There’s really no right or wrong way to ride a penis, vagina or strap-on — it pretty much comes down to what feels good for you. First of all, forget everything you’ve seen in porn. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, and really, there’s no balancing act or pretzel-twisting postures required.
Although some may consider standard-issue missionary-position sex not so exciting, it’s a go-to for a reason. If you’re on bottom, you basically have the option of doing nothing while the person on top bumps, writhes and grinds.
Personally, as a vulva-owning person, being on top is one of my favorite ways to reach orgasm with a penis or strap-on. When I straddle a partner, it allows me to control the depth, speed and rhythm of penetration as well as play with my clitoris. Like many women, I need vaginal penetration and clitoral stimulation to come.
Although you may be in the take-charge position on top, be sure to ask your partner for input too. Simple cues like, “Do you prefer it when I do this or that?” can elevate an already sexy experience.
When you’re engaging in sex where one party is on top of the other, there are a number of things you can do to help improve the situation and increase the amount of pleasure you’re going to experience during the act of coitus. We got some sex experts to share seven favorite tips to make the most of being on top.
Keep an eye on pressure & weight
If you are worried about how your body weight differs from your partners while on top, don’t let it stop you from exploring positions that might feel good for you both. Xanet Pailet, a sex and intimacy coach tells SheKnows to try and put your weight on your hands or elbows next to — but not on — your partner’s body.
The butt lift
If you are on top and have strong arms, place your hands under your partner’s butt and lift your partner gently during intercourse, Pailet suggests. This action changes the direction of your partner’s pelvis (best for penis-in-vagina, or PIV, penetration) and allows for deeper penetration and more sensation toward the cervix, which could lead to more intense orgasms for the woman. This also works really well in the tantric yab yum position, where you are both sitting up facing each other with typically the woman’s legs over her partner’s legs.
Easy erogenous zone access
Being on top makes it easy to access so many of your other sensitive erogenous zones, including the nipples and clitoris, and when combined with the pleasurable sensation of penis-in-vagina sex, this position can enhance your pleasure (and your orgasm) tenfold, Anne Hodder, a multi-certified sex educator tells SheKnows. For approximately three-quarters of people with vulvas, clitoral stimulation is necessary in order to reach orgasm during PIV sex, so this position can often help facilitate orgasm in ways that might be difficult in other positions.
Ride ’em, cowboy (or girl)
Another fun top position is the cowboy (person with the vulva sitting straight up over a partner with a penis) and the reverse cowboy (vulva-owner sitting with their butt and back to their partner’s face), Pailet explains. Many people with vaginas love these positions because they have more control over the speed and depth of thrusting and can also stimulate their clitoris at the same time. In this position, some people can also maneuver the direction of their partner’s penis to be able to have a G-spot orgasm.
Playing with toys
Knowing how accessible your clitoris will be, feel free to give your or your partner’s hand a break and try using a sex toy to help enhance the sensation, Hodder suggests. Smaller clitoral vibes are great for this; they don’t take up much space and the good ones tend to be quiet and easy to hold. Try getting on top and letting your partner hold the vibe, letting them massage and stimulate you while you focus on getting your balance and rhythm down. It’s a super-fun way to incorporate teamwork into situation.
One of the best things about missionary sex is that it’s super-simple to do. You can kiss and stare into your partner’s eyes, plus there’s tons of skin-to-skin contact. So, climb on top, rock your hips and back and forth and enjoy the ride!
A version of this story was published April 2018.