Glossy magazines, sex and relationship blogs, and hacky tabloids constantly tell us that, if we want to spice up our sex lives — to be and remain good in the sack — we need to try out new and exciting sex positions. Conveniently, they just so happen to offer seemingly endless lists of positions to try. Some of the positions on these lists — and in the sexy shows and porn we often draw ideas from — are simple but meaningful modifications of common staple positions, like missionary. (Think prop the prone partner's hips up with a pillow.) But most are fantastical configurations, often with arcane and intriguing names, that range from moderately acrobatic to bewilderingly contortionist.
In truth, while experimenting with new positions can unlock new levels of comfort, pleasure, and perspective within sex, many of the most eye-catching and widely touted bodily arrangements on advice lists and in the media actually just suck for most folks. Notably, positions that look great in a diagram or on screen often sacrifice sensation for style. And the most novel positions usually involve acts of human pretzling, subtle or explicit, that can easily lead to injury for the unprepared.
It's relatively easy to grok that perhaps we shouldn't put too much stock in lifestyle listicles and sex scenes. But it can be tricky for the average person to parse exactly which of the sex positions embedded within them are overrated, and which may actually be worth trying. To help sort the pleasurable wheat from the impractical chaff, Mashable reached out to a group of people with more hands-on experience with the full gamut of possible positions than almost anyone else: porn stars.
Below, more than a dozen adult performers share their thoughts on which positions are all hype and hot air, and which are underrated relative to their intense potential for pleasure, or their eminent practicality. (Since no one set of positions will work for every body or preference, many also offered thoughts on how to figure out which positions might work best for you specifically.) Given their films, and all the options out there, you may be surprised by how vanilla most of their top picks are.
Nova Sky: Reverse cowgirl deserves none of the hype. It involves all the same work of cowgirl, with none of the clitoral stimulation. It’s also really difficult to see my partner's face, and the way they react to pleasure — which I really love — in reverse cowgirl.
Charlie Forde: It angles the cock away from the G spot, too.
Sabien Demonia (aka Sabrina Night): Reverse cowgirl is uncomfortable, dangerous for both sides, and totally doesn't give enough pleasure to make up for the effort involved.
Alison Rey: Even a girl with the most muscular quads and glutes is going to have a hard time sustaining that position for a long time. Very little kissing or touching can happen in it. It doesn’t even allow a woman on top to control the penetration much. Which is the point of being on top.
Avery Jane: I think reverse cowgirl is underrated outside of porn. It’s difficult for the average person; it requires specific body placement that isn’t always comfortable, and strength. But once you figure it out, it allows for deeper penetration, for the penetrated partner to see the penetration, and for the person on top and on the bottom to alternate between who is actively fucking.
Charlie Forde: It’s good for an ass view for the person on the bottom — and that’s about it.
Misha Montana: As for traditional cowgirl, I'm an athlete, but I get tired too, and I think there's nothing less attractive than someone who's physically exhausted and just panting and grinding. There are plenty of other power positions that let you take control and make yourself cum.
Sheena Rose: Doggy style. Every time you ask someone what their favorite position is, they say doggy. It can be excellent, don't get me wrong. But it would never be my favorite position.
Dante Colle: Doggy definitely serves its purpose, and I like it. But it feels overdone, and you're missing out on a lot of the good aspects sex can offer by doing it.
Joshua Lewis: Depending on the shape of your dick, it actually doesn't feel the best for your partner. And not every single person wants to be pounded like that all the time.
Brenna Sparks: Doggy is actually one of my favorite positions. However, if the penis is long, then doggy style can actually be extremely painful for most people.
Joslyn Jane: 69ing. It can be really hot for a few minutes, but it’s not the easiest for many people to climax in. It's also difficult to concentrate on giving head when I am close to climaxing.
Joshua Lewis: It's entirely impractical. It's hard to focus on getting your partner off when you're distracted by them going down on you. I’d rather give my full attention to my partner.
Kate Kennedy: No normal person even needs to attempt a pile driver. Even porn stars hate it. Attempting positions that are too advanced or physically taxing not only won't make sex better, it will almost definitely make it worse, and you could seriously injure yourself trying.
Joslyn Jane: Missionary is always labeled as boring. It isn't done a lot in porn.
Jade Kush: Yes, it's used a lot in mainstream media — I think because it's easy to censor — and everybody knows it. But it doesn't get the cred it deserves.
Joshua Lewis: It's often overlooked because it's the most basic position you can be in.
Joslyn Jane: But it's an extremely intimate position.
Marica Hase: Sex is conversational. Looking at your partner is very important.
Jade Kush: People may not like it because it is very intimate, so if they're with someone they're not especially intimate with then it can feel…off. That makes sense… But if you give it a chance with the right person, well, who wouldn't want to get lost in a lover's eyes?
Joslyn Jane: It's also great for a man to get very deep, which can feel amazing for both partners.
Charlie Forde: And it gives women the ability to adjust where they receive stimulation by the amount of pelvic tilt they do. You can really relax into it, enjoying the sensations without being contorted into a weird position. It caters to most physical capabilities as well.
Kate Kennedy: You can explore variations on classic positions like this: I love throwing my legs over my partner's shoulders during missionary for great deep penetration.
Joshua Lewis: There's so much room for versatility. You can go slow, or you can be rough.
Nova Sky: Side-to-side spooning doesn’t get enough love. It's got all of the sensation of doggy, but it gives you more freedom to interact with your partner.
Sara St. Clair: You get to hold each other close. You get deep penetration. It's great for hitting all the spots you don't get with missionary. And, if it's morning sex, you dodge morning breath.
Sheena Rose: It can be really erotic. You can cuddle and kiss and be passionate. I especially love when we're done and my partner falls asleep while his penis is still inside of me in that position.
Misha Montana: Spooning isn't a physically demanding position. Almost anyone can do it. And it's easy for both partners to climax. I've even experienced mutual climax in this position.
Joshua Lewis: It's usually a lazy position. Yet you have access to your partner's hair and throat [if you are both into hair-pulling or choking], and you can speed it up.
Lindsey Leigh: If I put my leg up in this position, and a male partner plows into me and stimulates my clit, I squirt every time
Sheena Rose: Because sex education sucks and most people get their ideas from porn tube sites when they're young, dumb, and impressionable — and porn is not educational.
Marica Hase: We do more acrobatic positions in scenes because they look wild on camera. And we don't do a lot of things like missionary because they look boring.
"I don't even look like I do in a porno when I'm having sex in my personal life."
Charlie Forde: You see people fucking in an impractical position and you think, 'oh my god… maybe that feels great.' But in my experience, it's difficult to translate those visually captivating positions into a really fun erotic time — although not impossible.
Kate Kennedy: We're professionals, creating a product that's visually stimulating, but that does not correlate to actual pleasure or stimulation. We're doing a job that we are physically and mentally trained to do. I don’t watch the Olympics and then try to copy Simone Biles in my own life. I would literally die! Same thing goes for any really rough positions you see in porn. I don't even look like I do in a porno when I'm having sex in my personal life. It wouldn't feel good.
Jade Kush: The availability of on-demand XXX content has normalized uncomfortable, and even impractical, positions. It's like, who can do the craziest thing?
Alison Rey: I think the people making Hollywood sex scenes try to depict what they view as good sex, which is often the fantastical, wild, animalistic sex they see [normalized] in hardcore porn.
Dante Colle: Sex is often advertised, or portrayed, as this thing that's all about power and ego, rather than about intimacy and adventure. [So people focus on seeming impressive.]
Alison Rey: A lot of people are insecure about their sexual prowess, and afraid to explore what they might like themselves for fear of judgment or rejection by their partners. So, they try to fit into the mold of what they see in the media in order to be hot enough in their partner's eyes.
Misha Montana: People think they need to fuck the absolute piss out of partners to satisfy them. They don’t.
Kate Kennedy: There is no one magical position that works for everybody.
Avery Jane: Every body is different, feels sensations in a different way. Some people may find easier sex positions unpleasurable, and harder to physically achieve positions more pleasurable.
Nova Sky: Every set of partners is going to fit uniquely, too — and you can't know what positions work best for two people until you've experimented with them. So, try them all!
Kate Kennedy: It really is all just trial and error.
Joshua Lewis: It's also fun to switch it up. Personally, I get tired of having normal sex — missionary, doggy style, and cowgirl — every time I have sex.
Sabien Demonia: Obviously, do your research about preparation before trying things to avoid unpleasant surprises. And don't expect miracles the first time. Some positions need practice.
Brenna Sparks: And don't just sneak your experiments into sex. That'll be awkward, and your partners won't even know what the heck you're trying to do. Let them know.
Misha Montana: Communication with your partner is key to every aspect of a sexual relationship, so communicate your interest in and willingness to explore new positions with your partner.
Alina Ali: And tell your partner what feels good and what isn’t working. Don’t be shy.
"Try not to judge yourself if things go wrong. It's completely normal, and OK, to laugh during sex."
Charlie Forde: If you know what you want — whether it's clit stimulation, deep penetration, or something else — you can go through things like Kama Sutra-type books and figure out which positions in them might fit the bill for you. You can experiment, and have some laughs on the way.
Alison Rey: Try not to judge yourself if things go wrong. It's completely normal, and OK, to laugh during sex — to make fun of ourselves when we try new things and it doesn't totally work.
Amazing sex doesn’t come from pretending to be amazing. It happens when you and your partner can communicate, and find ways moving your bodies together that create waves of pleasure.
Brenna Sparks: If you want to get good at sex, treat it like a science, not a primal instinct. Angle, depth, and speed are your units of measure. The strategies you adopt will also depend on things like the size of the penis involved, and how well you handle size. You can make adjustments to all of these factors with every position you try when you're experimenting with them. I'd say limit yourself to experimenting with one new position per session. You need time to try adjusting each position in different ways to figure out how these units of measure work within it.
Penny Barber: Just shift your body while in a position. See what feels best.
Avery Jane: Make a mental list of what feels good and what doesn't as you try things.
Alison Rey: Sometimes, a slightly different angle is all it takes to bring sex from meh to my god!
Lindsey Leigh: It takes a millisecond to adjust your body, or your partners, during sex.
Avery Jane: You can also try creating new angles using pillows.
Sara St. Clair: Remember to incorporate other things you like into positions, too! If your vibrator makes you cum, you can use it on yourself in most positions.
See Also: Best sex toys for couples looking to switch things up between the sheets
Penny Barber: And remember to use your hands! Get close. Lick. Hold your partner down, if they're into that. Grab his pretty face and make him say your name. Remember that you can change the energy of an encounter, as well as the physicality.
Misha Montana: Have fun with sex. And don't take it too seriously!
The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day still seems to trip people up, although it shouldn't.
As a quick refresher, on Memorial Day, we remember those who died while serving our country. Veterans Day is intended to honor the service of all people who have worn armed services uniforms.
So, what do you say on Memorial Day to someone who might be struggling: a widow, a veteran or anyone who's been especially affected by a military member's death?
The website DiversityInc wrote about this very topic in May 2017, and the article has been recirculating lately, for good reason. "This common misconception, that Memorial Day is a time to thank veterans, is not in fact what the holiday is intended for," the site says.Here are some ideas on what you can say instead. Try something like: "Enjoy your weekend, but I want you to know that I will be remembering what this holiday is about." "Enjoy your weekend, and I will be thinking about those who are no longer with us." "I will be taking a moment this weekend to honor those that served our nation and are no longer with us." NPR suggests, "I hope you're having a meaningful day."
Those seem preferable to: "Thank you for your service." "Happy Memorial Day." "Is this a difficult weekend for you?" "How many friends did you lose on your deployments?"
It might be hard to approach any veterans you might know, but saying something meaningful really could make all the difference for someone having a difficult day.
Before you think this is splitting hairs, consider that what you say matters.
While it's certainly not "wrong" to wish someone a "Happy Memorial Day," and it's safe to assume most people are well-intentioned, it seems as though taking a few minutes to say the right thing will mean much more.
After all, the day is about more than backyard parties and barbecues. Let's prove it by taking a moment to examine our words.