The coital alignment technique (CAT position) is a modified version of missionary style that focuses on clitoral stimulation. Using the shaft of a penis or toy, the partner on top rubs the vulva to create pleasurable friction.

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Illustration by Alexis Lira

The Coital Alignment Technique (CAT) is a sex position that focuses on clitoral stimulation.

A twist on the classic missionary position, the CAT was originally coined by psychotherapist and sex researcher Edward Eichel.

He created the technique in response to those who have a harder time reaching orgasm through vaginal penetration alone.

The CAT uses both clitoral stimulation and vaginal penetration to slowly rock the partner on the bottom — the one who’s receiving the stimulation — to orgasm.

Instead of focusing on in-and-out thrusting, CAT is all about vertical movement and rubbing.

This shifts the focus from vaginal penetration to clitoral stimulation — usually with clitoris grinding against the shaft of the penis or toy.

“Grinding the corn” may sound strange, but there’s actually some basis for this.

With coital alignment, both partners rub or grind up against each other’s bodies to create friction against the vulva.

You aren’t grinding corn kernels down into cornmeal, per se, but you are putting a substantial amount of pressure on the clitoris.

This is ultimately what brings one or both vulva-having partners to orgasm.

Because this position uses both clitoral stimulation and penetration, it’s often recognized as a technique for penile-vaginal intercourse.

But that shouldn’t keep you from practicing the technique if you want to try it.

Coital alignment can just as easily be practiced and heightened with the use of a dildo for penetration between two partners with vaginas.

Definitely! This position may be beneficial for anyone who experiences a form of sexual dysfunction.

The technique was developed to help people who have difficulties climaxing from penetrative sex, such as those with female coital anorgasmia. And it checks out.

According to an 8-week study from 1995, participants who practiced the CAT experienced an increase in missionary-position orgasms.

The technique may also help curb premature ejaculation.

That’s because, unlike other penetrative positions, coital alignment isn’t really about penetration.

Taking the focus off of thrusting can help delay penile ejaculation so that both partners get more satisfaction, longer.

To get in position, one partner should lie on their back and extend their legs straight out, slightly parted.

Unless both partners have vulvas, the bottom partner will receive most of the stimulation.

The other partner should then slide on top, between their partner’s legs.

For perfect alignment, the top partner should “ride high,” or lift their body higher than in the usual missionary position.

To do this, the top partner’s chest should align with the bottom partner’s shoulders.

Once you’re in alignment, the top partner can carefully rest their weight onto the bottom partner.

This will reduce the amount of space between your genitals and create more friction.

From here, the top can slowly enter the bottom partner — but just the tip! The shaft of your penis or wand toy will rest against the vulva.

Then, begin an up-and-down rocking motion. This will allow for slight vaginal penetration while the shaft rubs against the clitoris.

Keep it slow and steady to see where it takes you.

Yes! This position isn’t as intuitive as basic missionary, but these tips and tricks can help you find your groove:

  • Angle it. The bottom partner should tip their hips and thighs up at an angle — no higher than 45 degrees — to allow for better positioning without inhibiting pelvic movement.
  • Add cushioning. Placing a pillow at the base of the bottom partner’s tailbone can help them find a comfortable angle and alleviate any discomfort.
  • Move in alternate directions. Instead of thrusting, have one partner move upward while the other moves downward. Try switching up the movement in different directions for even more clitoral stimulation.
  • Pace yourselves. Unlike basic missionary position, which can get fast and rampant, coital alignment works best with a slow and controlled pace.

You certainly can! This is often referred to as the Reverse Coital Alignment Technique.

Here, the person receiving the penetration is on top.

Instead of shifting their body higher than their partner’s, the top partner should shift their body a few inches lower.

This allows the penis or dildo to better stimulate the clitoris.

Remember: CAT is less about the in-and-out motion and more focused on genital-to-genital contact.

Think of Reverse CAT as a, ahem, more intimate form of spooning.

Of course. Experiment with the toys and tricks in your toolbox until you find what feels best.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

  • Invest in a sex pillow. Unlike your run-of-the-mill bed pillow, a sex pillow looks more like a supportive wedge that will hug the curves of the bottom partner’s back and tilt their hips up at just the right angle.
  • Explore the erogenous zones. Run your hands through your partner’s hair or across their scalp. Gently nibble on their ears. Lightly trace your fingertips along their inner arm. Or ask them to try these moves on you! These subtle, tingling sensations can to genital stimulation and lead to a more intense orgasm.
  • Play with a new toy. If you’re using a dildo, consider swapping it out for a vibrating wand toy. Other beginner-friendly toys like butt plugs, nipple clamps, and feather ticklers can add even more stimulation.

First of all, give yourself a pat on the back!

From here, you may want to check out other positions that focus on clitoral stimulation. A few of our favorites:

  • Reverse Cow. Because you’re sitting up and facing away from the bottom partner, you can easily stimulate your own clitoris. Your partner can also reach their hand around and add to this sensation.
  • Reclining Chiller. Put the heels of your feet together like a butterfly and recline back. Have your partner use their penis or wand toy to trace counterclockwise circles around your vulva. When you’re almost there, wrap your legs around your partner and rock your pelvis up and down for more stimulation.
  • Sitting on Pillow Top. Place a pillow underneath your pelvis as you kneel forward. Have your partner enter or stimulate you from behind. Rock your vulva against the pillow and grind for added stimulation.

The Coital Alignment Technique may take a little practice before you find the perfect positioning, but the journey’s half the fun!

Try out some of our tips, stay safe, and lean into the pleasure.