-Whiz- The receiving partner lies on her back, while the penetrating partner kneels his legs facing the receiving partner in an upright position. The receiving partner then puts her legs on the shoulders of the penetrating partner. This position allows access to deep penetration and stimulation to the G-spot. The penetrating partner should initially thrust slowly to avoid causing pain for the receiving partner. 2 While the penetrating partner is thrusting, the receiving partner can massage her clitoris.2
The Pretzel - This position can be enjoyable for many couples because of the heightened level of intimacy. The pretzel is best for opposite-sex couples, since same-sex couples would not be able to easily stimulate each others genitals. For opposite-sex couples, the male usually sits down with his legs crossed (Indian-style) and his partner sits on his lap facing him, wrapping her legs around his waist. The partners may rock back and forth or bounce slightly up and down during penetration. This position makes it easy to kiss, hug and touch your partner's upper body during penetration, which may create more closeness and intimacy.2
Standing Up- The easiest way to have sex standing up is when the penetrating partner lifts the other up as she wraps her legs around his waist. However, this is one of the more difficult positions because it requires physical strength from both partners. To maintain balance during this position, it is wise to lean against a wall or other sturdy surface. This position works well in showers, but partners should be cautious at all times because of the increased chance of slipping and falling. It may be easier to start off this position sitting down on a bed or a chair, then having the penetrating partner stand up once he feels comfortable, and then proceed to move against a wall for better balance.2
The Leg Lift - This is a variation of the standing position, but can be more difficult if one or both partners are not as flexible as the position requires. However, there are multiple ways to do the standing leg lift position. The first is to have the receiving partner (usually the female) stand with her back against a wall with her partner standing in front of her. Slowly, the female may lift one of her legs up, resting it on the crook of her partner's elbow. Her partner may help her with balance by holding her steady. Having the leg elevated will lead to deeper penetration. For same-sex couples, this position may be used for females using vibrators, manual stimulation or strap-ons, and each partner may trade off being the receiving partner. A more difficult version of this position would be lifting the receiving partner’s leg all the way up to her partner’s shoulder and resting it there. Depending on the height and flexibility of the partners, this may not be as easy as the first variation.3
Weak in the Knees – The giving partner lies on the bed, while the receiving partner carefully kneels down with each knee on the side of the giving partner’s face. The receiving partner positions her body so that her clitoris is above the giving partner’s lips. This position is great for cunnilingus, but can also be used with other sex toys and manual stimulation. The giving partner may put his hand on the receiving partner’s hips or butt. This is a great position for two woman having sex with another, but can be done with heterosexual couples as well. 4
All of the Sexpert Approved recommendations can be suitable for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Each couple is unique and adjustments to these positions may be necessary. Part of the fun is to explore and discover what feels better. There are more positions you can find on the Internet or in magazines. Pornography can be a good source to find ideas for novel positions. However be mindful that the porn industry edits and alters the footage to hyper sexualize the act, which can lead to unrealistic expectations of what sex looks like.
It is important to have fun when trying different positions, if neither you nor your partner enjoy a particular position that is completely normal and okay. Effective communication is key when attempting any new sexual activity, as it provides a comfortable environment where you can express what feels good, bad, etc. Exploring these different sex positions is an intimate way to grow closer with your partner and help you both discover what feels most pleasurable. Most importantly, the Sexperts stress that you use appropriate contraception such as condoms, and other forms of birth control, to prevent the spread of STI’s and reduce the chances of unexpected pregnancy. Have fun exploring different positions and contact the Sexperts here if you have any further questions!
- Thompson, Dennis, Jr. "Sexual Positions for Better Lovemaking." EverydayHealth.com. 08 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “45 Best Sex Positions Every Couple Should Try.” Men’s Health. 09 Dec. 2016. Web 21 Jan. 2017.
- Blades, Nicole. "36 Sex Positions Everyone Should Try in Their Lifetime." Women's Health. Women's Health, 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- Marin, Vanessa. "The 5 Best Lesbian Sex Positions For Female Orgasm." Bustle. Bustle, 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
Last Updated: 7 February 2017.