How to Master These Awkward Sex Positions

woman pleasure

Listen: missionary is fantastic (trust), but sometimes we all want to change it up a bit. And when we do, we reach in our back pocket of sex moves and pull out our experimental material: reverse cowgirl, interesting oral, 69, shower sex…you know, easy things. Not awkward at all, 

Except, those ones in particular are actually not easy. They require a little practice, a little leverage, a little positioning—with results that are, at times, less hot AF and more WTF. 

That’s why I’ve compiled a “cheat sheet” of pointers for your most asked-about sex positions. From, “how do I get my rhythm right in reverse cowgirl?” to, “how do I have shower sex without slipping and breaking my jaw?” This article provides a step-by-stepof some of the more challenging sex positions and how you can rock reverse cowgirl, oral, 69, and shower sex with as much pleasure (and as little awkwardness) as possible.

Reverse Cowgirl

Reverse Cowgirl is one of those positions that looks unbelievably hot but feels a little weird. Now let’s be clear: it’s great because 1) it provides a fantastic view of the booty, 2) the penetrating partner can place their hands on their partner’s hips, and 3) the person on top can set the rhythm. But setting the rhythm isn’t always easy, and if the person on top has a vulva, Reverse Cowgirl doesn’t necessarily provide clitoral stimulation. What’s a cowgirl to do? 

To make this position fun for everyone, try this:

  • Start slow. If the penetrating partner has a penis, this position asks their suspensory ligaments to stretch slightly. So once the receiving partner has turned around, straddling their partner’s legs, have them lower down gradually. Before anyone starts thrusting, start with a slow rock.
  • Involve hands or a toy. In this position, the penetrating partner has an excellent opportunity to grab their partner’s hips or to prop themselves up on one elbow, and use the other hand to reach around. If you’re performing anal play and the receiving partner has a penis, you can use the freehand for digital stimulation. If the receiving partner has a vulva, the freed-up fingers can stimulate the clitoris with their fingers or a toy. Options!
  • Check yourself out. While the bottom partner has an A+ shot of the butt, the view isn’t as exciting for the person on top. So how about doing it in front of a mirror? That way, the top partner can check out the action via their reflection, and PS – research shows that this is a huge turn-on for vulva owners.
  • Try a seated variation. Instead of trying it on the bed, you can also practice reverse cowgirl in a chair or on the edge of a bed. In this position, the penetrating partner sits down, feet touching the floor, while the receiving partner sits on their lap, facing forward. This variation is preferable for many, because the penetrating partner is nice and close (and can use their hands to play with breasts or pecs), and if they have a penis, it’s a little easier on their ligaments…keeping things sexy and safe. 

Oral Sex: Kivin Method, Facesitting and 69

Okay, oral sex isn’t necessarily a “position”—but maybe you want to simply change your oral game up a bit. Here are my top tips for making oral an unforgettable experience: 

Kivin Method

This method differs from traditional oral sex, in that the giver actually lays perpendicular to their partner, at a 90-degree angle, making a capital ‘T’ with their bodies. So instead of looking upwards at the clit, you’re looking at it sideways. Experiment with what side you approach from because most clitorises have a side that is more sensitive than the other. (Science!)

You can tackle this positioning in a few different ways. Choose what works best based on your physical comfort, as well as the receiver’s sensitivity preference. If the vulva owner enjoys being widely spread for maximum stimulation, suggest they bend their knees and pull their legs back, for more intense stimulation. 

The trick with this snazzy move is that you’re licking horizontally (instead of the usual vertical direction) across the hood of the clit in a gentle up and down motion, much like you’d eat an ice cream cone. That said, try a few different variations with your tongue to hone in on exactly what your partner likes: the Kivin Method hits more nerve endings than traditional oral, so this should be a fun experiment for both of you.


When done correctly, face-sitting can be extremely pleasurable (and erotic) to the person on top. But some folks get so nervous about hurting or suffocating their partner, that they avoid it altogether. Au contraire! You can pull this off safely. Here’s how:

  • Kneel into it.  Rather than face-sitting, think of this position more like face-kneeling. Position yourself over your partner by straddling their chest with your knees and scoot forward until you’re in place.
  • Use the headboard. You can also have your partner lie closer to a headboard (or for our exhibitionists: a window sill), so you can put your hands on it for extra support. This way, you can distribute your weight with your legs, knees, and arms.
  • Play with control. If you’re the “top,” your partner can lie completely still while you do all the moving, grinding as hard or soft as you want on their face, and doing motions that feel the best for you. (The advantage being: your partner won’t strain their jaw). OR, switch roles. Try it where you’re completely still on top, while your partner goes to work…and you’re freed up to focus on the sensations. They can also use a hand to pleasure themselves at the same time, because why not? Either way, be sure to communicate and check in with your partner, to ensure everyone is comfortable.

We’ll admit: we used to be one of those people who didn’t “get” the excitement around 69. Because while porn has made it look like one of those totally effortless positions, the truth is, it’s a lot of work! And can feel less like sex, more like multitasking.

However, there are hacks for making 69 waaaay more accessible, and now that we’ve tried these, we one hundred percent get the hype. So if you want to upgrade your 69 games, try this:

  • Lay side-by-side. One of the things that make 69 feel difficult is the physical mobility of the position itself. Being backward and on top of your partner (or vice versa) sometimes feels like a game of Twister. Instead, try lying next to one another on your sides, so that both you and your partner can access one another with more ease. Ah, that’s better! Now that you’re relaxed, start with some gentle teasing, gradually increasing the intensity.
  • Use your hands. Who says you have to solely use your mouth for 69? If your jaw gets sore or there’s simply too much to think about, try the “handy dandy:” one person performs oral, one person performs a hand job. You can also bring in toys, like tiny bullet vibrators or strokers. Not only do these give your hands and mouth a welcome break, they create their own novel sensations – instantly elevating the experience.
  • Distribute the effort. Just because you’re both working at the same time doesn’t mean you need to be giving or receiving with the same amount of effort continuously. 69 is a give-and-take: you can take turns giving, while they lay back and receive, and vice versa. This might result in some exciting “edging” play, allowing you both to experience the tease, build-up, and release.

Shower Sex

Hot water, naked bodies, and a steamy, slippery environment? What could go wrong?? 

Shower sex is super-pleasurable, provided no one’s hurting themselves. So here’s how to approach your shower (and your partner) with confidence: 

  • Play with your positioning. It’s no secret that one of the most common issues with shower sex is positioning. So for starters, try the classic bend-over: one partner stands in front of the other, facing away and bending over slightly. The other partner stands behind them, and either uses their penis or a strap-on to enter doggy-style. Depending on the size of the shower, the person in front can put their hands on the wall to help balance.
  • Get handsy.  You can also experiment with oral and hand play. If you’re using your hands, stand and enjoy some super hot mutual masturbation. Opting for oral? Simply take turns getting on your knees, giving your partner a wet trip to pleasure town.
  • Use what you’re working with. Different folks, different strokes, different showers. Much of your positioning will depend on what sort of shower you have. If you’re in a shower with a bathtub (and the tub is big enough), consider laying down with one partner on top of the other while letting the warm water cascade down your body. Have a removable showerhead? Because it’s money on the clitoris. Take turns getting wet and turned on with it, and if you finish, guess what? Clean-up is a snap.
  • Use the right accessories. Did you know that a ton of today’s sex toys are waterproof? Some toys even have suction cups that you can adhere to the wall for easy play and accessibility, which is genius on several levels.

If you partake, don’t forget your silicone lube! Silicone lubes are waterproof, meaning they won’t wash off until you want them to—just make sure you’re not mixing them with a silicone toy, since it can degrade the toy itself. If you want an intimacy oil, go for Playground’s Mood Maker. Also, take care that no lube gets on the floor, because shower sex is slippery enough, right? Keep your feet stable and your toys (not the floor) lubricated. 

There you have it: your most challenging sex positions made easier. With these tips, we think you’re going to feel a lot more excited to experiment—because, at the end of the day, sex should feel like play, not a physics test. Have fun trying something new, and unleashing all the pleasure possible.

Amanda Kohr is the Content Manager at Sex With Emily. Find her via Instagram at @cozycarvan.

Tolly Moseley is a writer and content contributor for Sex With Emily. She is a storyteller and board member for Bedpost Confessions, has written for The Atlantic and Salon, and loves listening to all the sex podcasts. When she’s not writing, she’s doing aerial.