It’s easy to write missionary position off as the most vanilla sex position of all time. I mean, when you’ve got moves like the Corkscrew or the Reverse Scoop, it can easily pale in comparison.
But that doesn’t mean you should take missionary off the table, or resort to it only when you’re feeling lazy (or ya know, hungover). In fact, there are several good reasons why it should be a regular part of your repertoire.
“Missionary sex can be hot because of the intensity it can bring on-the skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, the close-up smells of each other’s bodies, and just the mere closeness of two bodies,” explains Debra Laino, DHS, a sex therapist and professor at Jefferson University and Wilmington University.
Missionary opens the door for tons of sensuality on top of the pleasure that comes with sex of any kind. Plus, because it’s so basic, it’s actually THE prime sex position to build from. You can adjust and modify missionary so that it fits your mood Every. Single. Time.
Back up a sec: What exactly qualifies as missionary sex?
Missionary sex simply means that the person doing the penetrating (whether it’s with a penis or a strap-on) is on top and the person receiving is lying underneath them.
Missionary is a great starter move that doesn’t require much flexibility or effort. Of course, all the thrusting stimulates the penis, says Nan Wise, PhD, a cognitive neuroscience researcher, certified sex and relationship therapist, and author of Why Good Sex Matters
1. Start with some erotic play.
What some might consider foreplay, Wise calls erotic play. Foreplay promotes the separation of the beginning from the main event when, in reality, it’s all sex-as long as you’re feeling pleasure, she says. Don’t downplay the buildup, she insists, because it’s super important for getting into and staying in the ideal headspace for what’s to come.
So, instead of relying solely on the sensuality of missionary to make you feel connected to you partner, warm up with a some light vaginal penetration with your fingers or your partner’s, says Laino. Or, if that’s not your move, try oral sex as your transition to intercourse so that you and your partner can start building up the mood from the start.
“Erotic play is important with all positions,” Laino says. “But because of the intensity of missionary, it’s especially nice to work into it.” (Gradual = less awkward, especially with a newer partner.)
Your breasts and nipples are two of your biggest erogenous zones, so give them some TLC. Massage, suck, clamp, or lightly pinch them during sex, suggests sex therapist Ian Kerner, PhD, author of She Comes First. And if it’s hands-free nipple stimulation you’re looking for, position yourself underneath your partner for chest-to-chest contact. This way, you can take toys and fingers out of the equation completely while your partner’s chest rubs against yours as they thrust. It might even be enough stimulation for a nipple orgasm.
3. . And your other erogenous zones, too.
Don’t forget to stimulate areas that aren’t between your legs or on your chest. Some less obvious zones, says Wise, are your ears and neck. Ask your partner to lightly graze their fingernails against the back of your neck, or put your tongue in their ear after playfully tugging on their earlobe with your teeth.
Of course, what might feel good to you might not be a sexy zone for your partner, so get their okay beforehand or stop if they say it’s not their thing.
4. Adjust your rhythm.
Sex isn’t a race (unless you’re looking for a quickie). So, instead of rushing for an orgasm, slow down, says Wise. Focus on your breath and try to sync your exhales with your partner’s. This allows you to savor the sexual sensations you’re experiencing as a unit.
Or, in a move borrowed from tantric sex, you might exhale into your partner’s mouth while they inhale. Not only is this hot AF, but these deeper breaths will also increase blood flow and circulation to your pelvic area, upping your pleasure, Wise says.
Still not it? Try switching up your moves while you slow down, says sex and relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly, PhD, author of The New Sex Bible. Mix up the rhythm by moving your hips in a circular motion instead of simply moving up and down, she suggests.
5. Play with angles.
The best part of missionary is just how easily you can change the placement and intensity of stimulation-just by switching your body angles.
If you want deeper penetration, place a pillow beneath your lower back to prop up your pelvis, says Wise. Tilting your pelvis upward forces your partner to thrust downward and thus more deeply into you.
If you’re looking for more clitoral stimulation, consider this slight twist on missionary called the coital alignment technique (CAT). To do it, have your partner move up toward your shoulders so that their penis (or the strap-on) can apply more pressure on your clitoris than usual as they enter you. Instead of thrusting in and out, your partner will grind against your pelvis.
“CAT is the single-most powerful position for two reasons,” says Wise. The first is that it increases stimulation on the external clitoris, which, if that’s what you’re into, will send chills through your body. in a good way. The second perk of CAT is it’s ability to draw out intercourse, meaning you and your partner won’t orgasm after only a few minutes of fun.
Because of the way your partner has to position their body for CAT (in order to spotlight your clit), penetration won’t feel quite as deep to them, so it will them a few more thrusts (at least) than usual to climax, Wise explains. It’s the perfect move for those whose partners tend to finish to soon and want to keep things going for as long as possible.
6. Bring a vibrator into the mix.
To take things up a (literal) notch, bring your vibrator into the bedroom. Use it before penetration-on your nipples, neck, back, and any other area of your body that you like to amp excitement, Laino suggests. Or when your partner is on top of you, they can lean on their knees while they’re inside you and use the vibe on your clitoris, in sort of a modified missionary position, she says.