I loathe cowgirl. There, I said it. It is my least favorite of all the sex positions. I would rather spend 40 minutes on the elliptical than spend four minutes on top, mostly because I find it so exhausting. But for some people, exhaustion isn’t the only problem — it’s intimidation as well. If you’re not sure how to be good on top during sex (or how to be on top, period), then you’re definitely not alone. And while you may have heard the term “pillow princess” (which originated from the LBGTQ+ community) to describe someone who prefers receiving over giving, it’s a contentious label loaded with stereotypes that should probs be retired.
Preferring not to try on top sex positions does not make you lazy or selfish. But if you’ve never tried being on top (or have tried but would like to learn how to better enjoy it), then I’ve got some tips that might help. Unlike missionary sex, or other positions where your partner chooses the pace, cowgirl allows women and femme-identifying folks to set their own pace and put on a show — plus, it just so happens to be one of the best positions for orgasm. “Cowgirl is great for her,” Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, previously told Elite Daily. “She’s in the driver’s seat, controlling speed and depth of penetration.”
Here’s how to best get your straddle on.
Place A Pillow Under Each Knee
The best thing you can do to make sex on top more enjoyable for everyone is to make it as comfortable as possible. Rapid, bouncy movement isn’t required (despite what you may have seen in porn), but you can still make any bouncing or rocking movements more comfortable by placing a pillow under each knee, which will give you both more leverage and less physical space to cover.
Ask Your Partner To Take The Lead
If you’re new to cowgirl or in need of a little direction, try asking your partner to grab your hips and move you around. This takes the pressure off you being the one to orchestrate everything, and it adds an extra layer of intimacy to the act. Try out different movements, speeds, and levels of penetration that feel good to you both.
Try Grinding Rather Than Bouncing
Especially when you start off, grinding rather than bouncing can help you ease into sex on top (and will probably feel a lot better for you). While your partner is lying flat on their back, straddle them and lower down onto their penis or strap-on before you slowly start to rock back and forth. To get a hang of the motion, sex therapist Vanessa Marin suggested practicing on a pillow. “Cowgirl is all about how you move your hips,” she previously told Bustle. “Get on your knees on your bed and stuff some pillows between your legs. Try moving your hips around in a few different ways... You’re going to feel a little silly, but go with it!”
Use Your Forearms For Balance
Being on top is a full quad workout. To take some of the pressure off that one area of your body, lean forward and place a forearm on either side of your partner's head to distribute your weight evenly and add a little extra balance. You can still move up and down in this position, but it's a much more controlled movement. You'll also be face to face with your partner, allowing for a few passionate smooches. Lie down and try a modified cowgirl position if you’re really looking to feel at ease.
Lean Back & Grab Their Thighs
Similarly, you can lean back and grab your partner’s thighs or your own heels for support. Not only will this give your partner an A+ view — it will also give both of you easy access to your clitoris, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Play With Yourself
Once you figure out how to move your hips while on top and feel more comfortable with the basic idea of cowgirl, try reaching your hand down and touching yourself as you grind against your partner. You can also ask them to touch you or use a vibrator — whatever makes it easier for you to have an orgasm. Pro tip: The more you both get into it, the less awkward it’ll feel.
Try Reverse Cowgirl
Cowgirl isn’t the only sex position that involves the receiving partner being on top. You can change things up by facing the other way and leaning forward onto your hands, which lets you grind and bounce around without getting too tired. As sex educator Lola Jean previously told Elite Daily, “There’s the bonus of having a nice view” with reverse cowgirl, but you should note that “due to the flexibility in this position, it is often best suited for those who don’t have a more north-facing erection.”
Practice, Practice, Practice
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This lesson applies to sex positions as well, and according to Marla Renee Stewart, a sexpert for the sexual wellness brand Lovers, practice can help you become more confident and commanding when you’re on top. “Practicing something educates you more about your body and someone else's body and therefore, with more practice comes more ingrained knowledge on what you need to do,” she previously told Bustle. “The more you know, the more confident you will feel about the situation.”
If you try all these tips and find that sex on top still isn’t for you, then so be it. Sex should be focused on the pleasure of all parties involved, and you shouldn’t let any labels or stereotypes compel you to do something that doesn’t fit your fantasy.
Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure
Vanessa Marin, sex therapist
Lola Jean, sex educator
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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