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These alternative positions are a play on classic ones

Hey, missionary is nice, but when’s the last time you tried something new and almost the same? It’s winter as heck out there, so what better time to dive into a whole new world of comfortable, nude cuddling.

As fun as vaginal penetrative sex can be — and ooh, can it be fun — sometimes you want to switch it up from the same old positions. So, we’ve got some alternatives for all your favorite positions, as well as what to try if penetration just isn’t for you.

45 degrees

Brought to us by sexologist Dr. Janet Brito, this position is excellent for getting deeper penetration while still hitting the same spots as missionary. It also allows for optional eye contact. The gist of this position is to have your legs on your partner’s shoulders creating a 45-degree angle.

To get into this position, Brito says:

  1. Start by lying on your back and position yourself at the edge of the bed.
  2. While at the edge of the bed, place your calves 45 degrees from your face and rest them on your partner’s shoulders. Align your chests.
  3. Once you’re aligned, grab their thighs and bring them forward a little bit, so their chest is above your breasts, below your chin.

Reclining chilling goddess

Another Brito special, this position is a little more complicated. Start out lying on your bed with a few pillows under your thighs. Bring the base of your feet together in a butterfly position. Next, Brito recommends lathering lube on your clitoris.

“Then, have your partner lie on top of you, gently take their penis or dildo and glide their penis or dildo around your vulva — on your terms and at your pace — making counterclockwise circles around your clitoris.”

She explains, “When you feel at an 8 out of 10, release the soles of your feet and wrap your legs around their calves, and rock your pelvis up and down, as your partner’s body moves with you, ensuring that you have the clitoral stimulation you need. If your partner is heavier than you, simply reverse, and you go on top. For increased simulation, place a pillow under your pelvis.”

Add a toy

If you want to keep the basic mechanics of missionary but want a little extra something, try using a sex wedge pillow, such as The Liberator.

Place the wedge under your pelvis with the larger side facing your legs for a deeper penetration and more versatility. The wedge can also be added to any of the above positions for an extra push.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money to buy a wedge, a few stacked firm pillows under the pelvis will do the trick.

Another excellent penetrative toy is the Njoy wand. Made of solid steel, this toy has two sides — one larger than the other — and can get to those hard-to-reach spots. Pair the Njoy wand with oral for maximum pleasure.

Hands-free riding

Another classic position turned a bit on its head, this position is basically doggy style sitting up.

Have your partner sit on the edge of the bed and then slowly place yourself on top of them, facing away from them.

Brito advises: “Put a dollop of silicone-based lube on your partner’s fingertips. As you slide into them, guide their hand to your clitoris, and ride their hand to your liking. Meaning: Put your hand over theirs to show them what kind of circles around your clitoris you want — small, medium or large — or if you want up and down stimulation, while you thrust to your preference, using your feet to ground you.”

Very lazy plank

An excellent position with an excellent name.

Place yourself chest down on top of an exercise ball or five pillows. Next, Brito recommends: “Open your legs, rocking your pelvis a bit, as they go on their knees and get ready to enter you from behind. If you decide to use an exercise ball, make sure you placed a pillow or stopped in front of it to avoid rolling.”

The ball or pillows will act as a cushion, allowing you to get excellent penetration without having to balance or hold yourself up.


A classic alternative to doggy style, this position is incredible for a slower, more sensual mood. Have your partner wrap their body around you from behind — big spoon! — and slowly have them enter you from behind. Bring their arm gently around your torso or towards your breasts and then slowly rock back and forth until you find the perfect rhythm.

Pushed against the wall

If you enjoy the sensation of being penetrated from underneath, then use your bedroom walls to your advantage.

Have your partner lift you up and wrap your legs around their waist as they gently enter you from below. Push your back against the wall to create a bit of tension and slowly begin to move up and down or around in circles.

For those with less upper body strength, a similar sensation can be achieved on a desk or counter and having your partner thrust into you as you sit on the edge.

Shower sex

This is an excellent option to spice up your morning routine — or perhaps for cleaner period sex. Have your partner stand under the water while you place one leg on the edge of your tub or against the shower wall. Have them enter you and adjust your foot placement for maximum stability.

Rock back and forth, allowing both of you to enjoy the steam and warm water. If you love shower sex, you may want to invest in a handle and footrest, such as this shower sex kit. There’s greater risk of falling in the shower, which brings new meaning to mindful safe sex.

Try Ohnut

A new innovation in the world of sex tech, Ohnut helps those who find penetration to be painful. Emily Sauer, the founder of Ohnut, explains, “Worn externally at the base of a penetrating partner (e.g., one with a penis or toy), Ohnut compresses down to act like a buffer. Each set comes with 4 linking rings that incrementally adjust how deep feels good for both partners.”

The toy not only allows for more control over depth, it also absorbs some of the force, allowing for gentler penetration.

Start with fingers and always use lube

If penetration from a penis or toy is painful, then start with fingers. It’s a complete misnomer that sex is only sex when a penis goes into a vagina.

Experimenting with fingers is excellent because not only can you explore better angles, you can also add fingers one at a time to find your perfect penetration girth.

Also, don’t shy away from lube. Not all vaginas produce enough natural lubricant — especially if you’re on birth control pills or over 40 — so there’s absolutely no shame in using lube.

As a general rule, use silicone lube if you’re playing with a penis and water lube if you’re playing with a toy.

Try anal

While it may seem counterintuitive, if vaginal penetration isn’t your cup of a tea, there’s no harm in trying out anal — you may end up loving it.

Make sure to use quite a bit of lube and start with a single finger. If fingers are comfortable and pleasurable, it’s safe to start penetrating with a penis or a toy, as long as the toy has a base — b-vibe has some excellent options.

As you explore different angles of penetration, remember to make sure you and your partner are having a good consensual time. Make sure to check in with your partner after trying new positions so you can decide your favorites together.

And remember, if penetration isn’t your thing — yes, it’s still sex if you’re doing it without penetration — your sex life is still completely valid. Happy exploring!

Hannah Rimm is a writer, photographer, and generally creative person in New York City. She writes primarily about mental and sexual health, and her writing and photography has appeared in Allure, HelloFlo, and Autostraddle. You can find her work at HannahRimm.com or follow her on Instagram.