Missionary position is as classic as a slice of apple pie ― but even old faves can use some spicing up. (And of course, some people find missionary sex bland as hell, in which case, it could use a lot of spicing up.)
To ensure that you’re having the best partnered-up sex possible, we asked a group of sex therapists to share their best advice on taking the missionary position to the next level. Here’s what they told us.
Recognize that missionary sex can be dirty, too.
The common backstory for missionary is that it’s named for Christian missionaries, who preached the gospel of vanilla sex to everyone they ministered to. The reality is, the term cropped up in the 1950s and it’s likely the result of a mistranslation of historical documents by legendary sexologist Alfred Kinsey.
In any case, the prim and proper connotation continues to this day, even though missionary can be just as dirty as any position, said Chris Maxwell Rose, founder of PleasureMechanics.com and host of the “Speaking of Sex” podcast.
“Missionary can be sweet and romantic or it can be totally rough and bestial,” she said. “The experience of sex is way more about your attitude than your position.”
Rose tells couples she works with ― both queer and heterosexual ones ― to think beyond the position and focus instead on what kind of experience you’re after.
“Ask yourselves, do you want soft tender kisses on your neck or rough bites along your collarbone? Do you want romantic eye contact or do you prefer to close your eyes and focus on the sensations? Then take it from there.”
Use the CAT technique.
If you’re a woman, penetration alone probably isn’t going to cut it; you likely need a bit of clitoral stimulation to get off. In that case, a little tweak to missionary called “coital alignment technique,” aka CAT, might do the trick.
In this modified version of missionary, the man rides a little higher, sliding his body up an inch or two so that the base of the penis rubs against the woman’s clitoris.
In one study of women who were unable to orgasm from missionary sex, published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, those who learned the CAT reported a 56 percent increase in their orgasm frequency. (It’s so effective, we wrote a whole separate article on it.)
If you’re the one lying down, you’ve probably got two extra hands just sort of dangling there. Use them to envelop your partner and bring them in closer, or start touching yourself, said Sadie Allison, a sexologist and author of “The Mystery of the Undercover Clitoris—Orgasmic Fingertip Touching Every Woman Craves.”
“Not only will it drive your partner crazy with excitement to watch you masturbate, it’s very empowering for a woman to self-pleasure in the moment,” she said. “By touching yourself, you’re taking control of your own pleasure and orgasm.”
Give yourself permission to move around.
As with any position, missionary is so much better when you’re fluid and move around while you’re doing it, Rose said.
Don’t just lie there like a dead starfish! Find the right angle, tilt your pelvis, move your spine or grind up into your S.O.’s body.
“If after wiggling around you’re still having trouble with the angles, grab a supportive wedge pillow,” she said. “The Pillo from the brilliant folks at Dame is a great tool for adjusting your body position, and is discreet enough you can leave it on your bed all the time.”
Don’t be afraid of dirty talk.
Part of being good in bed is being sexually communicative and vocalizing how much you’re enjoying things. Since our brains are our biggest sex organ, sexually driven language — aka dirty talk — can elevate any type of sex.
“Remember to moan (or scream!) and share sweet or dirty thoughts in their ear,” Allison said. “You can keep it mild with something like, ‘You feel so good inside me’ or go wild with ‘Grab my ass and do me harder.’ This positive reinforcement and sexy talk will drive your partner wild, boost their ego and keep them doing their best to please you.”
Add a vibrating ring to the action.
If your goal is to orgasm at the same time, you might want to bring in some sex toys. Because of the clitoral stimulation they provide, a cock ring or a couple’s vibrator can help a woman climax during sex, said Megan Fleming, a New York City-based psychologist and sex therapist. They can also help a man last longer in bed.
“Two of my favorite recommendations are the Touch by We-Vibe, which is small enough to fit between you for additional clitoral stimulation or the Jimmy Jane vibrating cock ring, which provides hands-free vibration that stimulates the penis and the clitoris,” Fleming told us. “It can be set to be on vibe all the time or with impact and thrusting mode.”