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List of sex positions

This is a list of sex positions. This includes common and not so common positions for sexual intercourse and other sexual activities between people. This is a list of usual modes, particulars, and features in which couples physically position themselves for sexual intercourse. Some sexual positions are variations on fundamental positions, while some are more innovative. In fact, some of these positions are also found among bonobos.

Table of contents


Note that the sex positions listed are descriptive, not prescriptive. Real sex between experienced partners usually shifts from position to position during a single session, at the whim of those involved.

In the Indian Kama Sutra and Arabic Perfumed Garden, the act and manner of sex was an art-form. In the Khajuraho statues, it has religious meaning. The Joy of Sex was one of the first widely accepted modern sex manuals to describe sexual positions.

In the Kama Sutra, sixty-four sex positions are explained as arts. These may be considered yoga positions for a couple. Tantric yoga, as applied to couples is sometimes called the yoga of union and is the supposed spiritual context for these positions.

There are also a vast number of positions for oral sex (including cunnilingus and fellatio) and mutual masturbation, which are too numerous to list here.

While not all of these positions will necessarily be as stimulating or as satisfying for both partners as other positions, a couple may develop a rotation among these positions. Some may be more physically difficult or tiring for one partner, while others offer a break or resting point that will maintain a particular level of passion. In a sense, a set rotation though favored positions may be likened to a complex and progressive musical piece, such as a sonata or symphony. An alternation of positions favored by each partner can be particularly delightful when understood in the larger give-and-take common in interpersonal relationships. Each couple may in this way develop their unique "song of love". The musical symphonic work Bolero, written by Maurice Ravel, is thought by many to be intentionally evocative of the progression of caressing, positions, intensities, and satisfactions of lovemaking. Note that the piece is about 22 minutes long – thought by many men to be rather long for this use and by many women to be too short.

Since the most common sexual activity worldwide is heterosexual vaginal intercourse, the positions listed are described in terms of one male participant and one vaginally receptive female participant. However, most of these positions can also be adapted as anal sex positions, although some with difficulty due to the different angle of rectal vs. vaginal entry. Similar provisions apply for frottage, tribadism, the use of double-ended dildos or strap-on dildos, and so on.

Warning: Wikipedia is not a how-to guide.


There is no single agreed standard for nomenclature of sex positions. The medical literature tends to use very general terms such as "male superior sex position" and "female superior sex position", or Latin terms such as coitus more ferarum ("intercourse in the manner of a beast"). The terms used in sex manuals are often fanciful, and differ from manual to manual. The jargon of the pornography industry for sex positions has entered the mainstream vocabulary in some cases, and has at least the benefit of being specific.

The terms used here draw on all of these sources. Where possible, the most commonly used term is used.


These are the most widely known positions, and are widespread and prevalent during the act of sex. Some of these positions can be used in sex between two men or two women.

Genital Sex


The missionary position

Deckchair position

Missionary – most common position; man on top with direct penetration; woman on bottom, legs open.

Side entry missionary – variant on the missionary position; woman on side; man kneeling penetrates from behind.

Squashing of the deckchair – woman on bottom, legs pulled up; man on top, holds woman's legs.

Peace Sign – woman on bottom, legs tightly closed.

Butterfly position – woman lies on her back, man stands and lifts her pelvis for penetration

Coital alignment technique – variant on the missionary position

From behind

The Leapfrog position

Doggy – man penetrates from behind; woman on all fours, facing down.

Leapfrog – variant on the Doggy position; woman torso is lower; also known as "face down ass up".

Upright doggy – variant on the doggy position; woman kneels upright.

Spread-eagle – woman lies facing down, legs spread open; man on top. also known as the spider position.

The Spoon position

Spoons position – side by side, both facing in same direction; man penetrates from behind.

Feet on his shoulders – her feet behind his head resting them on his shoulders.

Reverse Peace Sign – variant of Peace Sign, woman lies face down, knees held together.

Woman on top

The Cowgirl position

Cowgirl – The man lies on his back; the woman sits on top of him facing him; also known as Woman-On-Top or Amazon.

Reverse Cowgirl – The man lies on his back; the woman sits on top of him facing AWAY from him; The woman may stimulate the man's genitals from this position. Another advantage is that the man may view the woman's back, which some find to be an erotic stimulus.

Sitting and kneeling

Kneeling position

Furniture position

Variant of the lotus position. In the regular position, both partners cross their legs.

A sitting position.

Armchair – variant on the watching the game; woman sits in a chair; man kneels in front of the woman.

Black bee – man sits, hands behind on the floor; woman sits on top, hands on shoulders.

Furniture – woman on the edge of furniture, legs spread; man kneels.

Persuading of the debtor – man penetrates kneeling; woman on back, ankles on each side of man's shoulders.

Playing of the cello – woman on back, ankles on one of the man's shoulders; man kneeling penetrates from back; also known as Playing of the violin.

Proposal – woman kneels, legs apart; man kneels, one knee on ground.

Split level – woman on bottom, legs around man; man kneels.

Watching the game – variant on the cowgirl position; man sits in a chair; woman sits, facing the man; also known as the Lap dance.


Reverse piggy-back – man penetrates standing; woman lifted, wrapping legs around man; can be done free-standing or up against an upright surface. Also know as the tree position.
Stand and carry – man stands, holding woman; woman wraps legs around man's waist and arms around man's shoulders.
The Stand and carry position without a support

Standing – Both stand using a structure for support. Also known as the "knee-trembler".
Wheelbarrow – man penetrates standing; woman on bottom lifted by thighs; also known as 'Hoovering of the floor'.

Positions to obtain pregnancy

See old wive's tale (section: "Having sex standing up is a contraceptive") and urban legend.

Positions during pregnancy

The goal is to prevent excessive pressure on the belly and to restrict penetration as required by the particular male partner.

Some of the positions below are popular positions for sex during pregnancy.

Less common positions

These positions are more innovative, and perhaps not as widely known and practised as the ones listed above.

  • Reverse Amazon – variant on the cowgirl position; also known as 'Riding of the Steer'.
  • Horizontal reverse – variant on the reverse cowgirl; woman on top, facing down with torso lower; man on bottom.
  • Cross – woman on bottom; man on top perpendicular.
  • Head to toe – man on back, legs spread; woman on back on top, legs spread; both facing different directions,
  • Rocking chair – man on bottom; woman on all fours, facing up.
  • K – Man and woman lie on backs, heads pointed away from one another; each places one leg on other's shoulder (using it for bracing) and the other leg out somewhat to the side so that they form a capital K.
  • T-square position – woman on her back with knees up and legs apart, man lies on his side perpendicular to her, with his hips under the arch formed by her legs. Good during pregnancy.
  • Drilling for Oil – woman lies on her shoulders with her back up against a bed or couch (sort of a head-stand, except on shoulders) and legs folded toward her head. Man stands astride her vagina and inserts from a standing position.

Acrobatic skill / extreme agility required

  • Advanced black bee – variant on the Black bee; man sits, hands behind on the floor; woman sits on top, hands and legs on shoulders.
  • Toilet – variant on the reverse cowgirl position; man on back upside down, knees bent; woman sits on man.
  • 96 – variant of the 69. Partner 1 lies on their back; partner 2 kneels over partner 1's face so that their body faces partner 1's head and arches their back so as to be able orally stimulate partner 1's genitals.
  • Helicopter fuck – like the doggie position, but with the man balancing himself on the woman's behind while using his inserted penis as an axle. The man then rotates around the axle like helicopter blades. Requires the penis to be bent downwards at an extreme angle, so may find this too difficult.

Non-penetration or low-penetration sex

Oral sex

  • The 69 position

69 – simultaneous oral sex; often side-by-side, or either a man or woman can be on top; known as 'Congress of the Crow' in the Kama Sutra.

Genital to other

Same-sex activities

As mentioned earlier, women can engage in tribadism with or without double-ended dildos and men can engage in penis-to-penis frottage, the anatomical pairings involved enable positions which heterosexual couples might find difficult or impossible. Mutual masturbation can also be differently choreographed for homosexuality, for instance a man can stimulate his and a partner's (or multiple partners') penises simultaneously with only one hand.

A possible tribadism position

The following activities are only possible between partners of the same sex:

  • tribadism: rubbing of female genitalia against female genitalia
  • "frot": rubbing of male genitalia against male genitalia

Use of special apparatus

Most sex acts are typically performed on a bed or other platform. As the range of supports available increases, the range of positions that are possible increases (for example, see the sitting and standing positions above).

Various forms of erotic furniture and other apparatus such as fisting slings and trapezes have been used to facilitate even more exotic sexual positions.

Group sex

Oral threesome

Various assemblages of people may participate in group sex, having the common characteristic structure of participating in a sexual act.

  • Orgy
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Sandwich or Double penetration: in which two men are engaged sexually with a woman simultaneously, one of them is inserting his penis into the vagina, while the other is inserting his penis into the anus.
  • Spitroast: the simultaneous penetration of the mouth and the vagina or anus.
  • Daisy chain: a group of men simultaneously penetrating and being penetrated by each other anally in a chain formation; a group of men, women, or both, each performing oral sex on the next.
  • Isosceles Lock: in which three men perform fellatio in a triangular configuration.
  • Lucky Pierre: in which a man has vaginal sex with a woman, whilst himself being anally penetrated by another man.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has more media related to:

Compare with: lordosis behavior in other animals


  • Hooper, Anne J., "Sexopedia". DK Publishing; 1st American ed., Dec. 1, 2002 ISBN 0789489589 272 pages
  • Hooper, Anne J., "Anne Hooper's Kama Sutra". DK Publishing. 1st ed., January 1, 1998. ISBN 1564586499 160 pages
  • McMeel, Andrews and Lisa Sussman. "Sex Positions". October, 28 2002 ISBN 184222266X
  • Bodansky, Steve and Vera Bodansky "The Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive Orgasm". Hunter House. 1st ed., June 2002. ISBN 0897933621 235 pages
  • Kemper, Alfred M. "Love Couches Design Criteria", 1972, Los Angeles. Library of Congress #75–36170. 101 pages. Design criteria for assistive furniture, with sections on accommodation of disabled persons.

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