Listen, we all have different sexual preferences. Whether we prefer to be more in control, let our partner take the reigns, or simply want to do whatever will help make a baby, there’s a sex position that suits your needs and comfort level. To figure out what works best when, we tapped into the brains of top female sexual health experts. Here’s what they say are the best sex positions for common bedroom scenarios.
When you want to make a baby: missionary.
Obviously you can get pregnant just by having sex. But if you’re trying to really increase your odds of putting a bun in the oven, health experts will tell you again and again to go with missionary. But not just plain ole’ missionary. In this situation, you should mix in a pelvic tilt, says Amy Levine, founder of SexEdSolutions.com. “Putting a pillow under the tush can help elevate your pelvis and create a slide effect, providing an easy path for his swimmers to make their way through your cervix [and to] your ovum,” she says. “Typically, women who try this tend to maximize the ejaculation, since it stays in the body a little longer compared to positions in which you’re upright [that allow] the semen to drip out of the vagina.”
Another helpful tip: Make sure he works to get you off, says Ava Cadell, a sex educator and founder of Loveology University in Los Angeles. Not only will it feel amazing, but a woman is more likely to get pregnant if she climaxes, she says.
When you want to feel confident: girl on top.
If you feel a little insecure between the sheets but want to put that problem to bed, then there are three words you need to memorize: Girl. On. Top. “It can be confidence-building because it physically helps women to be in control,” says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Just make sure you do it in a way that makes you feel best. “Woman on top can be done kneeling, squatting, facing forward, or facing backward,” she adds. “Show off whatever you or your partner loves most about your body.”
When getting off is your biggest concern: CAT.
Ladies, the time has come for you to stop missing out on the sensational feeling of an orgasm. While you may have tried a position or two that gets you off, Dr. Herbenick says there’s one that’s been scientifically proven to be helpful for reaching orgasm: CAT, or the coital alignment technique. “This is a wonderful variation on missionary,” she says. “It involves the guy sliding himself forward, with his shoulders past yours, and your pelvic areas grinding.” That skin-on-skin action means CAT is super heavy on the clitoral stimulation, and since 37% of women need some of that to climax, it’s no wonder this sex position gets the stamp of approval.
When you want him to last longer: fox.
While premature ejaculation is a medical condition that your guy may need to seek treatment for, there are a few sex positions that can help increase his staying power. First, there’s good ole’ missionary, which Levine says works because he can stop and start when his arousal increases, making it easier for him to take it down a notch and last longer. But if you’ve done that position one too many times lately, try the fox position instead, Cadell suggests. It’s a variation of missionary, but instead of your legs lying flat on the bed, they go up and over your partner’s shoulders. “Penetration is very deep in this position … and he can dive totally inside her, maintaining his arousal and lasting longer,” she says.
When your partner is well-endowed: criss-cross.
Even though the porn industry may try to convince you that a very well-endowed man will only increase the amount of pleasure you feel, the fact of the matter is that it can be downright painful — but only if you’re not in the right sex position, which would basically be any one that allows for super deep penetration. Why? If he has a large penis, it could hit your cervix during intense thrusting, and that kind of contact doesn’t usually feel good, Levine says.
So if you’re looking for more of an “ooh” than an “ouch,” here’s your move: “The guy lies on his side; she lies perpendicular to him with legs spread as they [drape] over his body,” Dr. Herbenick says. “This allows her to hold the base of his shaft if she wants to limit his range of motion, and allows her to use pelvic rocks to create an in-and-out sensation.”
When your partner isn’t well-endowed: cowgirl.
Experts are quick to point out that penis size is a very minor part of a satisfying sex life, yet there are certain positions sex therapists recommend more often when a man has a smaller penis. The best? Cowgirl, Levine says. Instead of moving up and down, like you traditionally would in girl on top, this position calls for lots of hip circles. It works well because it allows for deep penetration and, honestly, makes it less likely for him to slip out, Levine explains. If you prefer missionary, throw your legs up on his shoulders, so he can really get in there and make the most of his size, she adds.
When you’re experiencing unusual pain: foreplay.
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First, it’s important to know that pain during sex is not OK, nor is it something that you should have to “deal with.” So if you’re feeling pain during sex, consider talking with your OBGYN to make sure there aren’t any health problems at play, like a yeast infection or endometriosis, as both of these can cause intercourse to feel painful.
Once more serious concerns are ruled out, there are a few quick fixes that make sex more pleasurable. The first: lubricant. Lots and lots of lubricant. Dr. Herbenick says water-based ones works best, as oil-based options can deteriorate the latex in a condom, potentially making it break, and silicon-based versions can cause sex toys to break down.
Then, make sure there’s plenty of foreplay involved. Not only can it help increase your arousal — in turn making you wetter and lowering the odds of painful entry — but oral sex can obviously be it’s own form of lubricant. And as far as sex positions go, any one that has you on top is probably best, Dr Herbenick adds. “It gives the woman more control [to take] sex at a pace that is comfortable for her,” she says.