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What do the Hitachi Magic Wand, Miley Cyrus, and the “cowgirl” sex position have in common? Well, in addition to being major sex symbols, they’ve also all undergone major rebrands.
That’s right, the famous receiver-on-top sex position recently went through a rebrand. Why? Because its former name (the cowgirl) was annoyingly gendered. Girls, after all, aren’t the only people who can enjoy this position — anyone can!
These days the position is better known as:
- rider on top
- person on top
No matter what you call it, though, the below tips will make the position even more pleasurable.
We believe pleasure is a fundamental aspect of a safe and healthy sex life. That’s why we rely on experienced writers, educators, and other experts to share their suggestions on everything from the technique you use to the sex toy you buy.
We only recommend something that we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched — if you know what we mean. Wink.
Any configuration that positions the receiver on top can qualify as rider on top.
Usually, that means on top and receiving vaginal or anal penetration.
But someone may also get into the rider position to receive pleasure by way of their partner’s hand or a sex toy (or three!).
Someone may even get into this position to receive oral sex in a sort of fusion of face sitting or reverse face sitting and rider on top. Yee-haw.
“The standard rider-on-top position has the penetrator laying on their back, and the receiver straddling their hips,” says clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, EdD, author of the forthcoming book “Playing Without a Partner: A Single’s Guide to Sex, Dating, and Happiness.”
But this is customizable.
The penetrator can also be seated in a chair, couch, or similar seat, or in a crab-like position. And there are many, many, many options for the receiver.
The number one tip: Do what feels good to you and your boo! But, yes, there are other tips, too.
Play around with the angle of your hips
If you remember anything from this article, make it this: Angle is everythingggg!
“The angle of your pelvis is going to be what dictates how deep the penis or dildo goes, as well as what internal hot spots (if any) it stimulates during penetration,” explains Stubbs.
If your pelvis is tilted towards your partner’s face, they’re more likely to get deep and stimulate your cervix and A-spot, she says.
If your pelvis is tilted away from your partner’s face, they’re more likely to stimulate your G-spot.
Give reverse rider on top a whirl
Cue Missy Elliot’s “Work It” because this tip entails reversing it.
Reverse rider still puts the penetrator on their back, but turns you around so your back is facing your partner.
“Reverse rider gives them a new view, automatically alters the angle, and can be helpful if you’re going for anal,” says sex educator Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure product company in Chicago that ships worldwide.
Lube is the difference between friction (read: pain) during penetration and pleasure, says Deysach. So lather up, baby!
Pad your knees
Rider on top can be tough on the receiver’s knees. If your knees start to hurt, pad them with pillows.
You can also try squatting over your partner instead of kneeling over them, says Deysach.
“Or, you can move to a narrow chair so the person on top can stand on the floor,” she says. “Or, you could find a big comfy chair and sit on your partner’s lap.”
Be willing to experiment
“Remember that there is no one size fits all solution here, and what felt good with your last partner may not feel good with your next one,” says Deysach.
“There are a lot of factors that can affect how rider on tops feels, and it can take some trial and error to find the right fit,” she says.
Most standing sex positions require that you — or at the very least, your genitals — are about the same height.
But the classic rider position — which entails the penetrator on their back and the receiver straddling their hips — does not!
On the contrary, it’s a great option for people of different heights, explains Deysach.
“If you and your lover are different sizes, no worries! You have lots of options for enjoying the position,” says Deysach.
If the receiver is bigger…
Chairs can be helpful if you’re concerned about putting too much body weight on your partner, says Deysach. “They allow you to use your legs to carry some weight, too.”
There’s another kind of chair that can be helpful: A sex chair, which is a plastic stool that features elastic straps (check out the Bouncing Mount Stool).
To use it, you’ll place the stool legs on either side of the penetrator’s hips, and have the rider climb aboard. The straps will help support the rider’s weight, while also helping them bounce up and down on their partner. Wee!
If the penetrator is bigger…
Try reverse rider, which allows the receiving partner to lean forward as much as they want, without their partner being in the way.
In addition to a sex chair? You betcha!
“Use the headboard for extra leverage, add pillows where you need them for extra cushion, and don’t shy away from investing in position pillows if you think they’ll make you more comfortable,” says Stubbs.
She recommends any of the positioning props from Liberator.
“The great thing about the cowgirl position is that you have way more control over depth,” says Deysach.
“One option, if it feels too deep, is to rise up and keep the in-and-out shallow as you do so,” she says.
As you do this, communicate with your partner:
- “When I drop all the way down, it feels too deep. So, can you just lay there while I move up to the depth that feels good for me?”
- “Today it feels best when you’re less deep. Can I ask you to stay shallow when you thrust?”
Another option: Have your partner don a penis-bumper like the Ohnut or Perfect Fit The Bumper Thrust Buffer, which is a device that sits at the base of a penis or dildo, physically keeping it from going too deep.
If the penetration involves a dildo, you can also ask your partner to strap on a shorter dildo.
You have so many options!
You can place a positioning prop like the Liberator Jaz Pillow under the penetrator’s hips, which can reduce the amount of length on the penis that’s not being utilized, thus making it feel deeper, says Deysach.
“You can also try modifying the rider-on-top position so that instead of being on your knees, you’re sitting on your partner with your feet planted up their head/shoulders,” she says. (This is known as the Crab).
“From here, lean back to support yourself and you can enjoy deep, intense penetration,” she says.
Fun fact: If the penetrator also sits up, the positions changes from the Crab to the Octopus, which is another good position for depth seekers.
That is absolutely possible!
As Deysach says, “Something people like about this position is how many options there are for additional stimulation.”
How you go about incorporating that extra stimulation will vary based on your anatomy and personal preferences.
If you have a vulva…
If you have a vulva and enjoy clitoral stimulation, Stubbs suggests lying flat on your partner’s stomach.
“This will press your clit against their pubic mound, so that when you move it stimulates your clit,” she says.
Another option for clitoral stimulation is to have your partner use a wand vibrator (like the Le Wand) on you while you sit upright.
If you’re being penetrated vaginally, “you can always bring your butt into the scene by wearing a butt plug,” says Stubbs.
You could also flip around into reverse rider, which puts your butt in reach of your partner’s hands, and ask that they stimulate you with their finger or a string of anal beads.
You might incorporate nongenital stimulation by:
- wearing nipple clamps, like the Fifty Shades of Grey The Pinch Adjustable Nipple Clamps
- having your partner tease your thighs or belly with a feather or Wartenberg wheel
- inviting your partner to suck on your fingers, neck, ear, or feet, depending on how you’re positioned
- wearing a ball gag, like the Saffron Silicone Ball Gag
If you have a penis…
If you want your penis to get a little TLC, you might:
- masturbate with your free hand(s)
- masturbate with a stroker, like the Tenga Egg
- put your penis inside a mechanical stoker, like the Alex Neo Thrusting Stroker
- have your partner stimulate your penis or balls with a vibrator
Again, it depends on where your partner wants to be stimulated and how.
If your partner has a penis, they might:
- bop in a butt plug
- plop on a pair of nipple suckers
- throw on a vibrating cock ring, like the Lelo Tor 2
If your partner is wearing a strap-on dildo, they might:
- swap the nonvibrating dildo for a vibrating dildo
- insert a vaginal plug, like the b-Vibe Twist Texture Plug
- wear an internal vibrator, like the We-Vibe Sync Chorus
- put a bullet vibrator into the harness, if the harness has a place for it
- place a palm-shaped vibrator, like the Le Wand Compact Point, between the harness and their skin
- insert a butt plug
If you want to be more actively involved in giving your partner pleasure, you might:
- lean forward and use your mouth to kiss them or suck their toes
- use your hands to caress their legs or tweak their nipples
- tease their belly or inner thigh with a feather or your nails
If you try all the above and the position doesn’t do it for you, NBD!
“There are many, many positions for intercourse and none are any ‘better’ than another because it’s all personal preference,” says Deysach. “Find what positions do work for you and go with those instead!”
There are more ways to increase your pleasure in the rider-on-top position than there are nicknames for it.
*Pokémon voice* Try ’em all!
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.