Missionary position is like the starter Sim of sex positions, because you can make it into whatever you want. It's also basic (in a good way), offers lots of skin-to-skin contact, and, if you want to kiss, hey, your faces are right there.
But at the same time, “missionary sex is such a mixed bag for me,” says Shani Hart, Sex Educator and Certified Sexuality Coach. “On one hand, I think of the closeness, how intimate it feels when my partner looks me in my eyes mid-stroke and all that tight holding and caressing. On the other hand, I think about how long it will take to have an orgasm. And for me the amount of time equals NEVER! I’m in the 80 percent majority of women that have difficulty or simply can’t orgasm from penetrative sex,” says Hart, who I am virtually high-fiving in agreement.
If missionary hasn't been doing it for you lately or you want to trick it out with butt stuff or just generally make it way more pleasurable, try some of these ideas:
For the receiving partner
- Move your ass: “Being on the bottom doesn’t mean you don’t participate. You can use your hands to explore your partner’s body, guide their movements or even restrict their movement, which can be a turn on. You can try raising and lowering one or both legs or rotating your hips in slow circles,” says Renée Hilliard, M.D., a trained Ob/Gyn and sex and relationship coach.
- Get a pillow or wedge involved: “Elevating your hips can change the angle of penetration and be an enjoyable change for both partners,” says Hilliard.
For the penetrating partner
- Switch it up: “Instead of constant steady porn style thrusting, which can become mundane, try varying the speed. Going super slow especially at the beginning can allow for your partner to fully relax and open up. Try alternating between being up on your arms or forearms and putting more of your weight onto your partner. Pressing in and holding at the point of maximum body contact can be very enjoyable. Try rocking in different directions while pressed all the way in, even making little circles with your hips,” says Hilliard.
For either partner
- Make sure your clit is getting the love it needs. The majority of us don't orgasm with penetration alone. Know what your body likes.
- Use toys. (See also: your clit, the love it needs.) “A simple bullet or one of my favorites to have my partner use on me, a Magic Wand, will add some clitoral stimulation to the party, making it easier to get to the big 'O,'” Hart says.
Here are 16 of the best positions for missionary sex — and feel free to sprinkle in one (or all) of the tips above for peak pleasure while working your way through 'em. Feel very, very free.
P.S.: Want all the best sex tips, all the time? We know you do.
The Buzzy Love
A strong-ass vibrator makes everything better. Lie on your back with your hips at the edge of the bed or a table. Your partner stands to penetrate you with penis or strap-on. Fire up the aforementioned strong-ass vibrator (wrap it in a towel or t-shirt if it's too strong-ass) and hold the hell on.
The Hump and Grind
If you have two humpers in your relationship, you need this. The person on top lubes up their partner's thigh, straddles their leg, then humps and grinds away as they please. The person on the bottom humps and rubs against their partner's thigh, which is conveniently right there between their legs.
Pop a pillow or wedge under your butt and maximize clit stimulation by having the person on top grind their pelvis over your clit with side-to-side or circular hip motions. (Lube, as always, is your friend here.) Pull their ass closer into you with your feet. The penetrati kneels so they can switch between thrust and grinds and, if that's not quite doing it for you, it's easy for you use your hand or a toy.
If penetration alone isn't doing it for you (remember: so very, very normal!), get the clit stimulation you crave with a wearable vibrator for hands-free pleasure. If you have a partner with a penis, try one that that fits around their penis-- it's part cock ring, part clit vibrator, so everyone gets a little boost. (If your partner is wearing a strap-on, it won't do much for them, but you'll like it plenty.)
Try putting one leg straight down alongside your partner's, bending the other knee up. Your partner's thrusts will rub you in a whole new way and you can shift your hips to rub against their pubic bone or get a different angle going. Little shift, big difference.
Be the boss of missionary by getting on top and taking charge. But instead of a typical woman-on-top thing, really do it like role reversal missionary—hold yourself up with your elbows or hands, put your legs between your partner's and pump away as you please. Total bad ass move. If your partner has a vulva, prop a big-ass wand vibe between you and share the love.
Missionary becomes insanely intimate if you slow it waaay down. Take every moment and stretch it out. The moment of anticipation just before they enter you when the tip of their penis or strap-on presses against you. The slow slide-in (make it even slower than you think it should be). The moment they’re all in (pause and just feel each other, squeezing your Kegels around them). Add some gentle stimulation—stroke their balls or chest, or hold their face in your hands. So intense.
Slippery When Wet
Go super decadent by lubing yourselves up—everywhere. Cover your chest and legs with lube, then slide around on each other in slippery debauchery. Use a ton of towels or invest in a waterproof blanket specially designed to handle lubes, goos, and such. (Also good for the squirters among us.)
The X Spot
Lie on your back, spreading your legs and arms like an X. Your partner hovers above you, avoiding most contact except groin to groin. It puts the focus on one thing—the feeling of them penetrating you. (Hand on your clit totally allowed too.) Close your eyes and just feel or look into each other’s eyes to see how you’re wrecking each other.
The Pleasing Prop-Up
If your partner is on the smaller side or you’re just a fan of extra-deep penetration, there’s a super-easy hack to try in standard missionary position. Prop a pillow under your butt to lift your hips higher on an angle. It’s a subtle shift that changes the sensation dramatically.
The Dirty Dangle
On the flip side, having your partner stand and enter you can sometimes ease off some of the depth of penetration, should you be in a “my cervix needs a break” kind of mood. Plus, this one is ideal for doin’ it in the kitchen.
The Purring Kitty
In CAT (aka Coital Alignment Technique), your partner shifts a bit so that their hips are higher than yours. Once inside you, have them lift their hips and grind their pubic bone against your clit. They can circle their hips, rub up and down, or go from side to side—whatever feels right. Super sexy and intimate, great for long passionate kisses, and your best shot for having a hands-free orgasm. Meee-ow.
Shoot the Moon
Remember that ye olde Shoot the Moon wooden game? You two should look like that once you’re in position here. Bend your legs up to your chest and have him grab your ankles as he enters you. He can bend your legs, push them together on your chest, spread them apart, push them straight up—the challenge is figuring out exactly the right ways to play you. When at least one of you is groaning incoherently, you have a winner!
The Lock and Load
When you press your legs together in missionary, suddenly every stroke is enhanced. Seriously, it’s like MSG for sex. (And if your man’s on the smaller size in the penile region, this is definitely the position for you—he’ll feel like he’s filling you up and he won’t slip out.) This position is also good for the super lazy among us because you can take control without moving: Roll your hips around slowly and you’ll get this amazing slide-y friction that will drive you both batshit crazy.
The I Want You, I Need You
According to famous research by Marta Meana, PhD, being hotly desired is what turns women on most. And there’s no better way to see how much a guy desires you than watching him hoist your legs over his shoulders so he can be inside you, like, right now. This twist on missionary also lets him enter you super deep—even deeper if he grabs your hips for leverage—which is pretty much always a good thing.
The Side Winder
This take on missionary is best if your man is (too) generously endowed—he won’t be able to enter you quite as deep. In normal missionary, have him spin about 45 degrees to one side so your bodies form an X and he’s entering you at a sideways angle. From here, you get a hot view of his sexy back and ass humping you, and you can tell him just how steamy he looks.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.