Sex & Relationships

These missionary position tips will spice things up.
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18 Little Things To Do During Missionary To Make It Better

Some may call it bland, but it doesn’t have to be.

by Jill Di Donato and Mackenzie Sylvester
Originally Published: 

Missionary is a classic for a reason, but the position has got a reputation for being a bit boring. It’s typically thought of as requiring the person on top to do most of the work while the person on the bottom just gets to enjoy themselves. Thankfully, there are plenty of little things to do during missionary to spice up this position and shift some of that effort more equally between partners — for those times you want to switch things up in the bedroom.

Another reason missionary can get a bad name or feel too cliché is because “we have come to associate top and bottom as one being more dominant,” Martha Lee, doctor of human sexuality (DHS), relationship counselor, clinical sexologist, and founder of Eros Coaching, tells Romper. But the reality is that “the one on top can also be the one being submissive [and] serving, as they're working harder,” she explains. “You can have two persons engaging in penetration, with each [feeling like] the more dominant one — one receiving, one giving.” All it takes is a few adjustments — and not just in attitude.

Eye-gazing, skin-on-skin contact, intimacy, and the ability to kiss during intercourse are some of the reasons to love missionary. For the person on the bottom, “some really like the pressure of their partner on them; the body-to-body contact may add more clitoral stimulation than they'd get in some other positions, and the skin-to-skin element is arousing, too,” Carol Queen, Ph.D., staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, tells Romper. Meanwhile, the person on top has “lots of opportunity to move, get into a thrusting groove, and explore the different ways this can be experienced, from slow grind to ‘fast to the finish’,” she says.

Of course, there are all kinds of places sex can take you. Some people are in it for the orgasm, while others get off on seeing the facial expressions of their partner. If this is your turn-on, missionary is a perfect position for you, and one that doesn't have to be vanilla — that is, if you try the following missionary position tips to make it more exciting.


Use Pillows

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Placing a pillow (or pillows) under the bottom partner’s butt during missionary sex is a wonderful addition to vaginal penetration. This little ergonomic trick can “change up the angle of entry, and that in turn can provide more [and] different pressure along the course of the vagina [and] possibly change the depth of insertion, too, depending on how the pillows are positioned,” Queen says. Using pillows also provides better access to stimulate the clitoris, can be more comfortable for people with joint, hip, or back pain, and can help tighten your vaginal canal, giving you all the feels. Literally.


Do It Outside The Bedroom

Sex on the beach isn't just a tropical drink — it's an invitation. Be sure to be discreet, and use a large sheet to keep the sand out of your business. But the beach is just one option. “There are way more places to have sex outside than the beach,” Queen says. “Whenever engaging in this kind of action, watch out for consent issues among any possible viewers, and remember you can actually just go to another room in your house if this seems too advanced or ‘out there’ for you.”


Use Coital Alignment Technique

One of the more technical missionary positions, the goal of the coital alignment technique (CAT) is to “maximize clitoral contact in order to make coital orgasm more likely for the person on the bottom,” says Queen. “This is a way to position the penis higher on the vulva as it enters the vagina.”

Say you’re the person on the bottom. You would line up your chest with your partner's and then have them position themselves a little higher, so their chest is now resting on your shoulders. Bend your legs at a 45-degree angle and tilt your hips up. “The person on the bottom wraps their ankles around their partner's legs from the outside, and that is the element of this position that pulls the top partner's body (penis or dildo) much closer to the bottom partner's body (vulva and clit),” Queen explains. “The bottom person is literally pulling the top person up into them that way — hence more contact.” The results are worth the effort.


Incorporate Vibrating Rings

According to a 2017 study, fewer than 20% of women reported the ability to orgasm from penetration alone. So, clitoral stimulation is the key to female arousal — as if you didn't know that. That’s why Queen tells Romper that their biggest advice is: “Touch your clit! Much higher arousal and many more orgasms await if you do this simple act.”

But many women might feel self-conscious touching themselves during missionary sex. That's nothing a vibrating ring can't solve. “There are also rings that don't vibrate but are equipped with a ‘love bump’ that adds some extra clit-focused pressure with each thrust, and many like those too,” says Queen.


Use Other Toys

If vibrating rings aren’t your jam, Lee suggests using other toys for extra stimulation. “Besides incorporating couples vibrating rings, one can also incorporate other sex toys like [those] meant to be worn internally during penetration, or those over the pubic mons,” she says.


Wrap Your Legs Around Your Partner’s Back

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If the bottom partner wraps their legs around the top partner’s back, this can shift the angle of penetration so there is clitoral stimulation with each thrust. “The other thing [that] wrapping your legs around the top partner's back can do is allow for more depth,” Queen says. “Some bottom partners will enjoy that also.” This little tip can make all the difference in helping you orgasm during missionary.


Perch Your Legs On Their Shoulders

For intense, deep penetration, elevate your legs so they rest on the top partner’s shoulders. The feeling is intense for both of you, so be prepared for it. Being bendy is ideal for this one. If both legs are too much, try lifting just one, or “the top partner can often help by letting the bottom partner brace on their upper arms,” offers Queen. “You can do this position halfway by raising one leg, but also it's worth doing using the top partner's arms, rather than shoulders, to rest your legs on — not quite as acrobatic, [but] still hot and intense.”


Hold Your Legs

A close variation to the legs-on-the-shoulders move, Lee suggests holding your legs while being penetrated. “Besides resting your legs on your partner's back or hooking them behind their neck, you can widen your legs further and use your own arms to hold onto your legs for a deeper penetration,” she says. “It depends on your preference, flexibility, and also your partner's.”


Slide To The Edge Of The Bed

Position yourself (or whoever the bottom partner is) at the edge of the bed. The other partner lies partially on top of you, but ultimately with their feet on the floor for easy support and balance. “This helps my clients with knee pain, back pain, flexibility challenges, and also those who find it challenging to sustain their erection,” Lee tells Romper. “Being comfortable and pain-free is key.”


Touch Your Knees To Your Chest

Having your feet held during intercourse is a sensual way to enjoy missionary and makes the position more springy for more vigorous intercourse, Queen tells Romper. “The person on top can bounce off your feet, because of the physics of the bent legs,” she says. Bring your knees to your chest, rest the bottoms of your feet on your partner’s chest, and let them take it from there.

“Another thing the top partner can do during this position is shrimping — toe-sucking,” Queen says. “Negotiate this first — not everyone is a fan, but it can be very sexy (for both partners) if you are.”


Rotate Your Hips

One way to guarantee you're not just laying there during missionary is to rotate your hips. “You can rotate — and, as the late Dr. Betty Dodson used to recommend, you can thrust,” Queen says. “Thrusting back against your partner's thrusts adds to the action, and just the motion of thrusting itself can heighten arousal.”


Talk Dirty

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There's no reason for you not to use all of your body during missionary, and that includes your vocal cords. Talking dirty to your partner in bed is one little way to make missionary a bit more naughty. Loud and proud, right?

If talking dirty sounds intimidating, Queen suggests their book Exhibitionism for the Shy. “[The book] has a couple of chapters on erotic talk,” she says. “This is a great time to share fantasies or memories of other sexy times you've had. One partner can do all the talking, or you can both conversate while you fornicate!”


Get Rough

One of the best missionary position tips to make it extra hot? Getting rough. Ask to have your hands bound while your partner pumps into you. If bondage isn't your bag, try a little scratch on your partner's back or nibble their ear. Or try other ways of getting rough, like “extra-strong thrusting, hair-pulling, [and] biting,” Queen suggests, adding that you should avoid bondage during sex if you don’t completely trust your partner. It’s extra important that full consent is involved here.


Try Slowing Down

Switch up missionary and make it more intimate by forgetting about the orgasm for a minute. Yes, you read that right. Queen suggests incorporating tantric sex, which includes “deep breathing together (think yoga breaths) while you gaze into each other's eyes.” This meditative sex practice focuses on connecting the mind and body to unite the energies of each partner. It’s not about the end goal, but slowing down and enjoying the journey. “Mindful missionary is a truly sexy time,” Queen says.


Keep Your Pants On

There's something sexy about keeping one article of clothing on while you're doing the deed. Plus, it might bring back memories of experimenting with sex when you were younger. Oh, and Jay Z sings about sliding Beyoncé's panties "to the side" in "Drunk In Love," so there's always that image to get you fired up during missionary.


Clench And Release

Although sex is not about getting a good workout, it's not a bad way to build muscle strength. During missionary, Queen says to squeeze your pubococcygeus muscle (PC). “The PC is also called the pelvic floor, and its muscles support the whole pelvis,” they explain. “The muscle[s] you use to stop a fart or stop a stream of urine are the ones to squeeze.” Clench and release in order to give you and your partner extra sensations.


Play With Their Hair

Playing with your partner’s hair shows them you're engaged, even when laying on your back. If you pull it when you get really turned on, you're letting them know just how much pleasure they’re giving you — and, in an ideal world, pleasure begets pleasure. But be sure your partner likes their hair pulled first, says Queen, because some people are really not into it. “Running your fingers through your partner's hair might be a lovely compromise if you have a ‘Don't pull it!’ partner in bed with you,” she suggests.


Grab Their Butt Or Thighs

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Grabbing the penetrating partner’s butt to pull them deeper into you will never not be hot. But your partner’s cheeks are just one of many things you can get hold of, as the person on the bottom. “The person below can ... hold onto their partner's love handles, hips, caress their partner's inner or outer thighs, as well as testicles for penis owners,” says Lee. “The person below can also caress their partner's face, chest, or play with their nipples as they are penetrating.”

Missionary does not have to be boring or uncomfortable. Just employ the right adjustments to add some extra spice, and remember that communication with your partner is key. The old classic may just wind up being your new favorite.

Studies referenced:

Pierce A. P. (2000). The coital alignment technique (CAT): an overview of studies. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 26(3), 257–268.

Herbenick, D., Fu, T.-C. (J., Arter, J., Sanders, S. A., & Dodge, B. (2017). Women's experiences with GENITAL Touching, sexual pleasure, AND Orgasm: Results from a U.s. probability sample of women ages 18 to 94. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44(2), 201–212.


Carol Queen, Ph.D., staff sexologist at Good Vibrations

Dr. Martha Lee, D.H.S., relationship counselor, clinical sexologist, author, and owner of Eros Coaching

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