So Many Positions, So Little Time

There are many more possible positions for penetration than most people venture to explore. You may have found a position that works for you and basically gets the job done. Hopefully this position works for your lover too! But why stop there? There are many reasons to explore new positions, including the following:

• Trying new positions can help get you out of a rut in your sex life.

• Exploring alternative positions may put you more into your body.

• You may discover new sensations because of the angles that different positions offer.

• You may find a position that significantly increases your arousal.

• You might discover a position that increases the likelihood of, or improves the experience of, your orgasms.

Whether you are engaging in a mutually stimulating form of penetration or a form in which only one of you is being stimulated, you can potentially find yourselves in any number of positions. The more free you feel in your body to explore different positions, the more likely you are to discover positions that really work for you. The following are some common positions for penetration, including some variations you can try. But don't stop there! Get creative and see if you can come up with some of your own.

Missionary Position

The missionary position is by far the most common position for intercourse used around the world. This position can also be used for anal intercourse. In this position, the person being penetrated lies face up, and the one penetrating lies face down on top of the other. There are many variations of this, mostly related to how the person on the bottom places her legs. You can have your knees bent with your feet flat on the ground on either side of your male lover. Or your knees can be bent, legs separated and lifted into the air, or wrapped around your lover. Or one or both of your legs can lift on or over his shoulders or arms. The one penetrating can support himself with his arms, giving whatever amount of his weight works for you both.

The missionary position has the benefit of possible eye contact and the feeling of your vulnerable underbellies exposed to each other. In this position, you can also appreciate the visual of each other's faces and the front of your bodies. The one penetrating generally feels like he has a lot of control in this position to thrust and move his hips, enabling him to get the kind of penetration and stimulation that works best for him to achieve orgasm. If you like to be a passive recipient during penetration, the missionary position may work great for you. However, as the recipient, you can also rock and move your pelvis in a way that allows you to have some control of the stimulation being provided.

Play around with the variations at different stages of arousal to see what works when. As the person being penetrated gets more turned on and closer to orgasm, she will often want deeper penetration. For this, she may like the variation where her legs are up over her lover's shoulders or arms, which both tilts her pelvis at a nice angle and gives his penis greater accessibility to her vagina or anus.

Female-on-Top Positions

Female-on-top positions for intercourse are those in which—you guessed it—the woman is on top. Of course, these positions could also be used for a man receiving anal penetration. The partner doing the penetrating lies face up. There are many ways for the recipient of penetration to position herself. She can lie on top, face up or down, straddle her lover with legs straight out on either side of his torso, or with knees bent and feet flat on either side of him in a squatting position. She can also rest on her shins in a kneeling position, facing either toward his head or feet.


In the recipient-on-top position, it is very important to watch how you angle your pelvis when your lover's penis is inside you. There are certain angles that are challenging for some erect penises. Be sensitive toward your lover's penis and check with him to see what angles work and don't work.

There are many benefits of this position, particularly for certain variations. The recipient has more control over movement, and women have easy clitoral access. Both partners can gaze at each other, and hands are free for stroking each other's other erogenous zones. Women who like a lot of breast and nipple stimulation can benefit greatly from the variation in which she squats or kneels on top facing her lover. Also, the recipient does not actually have to be active in this position. She can be passive and allow her lover to move his pelvis underneath her.

Rear-Entry Positions

Rear-entry positions are those in which the penetration comes from behind. These positions are very versatile and can be easily adapted to many forms of penetration. Whether you are lying face down on top of one another, on all fours while he kneels behind you, or both standing, this position offers an angle for penetration that really works for many people. You may find this position feels very natural and helps you get in touch with your animal essence. This position also lends itself well to the fantasy of taking—or being taken by—your lover.

Side-Lying Positions

Side-lying positions are those in which one or both of you are lying, in some shape or form, on your side. You can face each other or face the same direction in a rear entry position. He can be on his side facing you, while you lie on your back and out to the side, forming a T-shape and scissoring your legs with his, one leg between his and the other over his hips. These variations can give you a break from more strenuous positions, give you some new angle or penetration possibilities, and can be great for clitoral and other erogenous zone stimulation.

Seated Positions

Seated positions for intercourse generally work only with the woman sitting on top of the man. They can be done in a chair, on a couch, in a bed, or on the floor. You can face each other or face the same direction in a rear-entry position. If you are facing each other in a chair without arms, she can dangle her legs off to the sides. If you are facing the same direction, he will probably need to slide forward on the chair a bit, and/or she will need to lean forward a little, in order for the position and angle of the penis to work.

Yab yum, Tibetan for “father-mother,” refers to a seated position often used in Tantra. In yab yum, the male sits in a cross-legged position, and the female sits on top of him, facing him, also cross-legged, wrapping her legs around him. These positions can provide very good depth of penetration, interesting angles to play with, and a lot of skin-to-skin contact that can feel particularly delightful and intimate. It can be harder, however, to apply certain penetration techniques, given the limited range of motion the hips are capable of in these positions.

Standing Positions

Standing positions are those in which one or both of you have your feet on the floor and are in an upright, vertical stance. They can be challenging, especially if you get weak in the knees, but they can also be tremendously fun and highly arousing. In order for this to be physically possible, your heights will have to be compatible, or one or both of you will need to be particularly acrobatic. Standing positions include both of you standing and facing each other, while he lifts one of your legs, or you wrap it around him. You can stand and lift her up as she wraps both of her legs around you, or you can stand on the floor and bend over a table as he enters you from behind.

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