Why go to all the work getting strong, flexible, and in top shape, if you can’t take it to the bedroom? Sex, too, can be an athletic endeavor, if you and your partner are fit and willing to try something that might take you both out of your comfort zone. In the spirit of experimentation, we emailed some of our favorite sex experts to get their opinions on the most difficult and unusual sex positions out there. These experts specialize in all different areas of sex and sexuality, so their recommendations vary greatly in difficulty and approach, with options for every level of athlete.
The Swing (Prenkholita): Ava Cadell, Ph.D. in human sexuality and author of Idiot’s Guides: The Kama Sutra advocates the swing position for the late-night athletes. For it, a man reclines on his back with his feet on the ground and knees up, then raises his hips off the floor in a lower-body bridge. The woman is seated on top of him. “You must have a strong back and legs for this acrobatic sex position, rated as one of the most difficult ones in my Kama Sutra book,” says Cadell. The book recommends this position be done on the floor rather than the bed for a more solid foundation.
Standing Suspended (Avalambitaka): This position is one of the most challenging in Cadell’s book. In it, as you might guess, the man is standing and the woman is suspended, her legs wrapped around his thighs and his hands cupping her butt. “This is the most difficult position for a couple to maintain for any length of time,” says Cadell. She also warns that people should not do the Standing Suspended position after drinking because they need to have tip-top balance. For people who want to give this position a test drive, they can consider using it as a transitional move from one location to another.
Advanced Cow (Dhenuka): The classic Cow is when a woman stands with her feet apart and the man enters her from behind. She then bends over until her hands touch the floor. In this spiced-up version of the position, the man can hold the woman’s waist as she — calling upon ample upper body strength and muscle control — lifts her feet off the ground. Cadell says the Cow is an especially good position for less-endowed men.
Advanced High Squeeze (Utpiditaka): In the High Squeeze position, the woman lies on her back with her feet on her partner’s chest. He then enters her, kneeling, from under her feet. While this classic version of the high squeeze can be quite comfortable for women, the spiced-up version is not as relaxing. In this variation, the man raises up to his knees and the woman’s hips are off the ground, so that she is now resting on her upper back. Cadell says this is a great position for G-spot stimulation and men who have a thing for feet.
The Amazon: Christine Milrod, sex researcher, therapist, and co-editor of the Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis, recommends searchingsexinfo101.com for new, unusual positions. One that receives high marks from her clients is The Amazon. In this position, the woman squats over her partner, seated on the back of his legs. His legs are rolled up toward her chest and she is crouching with her feet flat. This position can also be done with the woman reversed and/or kneeling.
Ex Sex: This position is a creative take on Missionary. Milrod says it’s “good for when you want to pay attention to yourself while enjoying another’s body.” To perform Ex Sex, the man lies on top of the woman with his head facing her feet. Both have their legs open. Because his body is facing the opposite direction, he should take care when penetrating at this unusual angle.
Intersextion: Milrod warns that this position should be skipped by people who have joint problems — and that not everyone will find it comfortable. In this position, the woman lays on her side. The man, also on his side, is behind her with both of his legs between her legs. Together, they form an X shape, hence the name.
Pirate’s Bounty: If the name isn’t enticing enough, Milrod also says this position is good “for deep insertion and total clitoral stimulation during intercourse.” To perform Pirate’s Bounty, the woman lays on her back with one leg on her partner’s shoulder and the other wrapped around his thigh. The man is kneeling. A pillow under the woman’s back may make this position more comfortable.
The Worm: This is another variation of Missionary recommended by Milrod, but it has the woman on top and facing the man’s feet. Both partners have their legs spread in an X shape. Start this position with the woman seated on top, then gradually leaning forward.
Cross Your Heart: Like the High Squeeze, in this position the woman lies back with her feet on her partner’s chest. He kneels and enters from under her legs. The twist on this position is that the woman crosses her legs at the ankles. The tension caused by her crossed legs will make almost any motion pleasurable, so have fun exploring,” says Tristan Weedmark, Global Passion Ambassador forWe-Vibe.
Lap of Luxury: In this position, partners sit facing each other and the woman puts her legs on her partner’s shoulders. It’s easier to accomplish this if the man leans back some so she can move her legs up gradually. “Vary the angle of insertion to find the best position for both of you,” says Weedmark.
A Twist on Missionary: Penthouse columnist Martin Downs says that complicated sex positions are often little more than complicated, but even with that caveat, he recommends considering this twist: adding anal sex to Missionary position. “If the taboo-breaking thrill of anal sex has worn off, doing it in Missionary makes it seem dirty again, in a good way,” he says.
Caught in a Web: This one may not exactly qualify as a position, but it would certainly be a physical feat. Caught in a Web involves a person who is carefully tied into a 10-by-10 foot “web.” The person in the web is positioned in sexually available ways, and the free partner can work with that however everyone sees fit. Tiger Devore, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist, says this web was one of the most artistic and sexual positions there is.
The Wheelbarrow: To perform the classic Wheelbarrow, the man stands up while the woman is on her hands and knees. The man then lifts her back-half by the ankles, pulling her legs to the side of his body. “This position creates really great, deep penetration, and feels wildly animalistic,” says Vanessa Marin, sex therapist. This position is also one of the more acrobatic ones out there, requiring dexterity and upper body strength.
The Pretzel: This position starts with both partners ready to crab walk (no, really). This means they have their hands and feet flat on the ground and stomachs facing skyward. The woman then has to raise her pelvis and lower onto her partner’s penis. “You have to work together as a team to keep the movement going, and it’s a real workout for both partners,” says Marin.
Scissors: This position is not particularly demanding physically, but it makes the list for being among the more complicated to understand. Partners start joined at just the pelvis with both of their legs open, like the blades of scissors. Linda Banner, a health psychologist and sexual medicine expert in private practice in San Jose, says this can be a particularly good choice for people with certain physical limitations, like pregnancy or back problems.
Washing Machine: This position is not too tricky, but may require an adventurous mood. There are two versions: In the first, the woman sits on a washing machine while on spin cycle and the man enters her while standing, this way she is getting stimulation from penetration and the vibration of the machine. In places where a washer and a dryer are side-by-side, the couple can even lay on top. “Men say they like this position. A lot,” says Anka Radakovich, sex columnist and author of The Wild Girls Club, Part 2: Tales from New York to Hollywood. For this reason, she cautions couples that sex in the Washing Machine position may not last long.
The Sunday Afternoon: Even athletes need to cool down, so think of this last one as a position for your day of recovery. This is another X position where the man lies on his side and the woman on her back. She puts her leg that is closest to him over his hip. She can use her other leg to pull him closer by wrapping her foot around his lower leg. Cay L. Crow, a Texas-based certified sex therapist, says this position allows for easy clitoral stimulation and can be simply transitioned into spooning.