List of sex positions
This is a list of sex positions. This includes common and not so common positions for sexual intercourse and other sexual activities between people. This is a list of usual modes, particulars, and features in which couples physically position themselves for sexual intercourse. Some sexual positions are variations on fundamental positions, while some are more innovative.
Note that the sex positions listed are descriptive, not prescriptive. Real sex between experienced partners usually shifts from position to position during a single session, at the whim of those involved.
In the Indian Kama Sutra and Arabic Perfumed Garden, the act and manner of sex was an art-form. In the Khajuraho statues, it has religious meaning. The Joy of Sex was one of the first widely accepted modern sex manuals to describe sexual positions.
In the Kama Sutra, sixty-four sex positions are explained as arts. These may be considered yoga positions for a couple. Tantric yoga, as applied to couples is sometimes called the yoga of union and is the larger spiritual context for these positions.
While not all of these positions will necessarily be as stimulating or as satisfying for both partners as other positions, a couple may develop a rotation among these positions. Some may be more physically difficult or tiring for one partner, while others offer a break or resting point that will maintain a particular level of passion. In a sense, a set rotation though favored positions may be likened to a complex and progressive musical piece, such as a sonata or symphony. An alternation of positions favored by each partner can be particularly delightful when understood in the larger give-and-take common in interpersonal relationships. Each couple may in this way develop their unique "song of love". The musical symphonic work Bolero, written by Maurice Ravel, is thought by many to be intentionally evocative of the progression of caressing, positions, intensities, and satisfactions of lovemaking. Note that the piece is about 22 minutes long - thought by many men to be rather long for this use and by many women to be too short.
Since the most common sexual activity worldwide is heterosexual vaginal intercourse, the positions listed are described in terms of one male participant and one vaginally receptive female participant. However, most of these positions can also be adapted as anal sex positions, although some with difficulty due to the different angle of rectal vs. vaginal entry. Similar provisions apply for frottage, tribadism, the use of double-ended dildos or strap-on dildos, and so on.
Warning: this is not a how-to guide.
There is no single agreed standard for nomenclature of sex positions. The medical literature tends to use very general terms such as "male superior sex position" and "female superior sex position", or Latin terms such as coitus more ferarum ("intercourse in the manner of a beast"). The terms used in sex manuals are often fanciful, and differ from manual to manual. The jargon of the pornography industry for sex positions has entered the mainstream vocabulary in some cases, and has at least the benefit of being specific.
The terms used here draw on all of these sources. Where possible, the most commonly used term is used.
These are the most widely known positions, and are widespread and prevalent during the act of sex. Some of these positions can be used in sex between two men or two women.
Missionary – most common position; man on top with direct penetration; woman on bottom, legs open.
Side entry missionary – variant on the missionary position; woman on side; man kneeling penetrates from behind.
Squashing of the deckchair – woman on bottom, legs pulled up; man on top, holds woman's legs.
Peace Sign – woman on bottom, legs tightly closed.
Butterfly position – woman lies on her back, man stands and lifts her pelvis for penetration
Coital alignment technique – variant on the missionary position
Doggy – man penetrates from behind; woman on all fours, facing down.
Leapfrog – variant on the Doggy position; woman torso is lower; also known as "face down ass up".
Upright doggy – variant on the doggy position; woman kneels, man stands upright upright.
Spread-eagle – woman lies facing down, legs spread open; man on top.
Spoons – side by side, both facing in same direction; man penetrates from behind.
Feet on his shoulders – her feet behind his head resting them on his shoulders.
Woman on top
Cowgirl – The man lies on his back; the woman sits on top of him facing him; also known as Woman-On-Top or Amazon.
Sitting / Kneeling
Armchair – variant on the watching the game; woman sits in a chair; man kneels in front of the woman.
Black bee – man sits, hands behind on the floor; woman sits on top, hands on shoulders.
Furniture – woman on the edge of furniture, legs spread; man kneels.
Persuading of the debtor – man penetrates kneeling; woman on back, ankles on each side of man's shoulders.
Playing of the cello – woman on back, ankles on one of the man's shoulders; man kneeling penetrates from back; also known as Playing of the violin.
Proposal – woman kneels, legs apart; man kneels, one knee on ground.
Split level – woman on bottom, legs around man; man kneels.
Watching the game – variant on the cowgirl position; man sits in a chair; woman sits, facing the man; also known as the Lap dance.
- Reverse piggy-back – man penetrates standing; woman lifted, wrapping legs around man; can be done free-standing or up against an upright surface. Also know as the tree position.
- Stand and carry – man stands, holding woman; woman wraps legs around man's waist and arms around man's shoulders.
- Standing – Both stand using a structure for support.
- Wheelbarrow – man penetrates standing; woman on bottom lifted by thighs; also known as 'Hoovering of the floor'.
Positions during pregnancy
The goal is to prevent excessive pressure on the belly and to restrict penetration as required by the particular male partner.
Some of the positions below are popular positions for sex during pregnancy.
Less common positions
These positions are more innovative, and perhaps not as widely known and practised as the ones listed above.
- Reverse Amazon – variant on the cowgirl position; also known as 'Riding of the Steer'.
- Horizontal reverse – variant on the reverse cowgirl; woman on top, facing down with torso lower; man on bottom.
- Cross – woman on bottom; man on top perpendicular.
- Head to toe – man on back, legs spread; woman on back on top, legs spread; both facing different directions,
- Rocking chair – man on bottom; woman on all fours, facing up.
- K – Man and woman lie on backs, heads pointed away from one another; each places one leg on other's shoulder (using it for bracing) and the other leg out somewhat to the side so that they form a capital K.
- T-square position – woman on her back with knees up and legs apart, man lies on his side perpendicular to her, with his hips under the arch formed by her legs. Good during pregnancy.
Acrobatic skill / extreme agility required
- Advanced black bee – variant on the Black bee; man sits, hands behind on
- Helicopter fuck - like the doggie position, but with the man balancing himself on the woman's behind while using his inserted penis as an axel. The man then rotates around the axel like helicopter blades. Requires the penis to be bent downwards at an extreme angle, so may be risky.
Non-penetration or low-penetration sex
- 69 – simultaneous oral sex; often side-by-side, or either a man or woman can be on top; known as 'Congress of the Crow' in the Kama Sutra.
Genital to other
- interfemoral intercourse a.k.a. intercrural intercourse (with the penis between the legs or thighs, perhaps rubbing the vulva, scrotum or perineum)
- mammary intercourse (with the penis between the breasts)
- axillary intercourse (with the penis in the armpit)
As mentioned earlier, women can engage in tribadism with or without double-ended dildos and men can engage in penis-to-penis frottage, the anatomical pairings involved enable positions which heterosexual couples might find difficult or impossible. Mutual masturbation can also be differently choreographed for homosexuality, for instance a man can stimulate his and a partner's (or multiple partners') penises simultaneously with only one hand.
The following activities are only possible between partners of the same sex:
- tribadism: rubbing of female genitalia against female genitalia
- "frot": rubbing of male genitalia against male genitalia
Use of special apparatus
Most sex acts are typically performed on a bed or other platform. As the range of supports available increases, the range of positions that are possible increases (for example, see the sitting and standing positions above).
Various assemblages of people may participate in group sex, having the common characteristic structure of participating in a sexual act.
- Sandwich or Double penetration: in which two men are engaged sexually with a woman simultaneously, one of them is inserting his penis into the vagina, while the other is inserting his penis into the anus.
- "Lucky Pierre": in which a man has vaginal sex with a woman, whilst himself being anally penetrated by another man (named after a character in Justine by the Marquis de Sade)
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- McMeel, Andrews and Lisa Sussman. "Sex Positions". October, 28 2002 ISBN 184222266X
- Bodansky, Steve and Vera Bodansky "The Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive Orgasm". Hunter House. 1st ed., June 2002. ISBN 0897933621 235 pages
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- Flash Animations for 21 positions of performing sexual intercourse
- Six Best Sex Positions
- List of the best sex positions and different styles with colour pictures
- Kama Sutra Animated - Explanations with Macromedia Flash animations for sex positions
- Indian History On Sex
- Nerve's sex positions
- Guide to Sex for Fat Couples
- SM-201 article
- Sex Positions in a car (Humour)
- Great Sex Positions (Humour)