List of sex positions

This list of sex positions includes descriptions of various forms of sexual intercourse and other sexual acts between people. Sexual acts are generally described by the positions the participants take in order to perform those acts. Alfred Kinsey used six primary positions as categories.6 Positions For Sexual Intercourse - In Order Of Popularity - Sex, Love And Marriage - Book of Lists - Canongate Home Since the number of positions that can be used for sex is essentially limitless, this list is not exhaustive.

Penetrative positions

These positions involve the insertion of a penis or other phallus (such as a strap-on dildo) into a vagina or anus.

Penetrating partner on top with front entry

These positions are primarily used vaginally, although some can also be used for anal sex. The basic position is called the missionary position. In it, the receiving partner lies on his or her back with legs apart. The penetrating partner lies on top of the receiving partner, facing them. The following variations are possible:

Penetrating from behind

Most of these positions can be used for either vaginal or anal penetration.

Receiving partner on top

Most of these positions can be used for either vaginal or anal penetration.

Sitting and kneeling

Most of these positions can be used for either vaginal or anal penetration.


Most of these positions can be used for either vaginal or anal penetration. In the basic standing position, both partners stand facing each other. The following variations are possible:

Anal-specific positions

Most penetrative sex positions (see above) can be adapted anally, especially those that involve entry from behind. Other sexual practices involving the vagina, such as fingering, can also be adapted anally. However, some positions are not directly adaptable because of the different angles required for anal and vaginal entry. Here are listed positions that work well for anal sex.

Less common positions

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

Using furniture or special apparatus

Most sex acts are typically performed on a bed or other simple platform. As the range of supports available increases, so does the range of positions that are possible. Ordinary furniture can be used for this purpose. Also, various forms of erotic furniture and other apparatus such as fisting slings and trapezes have been used to facilitate even more exotic sexual positions.

Positions to promote or prevent conception

Pregnancy is a potential result of vaginal sex (or even digital sex with sperm fluids on the fingers, or sperm that is on the body and is transferred to the vaginal area) in any position between a sexually mature fertile female and a fertile male. (Females require sexual maturity (start of ovulation) to achieve pregnancy, whereas males produce sperm from birth onward, even though they are not considered sexually mature.) Those who follow the advice of old wives' tales believe certain sexual positions produce more favorable results than others. See ''''.

Positions during pregnancy

The goal is to prevent excessive pressure on the belly and to restrict penetration as required by the particular partners. Some of the positions below are popular positions for sex during pregnancy.

Non-penetrative positions

Non-penetrative sex or frottage - the general term for rubbing one's genitals on one's partner. This may include the partner's genitals or buttocks.

Other forms of frottage - as part of foreplay or to avoid penetrative sex, people engage in a variety of other non-penetrative sexual behaviour, which may or may not lead to orgasm.

Humping may refer to masturbation - thrusting one's genitals against the surface of non-sexual objects, clothed or unclothed, but this word is also used in the UK and Canada as slang for penetrative sex.

Genital-genital sex

Genital-genital sex, sometimes referred to as GG rubbing, is generally understood as sexual intercourse in a narrower sense, and among samesex partners vanilla sex. Sex by mutual genital rubbing is sometimes grouped with 'frottage'. However, other terms like 'non-penetrative' or 'outercourse' are heterosexist in reference and misleadingly assume a penile-vaginal context.

Oral sex positions

Oral sex is the term given to genital stimulation by the mouth. People may engage in oral sex as part of foreplay before intercourse, or during or following intercourse. It may also be performed for its own sake.

It can be performed simultaneously (e.g. one partner performs cunnilingus, while the other partner performs fellatio), or only one partner may perform upon the other; this creates a multitude of variations


Fellatio is oral sex involving a man's genitals. Possible positions include:


Cunnilingus is oral sex involving a woman's genitals. Possible positions include:


Simultaneous oral sex between two people is called 69. It is called the congress of the crow in the Kama Sutra. Each partner may be male or female. They can be lying side-by-side, lying one on top of the other, or standing with one partner holding the other upside down.


Positions for anilingus, also known as "butt licking," "rimming", "anal-oral sex", "rimjob", or "tossing the salad" are often variants on those for genital-oral sex. Rimming-specific positions include:

Other positions

Group sex

Various assemblages of people may participate in group sex. While group sex does not imply that all participants must be in sexual contact with all others simultaneously, some positions are only possible with three or more people.

As with the positions listed above, more group sex positions become practical if erotic furniture is used.

With three participants

When three people have sex with each other, it is called a threesome. Possible ways of having all partners in sexual contact with each other include:

Multiple penetration

Multiple penetration refers to one person being sexually penetrated several times simultaneously. It generally involves between three and five participants. Penetration may be accomplished by fingers, toes, sex toys, or penises. These positions are popular in pornography, but it is difficult to say whether they enjoy any significant popularity outside of it.

If one person is penetrated by two objects, it is generically called double penetration (sometimes abbreviated dp). Given the vagina, anus and mouth, there are several ways in which this can be done. These include:

If one person is penetrated by three objects, it is generically called triple penetration. Possibilities include:

These variations of multiple penetration are commonly seen in pornography aimed at straight men. Some of these positions put two men in intimate contact with each other, either directly or indirectly.

Penetration by larger numbers of objects is rarer and generally not named, with one exception, which is likely physically impossible:

With many participants

These positions can be expanded to accommodate any number of participants.

See also


Further reading


In the Indian Kama Sutra, the act and manner of sex was an art-form. In the Khajuraho statues, it has ethical meaning. In the Kama Sutra, eighty-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 ethical context for these positions.

The Arabic Perfumed Garden is another ancient text which describes sex positions. However, the most commonly known English version, translated from French by Sir Richard Francis Burton, has mangled the original almost beyond recognition. A modern translation by Jim Coville claiming to be faithful to the original describes only 11 unnamed sex positions, whereas Burton's translation lists some 39, each either with a name or number.


Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex was one of the first widely accepted modern sex manuals to describe sexual positions. See also:

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