Real talk: Being on top isn’t always as easy as it looks. Sure, the old adage that being on top leads to a chance of a better orgasm is def incentive, but sometimes you’re just shy! If you're having trouble feeling confident when you're on top during sex, don't sweat it.
Here, sex experts and educators share their top tips for mastering this position without breaking a sweat.
How do I get over any insecurity about my looks while on top?
Luckily, this one is all mental. “We tend to have an idea from porn that we need to be sitting straight up for his visual pleasure, and that we need to have a perfect body to do so,” says Lynn Wolfbrandt, sexuality coach who specializes in female sexuality. In reality, if you’re having sex with a man, “it’s 99 percent guaranteed that he’s having an amazing time, no matter what you’re doing,” says Wolfbrandt.
Tap into your inner diva and make the moment all about you and your pleasure. You know how dudes won’t realize you cut 10 inches off your hair for weeks until you literally bring up the fact that you did so? There’s your proof that he won’t be criticizing your body or anything to the degree you worry about.
If you wanna take a mental break and step away from the showgirl spotlight for a mo’, you can also try getting on top while belly-to-belly, or even close your legs and squeeze to get more clitoral pleasure, adds Wolfbrandt.
How do I get into the position?
Wondering how to segue gracefully over your partner’s body? “Begin by kneeling over your partner and gently lower yourself down,” explains Antonia Hall, sex and relationship expert and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. “From there, it’s easy to bounce up and down or rock your hips, adjusting your angle to stimulate your clitoris,” she adds. You can also try squatting with your feet flat. You’ll need more balance, but it opens your hips for deeper penetration.
What do I hold onto during woman-on-top?
The answer: Build a sex fort. Okay not really, but it’s totally cool to call in for furniture backup if you need. “Don't be shy to use props especially if you have short legs or need extra support through the pelvic floor,” says Fiona Gilbert, sexual wellness consultant. Folded towels, yoga bricks, pillows, sex furniture, are all your friends here.
Why do people always say being on top is better for women, anyway?
"You have more control over the speed, angle, and intensity, so it makes it easier to keep it at a rhythm that’s really doing it for you. Your vulva and clitoris are also very accessible, and the vast majority of women find intercourse much more pleasurable if they are also stroking or being stroked in this area," Layla Martin, sexpert extraordinaire and author of Wild Woman in the Bedroom, explains. And then there's also the mental element of control: Taking the reins and doing things exactly how you want can feel beyond hot.
OK, but what can you try if you’re having trouble getting the right angle when you’re on top?
Yes, in theory it makes sense that being on top lets your clit get more stimulation, but if that angle just isn't happening for you, you've got options. To find that sweet spot, Martin suggests moving your body forward and back very slowly, and left to right, to see if you can notice and slight differences in sensation. Basically, troubleshoot!
Too deep? No problem. "If you are uncomfortable because the penetration feels too deep, you can try lying forward and propping yourself up on your hands or forearms almost like you are in a missionary position," Martin offers. And don't get discouraged if you don't get there right away. "The key is to not get caught up thinking it's not working and you need to fix it, but to focus instead on sensually discovering the spot that holds the greatest pleasure for you."
How do you figure out how to move your body?
Once you've found the perfect angle, you can still get bogged down on how to move, especially if you think you have to be a dancer or someone with impeccable natural rhythm in order to nail it. But all you need is practice: Hall suggests starting by making small, slow adjustments to your hips or body until you hit that sweet spot.
"You can use your leg muscles and core to move up and down, then carefully lean forward or back to bring things into alignment," Hall says."Your hands can go on the bed for support and balance as you move into positions that feel great for you, and what feels good often changes, so you should feel comfortable adjusting as desired."
What can I try if I just get really tired really quickly when I’m on top?
It's no surprise that being on top exerts a liiiiiiittle more energy than just lying there and noticing all the cracks in your ceiling. Martin counsels that you can always slow way down but adds, "The biggest thing is to remember to breathe. If you’ve ever done intensive workouts, you can go much farther and longer if you breathe deeply. This will seem totally natural since people tend to breathe much more intensively during sex." Deep inhales and exhales can help you focus on sensation and not become exhausted so quickly.
But you can also let your partner take over for a bit. "Sex is a dance," Halls says. And your partner is probably going to move their hips a little too, because it feels amazing. She also recommends leaning forward so you're lying on top of your partner in a sort-of missionary pose to ease the strain (and signal to them that they can contribute to the thrusting as well).
Are there any workouts you can do to make on-top sex better for you?
"Great sexual stamina comes from strength in your large muscle groups and a good cardio routine," Hall says. "Working on your legs and core will really help in the bedroom. I also always advise doing Kegels, which will help strengthen your pelvic muscles, which means bigger, better orgasms."
Are there any variations of the traditional "on top of my partner, facing them" position? And WTF are they?
You've got other choices! For one, you can swing your way into reverse cowgirl, which Martin suggests can be "hugely liberating." This is basically staying on top of the penis, but leaning on your forearms, or sitting up, facing his toes instead of his face.
BUT THERE'S MORE! "There is an advanced position where you are facing forward and you lean to one side, and place that hand down to support yourself and give your pelvis a light lift. The extra support and slight lift of your pelvis means you can undulate up and down with more range in your pelvis, and this can be super erotic," Martin explains.
What are some good toys to add to woman-on-top sex?
Many women can't orgasm with P-in-V sex alone, so it can be good to throw in an accessory.
Is there any way you could hurt yourselves with on-top sex?
Woman-on-top sex is actually the most common position for penile fracturing, but it's still not insanely common or easy to do. The main thing to do, according to Hall, is ease into things slowly every time, because you can injure your partner if you lean in a way that bends their penis uncomfortably, or bounce up and down so quickly that you fall on a bad angle and hurt or even break their penis.
What if I can't relax?
There are tons of other benefits to getting on top that you might not have realized. "Sex is very psychological, and for women to experience their deepest orgasms, there are parts of their brain that need to go silent that have to do with judgement and control," says Martin. When you're on your back, you might actually be more caught up in your head but when you're on top, you're forced to concentrate more on the physical act, which can help you really let go.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.