The 10 Best Sexual Positions (Plus 6 Special Twists) for Satisfying Sex
There are many different types of sex positions that bring mutual satisfaction, but the best positions are the ones that both you and your partner can enjoy. Have you tried these 16?
As the Kama Sutra — that ancient Indian book on sexuality — shows us, sexual activity is a pursuit of infinite variety. There are hundreds of hot sex positions for couples that bring male and female bodies together for mutual pleasure. If you're in a heterosexual relationship, knowing a variety of sex positions can help you be a better and more inventive lover for your partner.
What Are the Best Ways To Have Mutually Satisfying Sex?
That answer is different for every couple. "I would define the best position as the position that works best for the individual or individuals involved,” says Tameca Harris-Jackson, PhD, LCSW, a certified sex educator, sex therapist, and founder of Hope and Serenity Health Services, a counseling center in Altamont Springs, Florida. "Trying different sex positions actually offers an opportunity to bring different ways of experiencing pleasure into sexual intimacy and a sexual relationship,” Harris-Jackson says. “You can eat the same meal every day for 20 years but it doesn’t mean you’re going to get the most joy out of it. You’re just getting the nutrients. But if you try to add a little bit of parsley to that meal, you might taste it in a different way and it might become a more exciting meal. And that’s what having new positions in a relationship can do.”
There are nonphysical factors to consider, too. Take intimacy, for example. For many people, especially women, intimacy can lead to better sexual experiences because partners are comfortable and trusting enough to ask for what they desire and to try new things.
Many couples are figuring out exactly those benefits, according to research funded by the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana that examined sex during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
An online survey of 1,559 adults showed that while people had less frequent sex during the first weeks of the pandemic, they were more willing to try new things — which included sexting, sharing sexual fantasies, and experimenting with new sex positions. A commentary about the results was published in the June 2020 issue of the journal Leisure Sciences.
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Why It’s Important to Try New Sexual Positions
“We know that this has been a really stressful period of time and that can make it hard to get aroused and stay aroused,” says study coauthor Justin L. Lehmiller, PhD, research fellow at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, and host of the Sex and Psychology Podcast. “Trying something new can amp up your arousal. Trying new things is about self-discovery — what works for your body, your relationship, and that’s going to have lifelong benefits.”
You don’t have to be a gymnast to make these moves pay off. Don’t think “crazy sex positions,” rather, think new sex positions to create more heat between the sheets.
“Not every position is for everyone and that’s okay,” says Dr. Lehmiller. “But even if the positions described here don’t work for you (maybe you’ve already tried them), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new and different things. Novelty is one of the things that keeps us interested in coming back for more. When sex is the same every time, we tend to lose interest. New positions are a handy way of adding an element of novelty and newness to our sex lives.”
1. The Missionary Position or Face to Face
Potential Benefits or Caveats Intimate but not necessarily mutually satisfying
Details It's a simple sex position: The woman lies on her back with her legs spread and her knees bent slightly. The man lies between her legs and guides his penis into her vagina, supporting his body weight with his arms or elbows.
The problem with this sexual position is that the missionary position is not as good at delivering pleasure to women. The man's pelvis can sometimes stimulate the clitoris in this position, and it offers great intimacy through face-to-face contact. But the angle of the penis does not allow for deep penetration or stimulation of the G-spot (felt through a location on the front wall of the vagina, and believed by some experts to be a stimulus for orgasm in women). Some women also complain that this sex position doesn't provide enough clitoral stimulation to experience climax.
One study, published in August 2020 in Sexual Medicine by researchers in the Czech Republic, surveyed 1,100 people about 13 different sex positions and revealed that most people still choose missionary position even though it does not correlate with orgasm for women.
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If the most used sex position is not offering women consistent orgasms, then one important thing to do to “close the orgasm gap” might be to try a new sex position, says Lehmiller. In other words, don't limit yourself to the missionary position.
"In most cultures, it is not the most used position," says Beverly Whipple, PhD, RN, a certified sexuality educator and professor emerita at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
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If you are looking to spice up your sexual experience and enjoy better sex, try some of these female-friendly positions. Many afford partners the chance for clitoral stimulation, which, according to a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy in February 2018, is what 36.6 percent of women said they needed during sexual intercourse in order to reach orgasm. Another 36 percent said while they might reach orgasm through intercourse alone, clitoral stimulation with intercourse made their orgasms feel better.
2. Woman on Top or Cowgirl
Potential Sensual Benefits or Caveats Penetration depth and sensations vary; clitoral stimulation
Details In this sex position, the man lies on his back, and the woman faces him and kneels, straddling his pelvis and guiding his penis into her vagina. She can then sit up or lie down on him.
"This is a great position for a woman to control the depth of penetration," Dr. Harris-Jackson says. When the woman is on top, she can control how much of the penis she wants. “It’s also a good position to get multiple forms of stimulation. With the woman’s body upright, the nipples can be engaged, which can lead to extra arousal. It is good for having access to the clitoris for stimulation.”
The woman can also choose whether to bounce up and down, grind, or make hip circles — each delivering a slightly different sensation. Says Harris-Jackson: “This is also a good position for a person with a penis if they have back issues because it’s almost a resting position for them.” Men who are very responsive to visual stimuli, can lie back and watch the female partner.
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3. Reverse Cowgirl or Reverse Rider on Top
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats Buttocks play, visual stimulations, opportunities for variations; may cause pain
Details The man lies on his back on the bed while the woman sits astride him, facing her partner’s feet, and slips the penis into her vagina. The woman can control the rhythm and pace of the thrusts. This position can be especially exciting for the penetrating partner, who gets to observe the back and buttocks of his partner. Squeezing or grabbing the buttocks can enhance the experience for both. This position can be tricky to master since it requires the woman to lean back or sit up very straight to accommodate the angle of the penis. “If you’re leaning forward, it can be painful and uncomfortable for the man because it could almost feel like his penis is breaking,” says Harris-Jackson, who recommends having your partner bend his knees and then bracing yourself with your hands against his thighs or putting your hands behind you on his waist or on pillows on either side of him.
Switch It Up “This may be one of those positions that is better in theory than in practice,” says Lorrae Jo Bradbury, sex and love coach, founder of SluttyGirlProblems.com and LorraeJo.com. “You might want to use it as a foreplay position, grinding on his penis before you begin intercourse.”
4. Doggy Style or Rear Entry
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats Deep penetration, G-spot stimulation, but position can feel impersonal
Details In this position, the woman kneels on all fours, supporting herself with her hands and knees. The man crouches behind her and enters her vagina from behind. This is the best sex position for deep penetration of the vagina. It gives the man freedom to thrust his pelvis hard and fast, and allows him to caress much of the woman's body. The position also allows for good G-spot stimulation.
Switch It Up Some women complain that this sex position is too impersonal because there's no face-to-face contact. “If you want closer eye contact with this position,” says Bradbury, move your knees closer to your chest and arch your back so your partner can lean into you near your face and you can make eye contact. Bradbury says you can also try this position in front of a mirror so you can see one another’s faces.
Note: The research published in the August 2020 Sexual Medicine study looked at 13 different sex positions and found that doggy style is not usually associated with female orgasms. If it doesn’t work for you or your partner, keep experimenting.
5. The Corkscrew
Potential Sensual Benefits or Caveats Intense, deep penetration
Details Leaning forward, the woman lies on edge of bed, resting on the hip and forearm while her partner enters her vagina from behind. The woman can keep her thighs together for a tighter hold on the penis. But if she opens her legs, the clitoris is exposed for stroking while man thrusts from behind. “You’re getting that deeper penetration like doggy style, but this may be an easier and more comfortable position,” says Bradbury.
Switch It Up Your partner can easily lean down to make out with you and the clitoris is in easy reach, according to Bradbury.
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6. Side by Side or Sideways
Potential Sensual Benefits or Caveats Deep eye contact and intimacy
Details The man and woman lie on their sides, facing each other. The woman lifts her top leg so the man can insert his penis. She can then wrap the leg around his waist or across his leg. This position is great for morning sex when you might be a little sleepy, says Bradbury.
It offers a lot of intimacy because you are close to your partner’s face. The partners can kiss and caress each other during lovemaking. The sex position is relaxing, doesn't require a lot of stamina from either person, and offers an opportunity for good clitoral stimulation.
Switch It Up Penetration can be improved if the woman drapes both her legs over her partner’s waist, Bradbury says. This allows great access to the clitoris, which can be stimulated with a finger or with a toy. “I think this is a great position for everyone. It offers the comfort of cuddling, too.”
7. Flat Iron or Lazy Dog
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats Tightness on penetration, intense stimulation
Details The woman lies face down on the bed with legs straight and hips slightly raised. (You can place a pillow under your hips.) Her partner enters her vagina from behind. When on her stomach, the woman’s legs will be closer together, which in turn creates a snugger fit for her partner’s penis. This can lead to a new, more intense sensation. “This is a really good way to increase the experience of tightness for the penetrating partner,” Harris-Jackson says. “It’s also good for clitoral stimulation because the partner can reach around with his hand or a sex toy to provide dual stimulation. And, it’s a good position for G-spot stimulation because you’re angling the body so that the penis is in perfect alignment to stroke against the G-spot.”
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats With intense eye contact and clitoral stimulation, this can be an enhanced missionary position
Details In this position, the man sits on edge of bed, or in a comfortable seated position, while the woman climbs onto his lap, face to face, wrapping her legs behind him. The woman can control the pace of thrusting. This position also allows for direct clitoral stimulation and eye contact, which can increase intimacy.
Bonus: Your hands are free and you can touch and caress your partner’s body nearly anywhere you would like. “This is a really impactful position for people who are aroused with eye contact,” says Harris-Jackson. “It’s like missionary, but you are really face to face. It also takes some of the work off the person with the vagina because her partner can move her up and down by placing his hands on her hips.
Switch It Up The Lotus position is very similar to face-off, only the partner with the penis sits crossed-legged on the bed or chair.
9. Pretzel Dip
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats Deep penetration with potential for G-spot stimulation
Details The woman lies on her right side as the man straddles her right leg. The man then pulls his partner’s left leg up and around his left side and enters vagina. This position allows deep penetration while also allowing the intimacy of maintaining eye contact.
Switch it Up “You can also take your left leg and pull it toward your chest to get a deeper angle,” says Bradbury. “And you have amazing access to the clitoris for both partners.” Your hands will be free, which can allow you to run them all over each other’s body. Adds Harris-Jackson: “This position — depending on your angle — can also offer G-spot stimulation as well.”
10. CAT or the Coital Alignment Technique
Potential Sensual Benefits and Caveats Clitoral stimulation
Details If you want to rock rather than thrust, roll with CAT. This position is similar to missionary; the main difference is that the man pushes the base of his penis so that it lines up with the clitoris and the two body parts make contact. Once they do, the couple rock back and forth and maintain constant contact. “It’s a little bit different way of having sex,” says Lehmiller. “You rock back and forth rather than thrusting. Doing so prolongs the length of intercourse for the man and increases the odds of a woman having an orgasm because she’s having that constant stimulation.”
Keep Switching It Up: Sexual Variety Is Exciting
In our day-to-day lives, we tend to be very goal-oriented, says Harris-Jackson. “We wake up in the morning and it’s go, go, go to get out the door; we go, go, go to eat our food, to go to work. It creates a lot of stress and tension in our bodies and in our minds. Many patients that I see feel that sex becomes one more thing that they have to go, go, go and do. But sexual partners should be really with one another and feel pleasure together. Switching up positions can be very helpful to rekindle that connection. So, it can be helpful and fun to try something new.”