After watching Netflix’s NSFW series Sex/Life—which, yes, is somehow even steamier than Bridgerton—you’re probably wondering a few things: If there will be a second season, where one can get a pink leather jacket, and most importantly, what the coital alignment technique is.
In case you were too busy fumbling with your vibe to catch the reference, during the first episode, Billie (played by Sarah Shahi) mentions Brad’s (Adam Demos) amazing sexual abilities, especially when he uses the coital alignment technique.
She says: “There are whole books written on the subject, which either Brad read or never needed to. But when done right, it provides the ultimate connection, both physical and emotional. I felt closer to him than I had to anyone.”
Now even though Sex/Life shows a lot of penetrative sex, fingering, oral sex, publix sex, blow jobs, and lots and lots of orgasms, it’s the coital alignment technique (CAT) that really gives viewers hope they might be able to have Billie/Brad caliber passion.
As turns out, experts agree the modified missionary position might actually be the key to intense, Netflix-worthy sex.
What is the coital alignment technique?
While Billie raves about how great the technique is, she doesn’t really give many details about what it actually is other than the fact that her hubs can’t do it. But in simple terms, it's like the upgraded version of your standard missionary sex.
Instead of the normal in-and-out thrusting you'd see in missionary, when performing the coital alignment technique, only the tip of the penis is inside the vagina as the base of the penis rubs against the clitoris.
“It's a very slight and specific variation of the missionary position that focuses on clitoral stimulation to achieve higher rates of orgasm,” says sex therapist Rachel Smith.
The position was first introduced to the world by psychotherapist and sex researcher Edward Eichel in the late 1980s. The goal was to “better achieve partnered orgasm in women while also aiming for simultaneous orgasms through direct penis-to-clitoris contact.” We love to see it.
So, why is it called the coital alignment technique?
The whole point of the coital alignment technique is—as the name suggests—to align your genitals during coitus. Instead of fast or aggressive thrusting, it’s about slower, steady strokes.
When doing the CAT, “partners grind against one another gently, with slight penetration and slight external friction,” explains therapist Neha Bhat. “It's like microdosing. You do a little, slowly, and experience deep, intense benefits.”
How is the coital alignment technique different from missionary?
The CAT involves the vagina-having partner laying on their back while the partner providing penetration lays on top—which yes, sounds an awful lot like missionary. But the difference is that during the CAT, the penis-having partner is positioned more forward than in traditional missionary, says Smith. (Remember when you could see Brad hover over Billie further in the scene?)
It's basically the "riding high" variation to the missionary position,” explains Smith. “It allows for more vertical movements instead of the typical in and out thrusting.”
The goal? To rub and apply pressure to the clitoris in addition to the penetration, as opposed to just in-and-out vaginal penetration.
“In missionary, partners are focused on a dynamic that’s one person giving and the other only receiving,” explains Bhat. “In CAT, both partners are engaged in both roles.” So instead of just thrusting that doesn’t get you anywhere, this is thrusting that could get you all the way. A tiny adjustment makes a big difference.
What’s so great about the coital alignment technique?
I don't know who needs to hear this but only 18 percent of people with vaginas can actually reach orgasm during penetrative sex alone, according to the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. This means that without some extra clitoral stimulation, most women won't get there.
But thankfully, due to how your bodies are aligned during the CAT, not only are you getting much more clitoral stimulation than traditional missionary, but there’s more all-over erogenous exposure as well. “The position fosters full-body contact and full genital contact, which can feel deeply intimate for some partners,” explains Smith.
And while more studies still need to be done on the technique, Eichel’s research reflected a significant increase in orgasms among people with vaginas, as well as simultaneous orgasms between partners. So no, this isn’t just some fake thing you saw on Netflix.
How do you do the coital alignment technique?
By now you’re probably more than ready to learn how to have orgasms via penetrative sex, so let’s break down the mythical technique step by step:
- “The person with a vagina lays flat on their back, while the person doing the penetrating positions themselves overtop of their partner’s pelvis,” explains Smith.
- The penetrating partner puts their full body weight on top of the receiving partner and grips the receiver's shoulders to keep from sliding backward.
- The person on top uses the weight of their torso to move forward instead of lifting themselves up on their forearms (as per usual in the mish posish).
- The person on the bottom should wrap their legs around their partner’s outer thighs at a 45-degree angle, resting their ankles on their partner’s calves.
- Once in position, the person on the bottom rocks their hips in an upward stroke while the person on the top provides resistance with a downward stroke. The goal here is for the receiver to press their clitoris against the external base of their partner’s penis or strap-on.
- “Focus on slow and controlled vertical movements instead of in and out thrusting,” suggests Smith. “This rhythm is repeated with the intention to consistently rub and grind on the clitoris.”
- Eye contact, hair pulling, passionate kissing, and calling your partner “Brad” are also encouraged when in this position.
Are there any risks involved?
Because this position is a variation of missionary, you’ll want to consider all the risks associated with the classic position. Some people might find their partner's full weight on top of them is uncomfortable, whereas others might find the clitoral stimulation is too focused. Communicate and adjust where needed while sticking to the main idea of upward motions and friction.
As with any type of sex, using protection to reduce the chance of STIs (and for some, pregnancy) is always advised, and while the position isn’t as dangerous as doggy in terms of potential injury, missionary sex is responsible for 25 percent of “broken penis” injuries. This is very, very rare (so don’t let it scare you away from trying it out), but just in case you end up in the ER, know that you’re not the first person it’s happened to.
STIs and injuries aside, because the CAT is super structured, Smiths notes it may not allow for the “freedom, spontaneity, and sense of abandon” that many couples crave. Plus, everyone’s different, so it might not get the job done for you—or you just might not like it—and that’s totally fine. There are plenty of other positions out there for you to try if the coital alignment technique doesn’t give you those Billie/Brad feels.
Tips for perfecting the coital alignment technique
Chances are after watching one episode of Sex/Life, reading one article, and trying the move out one time, you’re probably not going to master the CAT.
“The participants in Eichel’s study practiced this technique for two years before reporting great success, so try not to beat yourself up if you are not able to perfect this technique in the first couple of tries,” says Smith. Have fun, take it slow, and don’t stress if it’s not for you or takes a little finessing.
If you’re having trouble getting the right angle, consider putting a pillow under your hips to better prop them up (which makes clitoral stimulation even easier) or add in a vibrating toy or nipple clamps to really up the sensations.
And as always, use plenty of lube to keep things slick and slippery. While the secret to this move might not involve cheating on your husband, it will take some commitment and communication to perfect Brad's famous technique.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.
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