Sex Question Friday: What Is The Best Sexual Position?

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Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know the best sexual position for heterosexual couples.

What is the best position for penile-vaginal intercourse?

This is one of the most common questions that people send into the website. It’s somewhat hard to answer because everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to sex. There also appear to be differences in what feels good to men and women. For example, surveys have found that heterosexual men prefer the “woman on top” position, whereas heterosexual women prefer “man on top” [1]. To me, that suggests that a lot of us are lazy in bed and want our partners to do all of the work!

Of course, there’s a lot of individual variability and some men and women like other positions (e.g., rear-entry, side by side, etc.), so I guess the real question is how do we define the “best” sexual position? Some might argue that the best position is one in which both partners reach orgasm at the same time. If we go with that definition, then the position of choice would probably be the coital alignment technique (CAT). The CAT has been studied extensively by scientists since the 1980s, and research has found that it significantly increases the likelihood of female orgasm during intercourse and enhances the odds of simultaneous orgasm [2].

So how does it work? Here’s the scientific description:

“The positioning for coital alignment requires a shift forward by the male partner from the standard missionary position to the male ‘pelvic-override’ position, in which the base of the penis makes direct contact with the woman’s clitoris. This makes vaginal penetration with constant clitoral contact possible in coitus, completing a fundamental genital ‘circuitry.’ The genital contact is maintained by a coordinated form of sexual movement in which the woman leads the upward stroke and the man the downward stroke. The partner moving his or her pelvis backward exerts a slight but firm counterpressure. The penile-clitoral connection is held together by pressure and counterpressure simultaneously exerted genitally by both partners in a rocking motion rather than the familiar ‘in and out’ pattern of coital thrusting.” [2]

In other words, think of the CAT as a modified missionary (i.e., man-on-top) position in which he leans his body forward to the point where the base of his penis touches the clitoris. The partners then “grind” or rock their pelvises back and forth so that his penis and her clitoris stay in constant contact. This stands in stark contrast to the typical in-and-out thrusting that you see in porn.

Mastering the CAT takes practice and involves getting the partners to rethink the way they typically have sex. The partners also need to be willing to work together to achieve mutual pleasure, because this involves a very coordinated set of movements (i.e., nobody is allowed to be lazy with this one!). However, the benefits are worth it and the results speak for themselves. If you want a position that enhances the odds of simultaneous orgasm, then give the CAT a try.

For past Sex Question Friday posts, see here. Want to learn more about The Psychology of Human Sexuality? Click here for a complete list of articles or like the Facebook page to get articles delivered to your newsfeed.

[1] Elliot, L., & Brantley, C. (1997). Sex on campus: The Details guide to the real sex lives of college students. New York: Random House.

[2] Pierce, A. P. (2000). The coital alignment technique (CAT): An overview of studies. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 26, 257-268.

Image Source: 123rf.com

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