8 Dominant Sex Positions For Women, Because Cowgirls Don’t Always Get The Blues

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: sex positions for women who want to dominate.

Q: “After years of feeling too self-conscious, I finally worked up the courage to get on top during sex. Turns out I LOVED it. It was such a turn-on to feel like I was in control, and my partner was at my mercy. Are there other good sex positions for women who want to take charge during sex?”

A: Thanks for the question! To get right to it, yes, there are plenty of great sex positions for women who want to dominate in bed. Too many of us fall into the trap of thinking that male partner or the penetrating partner is the one in charge. It’s really hot to flip the script and take the lead in bed for a change. Here are eight super hot positions for a woman who is ready to take control.

1. Cowgirl

How to Do It: This is probably the most classic woman-in-charge position. Have your partner lie flat on the bed. Climb on top, straddling their waist, with one leg on either side of their body. Sit up straight. It’s typically easiest if you rest your weight on your knees. Don’t be shy about using your hand to guide your partner’s penis or dildo into you. From there, you can rock your hips back and forth, in circles, or even in a figure-eight shape.

Why It’s Hot: You’re completely taking the reigns in this position. You’re in charge of all of the movement, and your partner is just along for the ride.

Up the Domination Factor: Try putting the soles of your feet flat on the bed. This variation will get your thighs burning pretty quickly, but it can be a great way to up the intensity, if only for a few seconds.

2. Reverse Missionary

How to Do It: From standard Cowgirl, lie down so your body is pressed against your partner’s. Extend your legs straight, putting them on the outside of your partner’s legs. Put your hands by the sides of your partner’s body, and use them to balance your weight. Slowly grind your pelvis back and forth.

Why It’s Hot: It’s fun to play around with reversing the genders of stereotypical Missionary. The partner with a penis or dildo is usually in charge, but this time you’re taking on that role.

Up the Domination Factor: Pin your partner down using your hands, or go whole-hog with restraints, like this Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System.

3. Face Sit

How to Do It: Have your partner lay flat on their back at the top of the bed with a pillow under their head. Straddle their face, with one leg on either side of their face. It helps if you have a headboard that you can hold onto, but you can also put your hands flat on the wall. Ease your body down so you’re hovering right over your partner’s mouth. Have them perform oral sex.

Why It’s Hot: This is one of the most intense woman-in-control positions. It’s unbelievably sexy and empowering.

Up the Domination Factor: This is a great position to try out some power-play role-playing. Pretend to be a queen getting serviced by one of her subjects, or tell your partner they can’t stop until they’ve given you multiple orgasms. (Quick safety note: Make sure to agree on a safe signal if you’re role-playing, since your partner might not be able to speak clearly.)

4. Reverse Face Sit

How to Do It: Turn around, facing your partner’s feet. You’ll probably need to have your partner scoot down the bed a bit, to give you enough room for your legs.

Why It’s Hot: This 180-degree change opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Ask your partner to play with your butt as they pleasure you with their tongue.

Up the Domination Factor: Bend over and perform oral on your partner, but only if they do a “good enough” job working on you. The second they start to slip up, remove your mouth.

5. Leaning Cowgirl

How to Do It: This is a simple variation of Cowgirl, but it definitely deserves its own mention. You can change the angle of standard Cowgirl by leaning backwards, placing your hands behind you, and resting your weight on your palms. Rock your pelvis back and forth, or try rising up an inch or two and popping back down.

Why It’s Hot: This position gives your partner an amazing view. You’ll feel super sexy being so on display, but still being in control.

Up the Domination Factor: Make your partner stroke your clitoris with their fingers or a toy.

6. Sideways Saddle

How to Do It: This position is a little tricky to envision if you’ve never done it before, but it’s worth challenging your spatial skills. Have your partner lie flat on the bed, with their knees bent and their feet flat. Straddle one of their legs. You’ll be facing their thigh (so you’ll be turned away from your partner’s head), with one of your legs on either side of their legs. From there, grind up against your partner’s thigh as you rock back and forth and side to side.

Why It’s Hot: This position is included in my list of the best sex positions for female orgasm. It works amazingly well for women who like grinding action against their clitoris. You’re fully in charge, and your partner is pinned beneath you.

Up the Domination Factor: You can play up the domination by telling your partner you’re just using them to get yourself off. Get your rocks off, then leave them begging for more.

7. Reverse Cowgirl

How to Do It: This is another 180-degree change that makes a world of difference. From standard Cowgirl, turn around so you’re facing your partner’s feet. You’ll still be straddling them, just in a different direction. You can sit straight up, or lean forward and rest your weight on your hands.

Why It’s Hot: Turning around exposes you to new internal hotspots. Plus, you can taunt your partner with an amazing view of your butt.

Up the Domination Factor: Tie up your partner’s hands so they can’t touch you. Or get them right to the edge of orgasm, then stop. Repeat as many times as either one of you can stand.

8. Lap Dance

How to Do It: Have your partner sit on a sofa. Straddle them, lowering down onto your knees. Hold onto your partner’s neck, their shoulders, or the back of the sofa for leverage. Bob up and down, or grind your hips back and forth.

Why It’s Hot: You’re face to face with your partner, which can be really sexy. They can bask in all of your head-boss-in-charge energy from close up.

Up the Domination Factor: Tell your partner they’re not allowed to touch you. Or pop up onto the soles of your feet for a minute to ratchet up the intensity.

Happy dominating!

Images: Caroline Wurtzel, Mary Blount/Bustle

Adam & Eve’s 2012 “Great American Sex Survey” came out yesterday, and out of the 1,000 Americans polled, 36% chose “woman on top” as their favorite position, with 33% opting for “missionary” and 20% voting for “rear entry.”

Adam & Eve’s own sex expert, Dr. Kat Van Kirk seemed to congratulate the majority for choosing something over missionary. Our own Dennis Romero rolled his eyes at last year’s results, which had missionary coming in first, joking that Americans are “fairly white bread in bed” and calling the numbers a “bummer.”

Maybe we missed the memo, but what’s so wrong with doing it missionary?

Slow down. We know what you’re thinking. We’re inexperienced, young or just accustomed to some dude drunkenly fucking us and then flopping over to pass out. None of the above, thanks.

We’ve hopped on and ridden reverse cowgirl (it kills us to write that, what a stupid name for a position), been bent over tables and slammed against walls, wrapped our legs around your shoulders and had them pressed back by our ears. Of course we’ve climbed on top. We really like it from behind, especially when you hold our arms down and bite the nape of our neck. This works even if you are terrible at sex, because it feels all primal!

But nothing has ever gotten us off like doing it missionary. So many dudes think we want to be flipped and turned upside down and fucked all crazy-like, like it’s boring to stare into our eyes and prop yourself up on one arm so you can use the other hand to rub our clit (sure we could do it ourselves, but a man who wants to do this is a generous lover and you better lock that shit down). Yeah, it really sucks knowing you actually like watching us get aroused, guys. Really sucks that you want to make sure we come. Pro tip: it is very hard for a girl to fake an orgasm in her eyes.

We know porn cameramen can’t get a good angle during missionary, and maybe doing it face-to-face feels too intimate in our no-strings-attached society. But sex can be just as amazing in a one-night-stand as it can in a long-term relationship. Don’t be scared to connect; you’re already as close as two people can get. Might as well go all the way, get a little crazy and do it missionary, right?

Myths abound when it comes to sex, sexual positions, and conception, says Donnica Moore, MD, a women’s health expert based in Far Hills, N.J.

“One common misconception is that it’s best to have all sex all the time because the greater the number episodes of intercourse, the greater the chance of conception,” she says. But that’s not true. “When trying to conceive, it’s better to have sex every other day around ovulation to give the guy a chance to recharge his sperm count,” she says.

While there are no scientific studies regarding the best sexual positions for baby-making, the missionary (man on top) position is typically considered optimal for conception, she says.

“Some people suggest that placing a pillow under the hips and keeping legs raised after sex may enhance the sperms’ ability to swim upstream,” she adds.

You can, of course, get pregnant having intercourse in almost any position, but there are certain gravity-defying positions such as sitting, standing, or woman on top that may discourage sperm from traveling upstream.

“Also don’t do stupid things like douche after you have sex if you are trying to conceive,” says Moore. Douching alters the pH balance of the vagina and sperm needs the alkaline-acid levels to be more or less balanced in order to live. In addition, if you douche, you’re flushing cervical fluid out and this fluid gives sperm an easier and quicker path to the uterus and beyond.

“There is also a myth that says if you have an orgasm, you are more likely to have a male,” she says. “Who knows if that is true, but if you have an orgasm you are more likely to have fun,” Moore says. And “when people are trying to get pregnant, it can take the fun and spontaneity out of sex.”

6 maps and charts that explain sex around the world

People around the world are having sex. Right now. These maps and charts tell you how they’re doing it.

The data comes from two surveys done by Durex, the condom folks. Their Sexual Wellbeing Survey (from 2007/2008) and Face of Global Sex (2012) are methodologically rigorous. A polling firm, Harris Interactive, set up large sample size online polls designed to capture a representative sample of heterosexual sex-havers from a number of countries around the world.

For reports designed principally with Durex’s corporate interests in mind, they’re pretty well done. The data also reveals a lot of interesting things about how much people in different countries enjoy sex, when they tend to do it, and gender equality (or the lack thereof) in sexual enjoyment. Here’s what we learned.

1. People have more exciting sex in Nigeria and Mexico

There are a few surprises on the global excitement map. For instance, the French don’t live up to their reputation as great lovers, reporting some of the lowest levels of sexual excitement in the survey. Mexico and Nigeria beat almost everywhere else by a hefty margin.

One item of note: the Nigerian interviews were done in person, not online like the rest of the surveys. That may introduce some bias in the result: imagine how much harder it would be to tell a live person rather than a computer that your sex life is kinda meh.

But what’s up with Mexico? Well, one thing that Durex found is that people tend to be much happier with their sex lives when they feel respected during the act. And Mexicans feel more respected than anyone else in the world:

Respect during sex doesn’t fully explain excitement on its own, or else Spain would would be a whole lot more excited. But it makes sense that it explains part of what makes a country more excited about sex. Spain, for instance, might have lower levels of sexual excitement, somewhere down near France or Britain’s level, if it weren’t so damn self-respecting. Mexico’s super-high respect rate may explain its edge over some other highly excited countries.

2. People in Japan are really unhappy with their sex lives

Even among the worst performers in Durex’s surveys, Japan stands out. The below chart shows the 6 countries in the world where less than 40 percent of people report being “very or fully satisfied” with their sex lives. Note the difference between Japan’s pink/yellow bars and everyone else’s:

See that? Japan is the only country in the world where a higher percentage of people report being dissatisfied with their sex lives than satisfied.

The simplest explanation for Japan’s sexual woes is that they’re just not doing it. Thirty-four percent of Japanese folk report having sex weekly. The next lowest country, somewhat surprisingly the United States, reports a weekly 53 percent sex rate (though, this isn’t the only indication of sexual satisfaction: 76 percent of Italians are having sex weekly, and they’re still near the bottom of the satisfaction pack).

It’s not surprising that the Japanese are having infrequent, unsatisfying sex. For years, Japan reported some of the longest average working hours in the world. In and of itself, this makes sex less likely. Veteran Japan reporter Michael Zielenziger says working hours have made “physical contact” between spouses “so infrequent that some of Japan’s leading homebuilders now report that more than one in three custom homes is built with separate bedrooms for husband and wife.”

Barcroft Media/Getty Images

It gets worse. Japanese cultural and business norms strongly discourage women from marrying if they’d like to succeed at work, so marriage is on the decline. And married people, according to science, have the most sex around the world.

While Japanese people are working less hours today (down to merely American-level of hours worked per week), its economy has slowed considerably and employment has gotten worse. Both slow growth and unemployment contribute to stress, which Durex found to be one of the biggest contributors to an unpleasant sex life.

Japan’s economy is something of a perfect storm of sexlessness. It makes Japanese people overworked, underemployed, and undermarried.

3. The orgasm gap between genders varies by country

Around 48 percent of people worldwide “always” or “almost always” orgasm. Unsurprisingly, the figure for men (61 percent) is 28 points higher than the equivalent for women (33 percent).

What is interesting is how that gap varies by country. Check out this map plotting male orgasm rates minus female orgasm rates around the world.

Nigeria has an implausibly small four point gap, suggesting once again that the in-person interviews are skewing the numbers. Exempting that, Singapore, China, and Mexico had the smallest differences between between male and female orgasm rates, while Russia and Thailand had the largest.

The thing that’s most surprising about this is there’s virtually no correlation between a country’s overall level of gender equality and its orgasm gap. Some comparatively egalitarian countries, like Spain, score fairly well, while others, like the US and Canada, score poorly. Likewise, some nations with obviously larger gender inequalities in terms of social status and employment, like India, do better, while Thailand does poorly.

What this suggests, then, is that improvements in women’s standings around society do not always translate to improvements in sexual partnerships. Making sex more equitable in at least one important way — putting the female orgasm on the same pedestal as the its male equivalent — is a problem that even more developed countries haven’t solved.

4. Turkey has an alarmingly high STI rate

Sexually transmitted infections are not fun. And in most places, people either don’t seem to have them or won’t tell pollsters they have them. Except for Turkey:

This map actually understates Turkey’s personal problems. 55 percent of Turks reported never having an STI; the next worst country, Russia, is a full 12 points higher.

Again, it could be that there’s something wrong with the data. Perhaps Turks are more honest or more paranoid than everyone else. But Durex data from 2007, five years before the recent Global Face report, suggests another explanation. Turks reported more sex partners than any other country in the world, and were doing it unprotected about 45 percent of the time:

Times Online

Though Turkey’s STI rates weren’t that high in 2007, people having unprotected sex with a lot of partners for a few years could certainly raise them by 2012.

5. People in Asia tend to be pretty old when they lose their virginity, by global standards

Switching gears from too much sex to not having it, it looks like people lose their virginity at different ages in different places. Asian countries have a much higher mean age of virginity loss than nations basically everywhere else.

Keep in mind that both the African and South American data covers only two countries in each rather large continents. So, if you compare Asia with the other more continents that are more comprehensively covered, the difference becomes even more stark.

This isn’t just a one-off finding. A study published by World Health Organization and the prestigious Lancet medical journal confirmed that Asian countries tended to have higher median ages of virginity loss than the global average.

There seem to be several reasons for this, and they vary country to country and region by region. In South Asia, the Lancet researchers found that men lost their virginity at extremely old ages, and women at relatively young ones — leading to an above-average cross-gender average. That’s because, in South Asian countries, many girls are married to older men at young ages.

The reason for similar numbers in East Asia are harder to pin down. I don’t normally like to use “culture” as an explanation for things, but some research suggests there may be something about East Asian religious traditions or cultural norms that promotes sexual conservatism. One study by a group of researchers found very high levels of reported “embarrassment” about discussing sexual practices in public. These results, according to the researchers is that “in comparison with men and women from ‘Western’ regions,” respondents living in East Asian countries were “more sexually conservative, more male-orientated and less sexually active.”

6. The French and Indians have short sex, while Nigerians and Greeks take their time

Once people start having sex, they do it pretty differently. Some countries prefer quickies, while others are a touch more languid.

By this count, the average Nigerian couple spends almost twice as long per session than the average Indian pair (24 v. 13.2). Why?

Couldn’t tell you, but it sure is curious.

What I Learned About Hookup Cultures from Traveling Abroad

I was once on vacation with a friend in Belgium. One night out, after we had finished our cone of mayonnaise-bathed frites, we ran into a pack of good-looking youths. My friend approached them and asked for a cigarette. Seven beers and 40 strained American Pie references later (they loved American Pie and expected we did, too) the Ryan Gosling of the group and my friend drove back to the suburbs to have sex, and I brought another cone of frites up to my hotel room. At one point during their hookup, my friend said, “I like your dick.” He acted surprised, even embarrassed. “Thank you,” he said. Later, she asked if he could spank her, and he paused, then patted her ass once. “There?” He wasn’t sure how to proceed.

As is true of everything from breakfast philosophies to stances on the appropriateness of denim cut-offs, the act of sex is dynamic and shaped by socio-cultural context. While sketching sexuality along racial or ethnic lines is dangerous (stereotypes, always bad, are especially harmful here), the way we fuck and talk about fucking varies slightly to dramatically from country to country. Inundated with place-specific media and porn styles and weird laws, different countries breed different social norms—and different hookup protocol. Take the sex hotels that are common in South America, for example, a normal phenomenon there that seems somewhat seedy in the States. “Everyone uses sex hotels so they don’t have to bring people home to their parents’ house,” an American woman who recently traveled through Uruguay told me. “When I got to the sex hotel with my Uruguayan lover, we got a room for two hours with a round bed and a mirror on the ceiling.”

Read more: Bone Voyage: The Très Stupide Hookups You Only Have While Studying Abroad

Some studies have tried to track sex global trends. A 2005 to 2009 Durex study, for example, found that people have intercourse for the first time at the youngest age in Iceland, with an average of 15.6 years old, and Greece topped the list of citizens having the most sex on a weekly basis—87 percent of Greeks got it on at least as often as you can get your grubby lil hands on an issue of The Economist. (As for sexual satisfaction, 67 percent of Nigerians polled said they were satisfied with their sex lives, compared with 15 percent of Japanese people.) Usually, though, sex research is more specific: According to a press release provided by Adult Empire, for example, which recently examined sex trends in Croatia, the country ranks 57th in porn consumption worldwide. Sunday is the most popular day for Croatians to watch porn, which they do for an average of four minutes and five seconds. (Their favorite category: “All Girl/Lesbian.”)

Statistics are nice, but they tend not to get at the nature of cultural differences when it comes to sex. Take my friend’s Belgian romp. I’m not going to say Belgian men are scared of spanking, but there’s some intel we can gather when we pool our stories: Belgian Ryan Gosling liked that she liked his dick, but he had never heard that out loud before. And my friend, who has sex in America the vast majority of the time (usually with “Massholes”), had never heard a guy be surprised by this. The best we can do is understand our intercultural sex stories for what they are: super-specific anecdotes that may or may not say something about the country in which they are set. But don’t get me wrong: When a man in a small Croatian village came on my face without asking, I didn’t blame Croatia or Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s moral leadership. I blamed my damn self for going home with a man who wore his hair in a tight ponytail, but most of all I blamed him, for being a monster.

Speaking with many men and women for this story, some themes emerged. When it comes to how sex is approached in wider society, as opposed to in individual encounters, Europeans seem to be more open. Anecdotally, Megan Wozniak, the director of marketing at Adult Empire, always says she sees massive differences on a country-to-country basis, even sometimes a continent-to-continent basis. “In my travels, Europeans seem to be much more promiscuous and open with sex,” she says. “I tend to see much more sex toy shops in shopping malls and out in the open in busy shopping districts. It’s far less taboo and hidden is in the US. Also, nudity is acceptable and the norm, from beaches to television.”

At the same time, several straight American women told me that the sex they’ve had in Europe has been more restrained and conservative, following the script of man as instigator/dominant and woman as not that. I know this will get me in hot water with the random Italians who DM me, but I’m often met with surprise from EU men during hook-ups for taking initiative, even more so than in the US, where it can nevertheless also be surprising to them because masculinity, etc. What’s more, many women tell me that the men they’ve hooked up with abroad, in Europe and elsewhere, have been less likely to initiate oral, which mirrors my experience as well.

“This was the one unusual similarity I found: Neither of the guys had asked or offered oral sex or much foreplay in general,” a woman told me about hooking up with men from France and the UK. “I have one friend who told me that that’s a European norm—oral sex is seen as more intimate than regular sex and is therefore saved for more serious relationships. I don’t know how accurate this is, but I found it interesting that neither guy pushed for oral sex, and it was always very straightforward penetrative sex. it feels more like oral sex is usually the stepping stone to vaginal/anal sex.”

The best we can do is understand our intercultural sex stories for what they are: super-specific anecdotes that may or may not say something about the country in which they are set.

On the flip side, other women said it seemed that European men often expect blowjobs from American women—sometimes it’s one of the only English words they know. “The men in France had an unusual fluency with the terminology for dick-sucking,” an American woman who studied abroad in Paris told me. “But they couldn’t really communicate much else.”

A friend who just had sex with a man in the south of France (like, a few days ago) told me, “I feel like he was very shocked by the sex; he was just sort of like, ‘Woah.’ He said I was very unique, very exceptional, like he was not used to women taking initiative in bed.” And as in any situation abroad, the language barrier is a factor. “Also I think he said ‘I love you’ twice?” my friend continued. “But that could be a translation error on my part.”

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A queer American woman who has spent years in Paris, on the other hand, says she’s witnessed a bit more fluidity, in terms of roles. “Queer female relationships here aren’t as gender differentiated as in the States,” she said. “You don’t see a lot of butch/femme or masculine-of-center/feminine couplings, as compared to the US.”

One phenomenon that’s relatively universal, at least according to the straight women I talked to? The reluctance of men to fetch or even have condoms. The smaller the town or village, the less likely, too. A few years ago, I lived in a tiny, crumbling medieval town on a mountain outside of Naples, Italy. Once when I was hooking up someone there, I asked if he had a condom. He looked confused. “I thought you would have one,” he said. “This is a small village. If I go to the pharmacy to buy condoms, everyone will know.” I sent him home.

Sexual consent

Fast Facts

  • Consent is an ongoing process – you might agree to sex earlier on and then change your mind – everyone has the right to do this.
  • Giving your consent and getting your partner’s consent may feel a bit awkward but ultimately sex is about communication and can and should be a positive and pleasurable experience.
  • The legal age to have sex in your country may be different depending on whether you’re a boy or a girl. It could also vary if you’re gay or lesbian.
  • Any sexual contact without consent is wrong and illegal whatever the age of the people involved.

What is sexual consent?

Sexual consent means agreeing to take part in any kind of sexual activity. Having sex can and should be a positive and pleasurable experience when it’s based on mutual respect and the consent of those involved. You may feel nervous or awkward when talking about consent with your partner but ultimately it can and should feel good.

Sexual consent applies every time you have sex, and to any type of sexual activity at any stage, not just penetrative vaginal or anal sex. It’s impossible to say an overall “yes” to all sexual activity. You can’t know exactly what your partner is thinking or what you’re saying “yes” to.

How does consent work ‘in the moment’?

Be careful not to make any assumptions about what is okay for your partner or have expectations about what they will do. Whether you’re getting closer and about to start having sex or you’re already ‘in the moment’, consent is all about communication.

Getting consent when you don’t know someone very well can be awkward as it can feel like you’re changing the mood… and with regular partners we can forget to check, instead assuming that they’re agreeing as they have in the past. But it’s important to keep communicating.

Saying “yes” now doesn’t mean “yes” in the future

Giving consent for one type of sexual activity, one time, doesn’t mean giving consent for going further or doing that type of activity again, or any sexual contact at all.

For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t mean you’ve said “yes” to someone taking your clothes off. Likewise, giving or receiving oral sex with someone in the past doesn’t mean that you want to do that again or have any sexual contact at all with that person in the future.

You can change your mind!

You can say “no” (withdraw your consent) at any stage – you don’t have to have a reason. The best way to know whether you’re both comfortable with any sexual activity is to talk about it, and get a very clear and enthusiastic ‘YES’!

Giving consent can look like this:

  • Asking your partner when you change the type or degree of sexual activity by saying, “Is this okay?” and getting a clear and positive response.
  • Clearly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or something else that’s positive, like “I’m open to trying.”
  • Using physical cues like letting out a sigh, reciprocating with a similar touch, looking your partner in the eye and smiling to let them know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level.

Giving consent is NOT this:

  • Refusing to hear when someone says “no” and carrying on.
  • Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for more.
  • Someone being under the legal age of consent.
  • Someone not having the freedom or capacity to make a choice because of drugs or alcohol.
  • Pressuring someone to have sex by intimidating them or making them feel scared.
  • Assuming you have consent because someone has given it in the past.

Even if you’re good at communicating with your sexual partners, sometimes it’s not clear what consent means in different situations.

What if you’re in a relationship or married?

Being in a relationship with someone or being married to them does not give them the right to do what they want to you – or you to them. It’s no different to sex with anyone else – you must both consent, each time and to each type of activity.

What if someone doesn’t actually say the word “no”?

They may say it in other ways, like “not right now”, “I’m not sure”, or they might stay silent. Their body language might also signal “no” – for example, by turning away, by curling up, or by not responding positively to touching.

What if you think or can feel that your partner is turned on?

Sometimes our bodies will be turned on but we don’t want to be touched. Even if a penis is erect or the vagina is wet – it’s not an automatic invitation. Our minds may want the opposite of what our bodies are doing which can be confusing and uncomfortable.

Sometimes a person can feel turned on by someone’s touch even when they haven’t consented. If this happens, don’t worry, communicate!

What does ‘age of consent’ mean?

‘Age of consent’ is another way of saying the legal age to have sex. When you can legally have sex will depend on what country you live in as laws are different around the world. The most common age of sexual consent is 16.1 In some countries gay or lesbian sex is illegal. Avert does not agree with any laws that criminalise homosexuality, but you can find out the situation in your country here.

Consensual underage sex – is it okay?

If you have sex with someone when either or both of you are under the age of consent / ‘underage’, then you’re breaking the law – even if you’re both consenting, the law says it’s not okay. This may seem unfair, but there’s no set age that a person is ready for sex so the law is there to protect you. You can find out more about the age of consent laws in your country on your government’s website.

Sex between an underage person and an adult

If an adult has sex with someone under the age of consent, they’re breaking the law. They could be charged with:

Statutory rape which means having sex with a person who’s under the age of consent, but past the age of puberty. Unlike ‘forcible rape’, statutory rape can mean that the person underage has said ‘yes’. 2

  • Child sexual abuse which means that an adult has used their age and/or authority over a child (before puberty) to have sexual contact.

Sexual contact without consent is wrong and illegal whatever the age of the people involved. If you don’t give your consent and someone still forces you into having sex, it’s never your fault and it’s not okay. You should speak to someone you trust if this has happened so that you can get help and support.

I’m underage but I want to have sex

If you’re too young to legally have sex it doesn’t mean that you can’t get clued up about it or start exploring your sexual feelings. You can find out a lot about sex by exploring your own body and what feels good to you.

Learning how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and unwanted pregnancy, will help you feel confident and in control when the time is right to have sex.

HELP US HELP OTHERS is helping to prevent the spread of HIV and improve sexual health by giving people trusted, up-to date information.

We provide all this for FREE, but it takes time and money to keep going.

Can you support us and protect our future?

Every contribution helps, no matter how small.

Photo credit: ©iStock/nemke. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.

  • 1. UNICEF CRC ‘Are you old enough…to have sex?’
  • 2. Find Law (2013) ‘Statutory Rape’

The Top Sex Positions In Countries Around the World

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If you’ve ever wondered how they do it elsewhere in the world, a recent Durex ad may have caught your eye-it introduced some acrobatic positions with decidedly Canadian names: the ‘maple cinnamon twist’ and the ‘Niagara falls’ (the Canadian side, we’re assuming). And this made us wonder: Is the international community a little more outgoing when it comes to sex? How does sex differ in different countries?

Turns out, there’s not a lot of research on the top sex positions in different countries-sex surveys tend to focus on other aspects of our time between the sheets (such as sexual satisfaction and frequency). That said, the Durex Sexual Wellbeing survey-which questioned 26,000 people across 26 different countries-does have some interesting insights into how different nations have sex.

One interesting result: According to the survey, frequency of sex doesn’t necessarily correspond with sexual satisfaction. For example, while France reports 70 percent of people have sex at least once a week, only 25 percent of French respondents feel satisfied with their sex lives. Meanwhile, Americans have considerably less sex (53 percent have sex at least once a week), but are much more satisfied (48 percent). Meanwhile, Greece is having a ton of sex (87 percent have sex at least once a week), while Japan is not (34 percent). Japan is not happy about that, by the way-only 15 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their sex lives.

“Sex is not just about the act of intercourse,” says Beverly Hills-based clinical psychologist Hillary Goldsher, Ph.D. “Good sex is an intersection of many factors: mutual physical satisfaction, emotional connection, a sense of safety and love, and more. Just because people are having sex once a week doesn’t mean they’re having good sex once a week.” (Learn Why Having More Sex Won’t Make You Happier in a Relationship.)

Top Sex Positions

While Canadians may not actually be getting down with the ‘maple cinnamon twist’, there is some data that suggests certain locations prefer certain positions in the bedroom.

America’s favorite sex position is… You probably guessed it: missionary style. According to a recent online survey by LifeStyles Condoms, missionary position is favored by one-third of American women and one-fifth of American men. According to Goldsher, there are a number of reasons missionary might be popular. “This sexual configuration lends itself to more communication-it’s easier to kiss, talk, and caress in the missionary position relative to any other positions,” Goldsher says. “There is an orientation toward emotional awareness in the U.S., which is why more people could be drawn toward the missionary position.” (Feel meh about missionary sex? Missionary Position Sex Doesn’t Need to Be Boring!)

After missionary, Americans enjoy doggy style, cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, and the lazy dog, which is doggy style but with the woman lying on her stomach, instead of kneeling on her hands and knees.

What’s going on over in the U.K.? In June 2015, sex toy company Ann Summers surveyed 1,000 British men and women about sex position preferences. The company found that one quarter of the participants polled enjoyed doggy style the best, followed by woman on top and the missionary position. “Doggy style and woman on top positions are a little more emotionally disconnected and rough, raw, and sexual,” Goldsher says. “They require a bit more letting go of inhibitions and allowing yourself to be more ‘animalistic’ in the pursuit of sexuality-people have varying degrees of comfort with this paradigm around the world.” (Learn How to Get More Pleasure Out of Common Sex Positions.)

Digging deeper into regional preferences, online pharmacy polled 2,157 sexually active U.K. men and women on their favorite sex positions, and found that position preference varies quite a bit. According to the survey, Scotland prefers spooning, Northern Ireland is partial to cowgirl, and a whopping 51 percent of Wales enjoys doggy style. Londoners, however, are perhaps a bit rushed when they have sex, because their favorite position was ‘standing up.’

How about Japan? In October 2014, Time Out Tokyo polled its readers on their favorite sex positions. According to the results from this admittedly informal poll, Tokyo’s residents love doggy style (28.2 percent), followed by cowgirl and ‘legs over shoulders.’ Interestingly, the poll revealed that doggy style transcends sexual orientation-it was the top position for readers who identified as straight, gay, and bisexual.

  • By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

Missionary Position: 11 Amazing Variations

Amp Up Your Bedroom Game With These 11 Amazing Missionary Variations

June 19, 2016 Share Tweet Flip 0 Shares

It may be the most common sex position in the world, but it’s also one of extreme body and eye contact. One of intimacy. Missionary is the go-to position not because it’s the most basic, but because it can be and often is the best.

There’s hookup positions and there’s ‘making love’ sex positions, and missionary is not the position you’d usually go to for a random one-nighter. It allows you to look at each other and kiss while having sex, deepening the connection from all points. “Porn styles may seem sexy on TV, but the reality is that they don’t always produce the most amount of pleasure. They might be exciting because you feel like you look sexy, but there’s a difference,” says dating expert Laurel House.

Carlee Ranger

Being the most popular sex position does not make it basic or less exciting. There’s so much to love about the missionary position, from the intimacy, to your breath being hotly in her face, to the ability for her to give you complete control and simply enjoy. It’s flattering to both your bodies and can be a great one for ultimate levels of pleasure —from reaching a hand down to play with her clit mid-penetration to maybe deepening or adjusting the angle.

There’s seemingly nothing fancy about missionary, but many women said they love the closeness and the intimacy of being face-to-face with their partner, the ability to kiss, talk, nibble, plus a lot of clit stimulation. “But, in order for missionary position to be most effective, he has to make sure he’s entering her at the correct angle. Why this is an important position, by going in diagonally — rather than straight in and out — there’s more friction for clitoral stimulation, which is best, since that’s how most women achieve orgasm,” says Coleen Singer as a writer for, a leading women’s erotica website.

Of course, even one of our favorite sex positions can be switched up a bit.

1. Closed Legs

Make the most out of missionary and change it up a bit by having her close her legs. “You are going to straddle her, her thighs tightly squeezing together between your legs. This ups the sensation for both of you,” says House.

2. The Pancake

Carlee Ranger

With her ready for regular missionary, ask her to lift her knees up toward her chin. “Then, position her calves onto your shoulders so she is totally comfortable and steady while you enter her. The best part of this variation is the extra body contact, which you wouldn’t achieve with the standard missionary,” says Tristan Weedmark, We-Vibe’s Global Passion Ambassador.

3. Propping It Up

Again, start out in normal missionary position, then prop yourself up on all fours. “Once you’re resting on your hands and knees, have her raise her pelvis up a few inches and start moving up and down. When this happens, she’ll realize that she is in full control! Not only will you be stationary, but she now has the power to decide how deep, how fast, and how hard you can penetrate her,” says Weedmark. It’s almost a total role reversal from classic missionary sex with just a small change to your positions.

4. Crossed Legs

Carlee Ranger

One of the best variations on the missionary position is really quite simple. “She crosses her legs. Think of all the added stimulation you both get as her legs tighten around you. If she crosses her legs after you enter her, she’ll create a whole lot more friction. As you continue to thrust in and out, the resistance builds and you both end up with an incredibly satisfying climax,” says Weedmark.

5. On The Edge

Carlee Ranger

Ask her to lie on her back, with her hips right on the edge of the bed (or desk, kitchen table, etc.) so you can enter her standing up. “In this position, she’s free to move around, raise or lower her legs, arch her back, or lean forward to kiss you. The angles you can achieve are far more thrilling than in regular missionary. You won’t have any trouble reaching a great orgasm, but she may need some additional clitoral stimulation,” says Weedmark. If that’s the case, reach down and use your fingers or add in a mini-vibrator to amp it up to another level.

6. On The Tummy

Flip missionary on its stomach! “Yes, have her roll over and face down with a pillow under her stomach and enter her from behind. The pillow elevates her ass. She can have her thighs pressed together with you straddling her, or her legs can be spread with you in between,” says House.

7. Anal Missionary

Carlee Ranger

This can be a great variation on both positions and allow you to angle her pelvis in a way that you are both going to find comfortable. “She is on her back in missionary position, except that you are entering the other hole. The goal is to have her completely relaxed. This allows anal sex to feel more intimate because you are still looking into each others eyes and kissing, which can also help relax her — which is key when it comes to anal,” says House.

8. Bridge Lift Missionary

Another reason to love missionary — it may just be your ass tightening sex position. “You’re familiar with bridge lifts, right? She will lay on her back and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze her butt as she presses her hips up into a bridge. She can also do that when you’re having sex. You will love it too because with each squeeze of her butt, she will simultaneously be tightening her vaginal walls around you,” says House.

10. C.A.T. (Coital Alignment Technique)

Carlee Ranger

Another great variation is what is known as the Coital alignment technique: A pretty unsexy name for a position that many people really like. “The idea is to make the penis ride up as close to the clitoris as possible to optimize clitoral stimulation. It’s also a full-body-contact position (so might be a little challenging for those size-discordant couples where the receiving partner isn’t comfortable having her partner’s full weight on her). For ordinary missionary, getting there is simple. She wraps her feet and ankles around his calves and pulls him closer in and up that way, so the base of his penis comes as close to her clit as possible,” says Carol Queen, Ph.D. Good Vibrations staff sexologist..

9. Leg Spread Missionary

Have her adjust how she spreads her legs. “Variations with more widely-opened legs (the receiving partner), legs over the insertive partner’s arms, and legs over their shoulders or wrapped around their neck. These allow for deeper, more deeper, and way deeper penetration, and some people will love them,” says Queen. “Note that if regular missionary sometimes involves penis (or dildo) contact with the cervix that is painful, these variants might not be comfortable for the receiving partner,” says Queen. (Err, you can always get a shorter dildo. But presumably the partner with the penis has other fine qualities.)

RELATED: 37 Sex Positions You Need To Try Before You Die

11. Yab Yum

Carlee Ranger

This is a mash-up of missionary and woman astride, a sitting-up position in which the receiving partner sits on the inserting partner’s lap, face-to-face, with their penis inside. “It’s usually fairly slow-motion, it involves lots of contact and allows for kissing and looking into one another’s eyes, and it’s both super-romantic and egalitarian—either partner can pretty much contact all the other parts on their partner and make thrusting happen,” says Queen. Tantra’s gift to all of us!

All illustrations by Carlee Ranger.

Pretty much any woman who’s ever had an orgasm will tell you that it takes lots and lots of practice to nail down what moves make us ohh and ahhh like it’s the freaking 4th of July. The good news is that, for most of us, once we get it right there’s no turning back. The orgasm train is running full steam ahead.

To find out what gets other ladies off (you know, so you can steal their strategies) we talked to real (and brave) ladies who got super-honest about the move that gave them their biggest O ever.



Women’s Health

“I read about positions that were best for orgasming in a magazine, and I did a bit of experimenting with my dildo. Then, I put my learnings to the test with a fairly new partner. Before this I had never experienced an orgasm during sex, but we gave good old missionary a try—with my hips raised. I tried lifting my hips, like a bridge, and it worked. I now use a Liberator pillow to prop up my hips and achieve an orgasm most of the time. I also orgasm easily when on top—something I figured out by experimenting with different partners.” —Tiffany Y.

Related: The 9 Best Sex Positions That Practically Guarantee an Orgasm

Reverse Cowgirl

Women’s Health

“My boyfriend has a little trouble staying hard for longer than five minutes, which made it really difficult for me to orgasm (something I had yet to do in my first 23 years of life!). I was eager to understand the sensation I’d read about and heard my friends discuss over a boozy brunch. I figured out that my boyfriend can last the longest in reverse cowgirl. And, through trial and error, we realized that if he rubs my clit while he’s inside of me and thrusts hard enough—I can get off! It’s made my boyfriend and I feel so much closer and more intimate.” —Catherine L.

The Dirty Dangle


“This might sound strange (it has to some of my friends), but I first experienced an orgasm during sex when I was being penetrated with my legs dangling off the bed (or couch, depending on where it’s going down). It does look awkward, but it’s the perfect angle because where the guy thrusts and pushes hits exactly on my G-spot. Fair warning—this position takes some abs work, as your butt is half off the bed, but reaching your climax makes it so worth it!” —Anonymous

Watch men and women come up with names for these adventurous sex positions:

Girl On Top

Women’s Health

“For years I had no trouble achieving an orgasm, but couldn’t seem to do it during sex. I found it much easier just to use my hands (even my husband’s hand didn’t do the trick). The first time I was able to reach the finish line was while I was on top. There was just something about the friction, rubbing against my husband’s pelvis while he was pulling me back and forth that stimulated me enough to get there. We still aren’t sure if he’s hit my G-spot though. That is next on our list!” —Ally W. (Gently stimulate your g-spot and clitoris at the same time with the JimmyJane Form 8 vibrator from the Women’s Health Boutique!)

Hips Raised

Women’s Health

“It took me a long time, and quite a few dudes to figure out that I’m able to orgasm when I’m lying flat on my stomach with my hips raised (naturally or propped up by a pillow). If the guy is on the smaller side, I use a larger pillow so my hips are propped up higher and he’s able to thrust at a higher angle.” —Maria B.

Related: 7 Sex Positions That Are More Fun Than Doggy Style

One Legged Doggy

Women’s Health

“My new guy is rather large, and I was intimidated by his package at first. But now I completely embrace it. Together we found where my G-spot was located and tried almost every position in the book. What finally worked for me was raising my left leg above my right shoulder. It sounds pretty out there, but it works for me. —Cassie R.

Related: ‘I Tried Masturbating While My Partner Watched—Here’s What Happened’

Slow And Steady

Women’s Health

“I wasn’t able to have an orgasm with just anyone—it took a serious relationship and a lot of chemistry to get me to the point where I felt comfortable enough to let loose. What finally did it for me was having slow sex. I like when we look at each other and I see him intensely pleased by me. It really turns me on. I can also orgasm in the missionary position when he thrusts slowly, looking me in the eyes, and touching me at the same time.” —Katie K.

Woman on top missionary

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