8 Sex Positions That Will Take Your Tried-&-True Missionary To The Next Level

"Missionary position" is a bit of an unfortunate phrase, no? Many missionaries do fine charitable work, but thinking about them isn't exactly titillating. That's a shame, because missionary position can actually be amazingly sexy: In missionary position, bodies are close. There's a lot of sweat. Breath mingles. It's a perfect position for intimate lovemaking with strong eye contact; it's also a perfect position for lifting your legs up, going as hard and as deep as possible, and experiencing pleasure in parts of your body you didn't know existed.
It's also certainly not just for penis-in-vagina straight sex. Maybe we should rebrand "missionary position" as being about going on a mission to get creative, messy, and come your face off — all while experiencing a closeness with your partner not available in other sex positions. As part of this rebrand, we've gathered twists on traditional missionary that will prove just how hot and varied missionary sex can be. We'll be adding steamier positions each month, so make sure to check back (and try them!).
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While we're arguably more in control of and confident about our sexuality than ever, there's still so much we don't know about female arousal. So this month, we're exploring everything you want and need to know about how women get turned on now. Check out more here.
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Spread Missionary

If you saw Fifty Shades Darker or are familiar with BDSM, you may have heard of spreader bars. They usually come with cuffs on either side that are clasped around the submissive partner's ankles. And they're the perfect toy to spice up missionary position.

To get into spread missionary, have the dominant partner (the one on top providing penetration) clasp the receiving partner's ankles in the spreader bar. Then, the dominant partner can lift the submissive's legs over their head for a kinky twist on a classic position.
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Bound Missionary

Bound missionary infuses BDSM into this classic sex position. All you have to do is tie up the arms of the receiving partner over their head. You can use a pair of sex handcuffs or go DIY with rope or tape — whatever turns on you and your partner.
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Assisted Missionary

To change the angle of penetration during missionary sex, try placing a pillow under your partner’s bum. You don't need to buy a pillow made specially for sex; just grab one lying around your bed. By plopping the cushion under the receiving partner, their pelvis lifts, thus allowing for increased G-spot or P-spot (for those with prostates having anal sex) stimulation, said Chelsea McCain, sex toys and novelties manager of porn retailer AdultEmpire, back in January.
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ILLUSTRATED BY PAOLA DELUCCA
Pretzel Missionary

In the pretzel version of missionary position, the receiving partner simply lifts their legs and wraps them like a salty snack around the partner providing penetration. It's a variation both parties will love: By wrapping their legs around, the receiving partner can pull their lover further inside, controlling the depth of penetration, gripping tight if they feel something they like. For the partner providing penetration, not only are they aided in thrusting, which can be heavy cardio, but they're able to feel the warmth of being entangled in legs.
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ILLUSTRATED BY PAOLA DELUCCA
Impaled Missionary

"Impaled" is a bit of a violent term, but that's what the Kama Sutra calls this variation, officially "shulachitaka." The receiving partner lifts one leg up, which, like a lever on a La-Z-Boy, allows the couple to play with various angles. A leg over the shoulder is always hot, and by lifting one leg up, if the receiving partner has a vagina, this position also creates more space for the person on top to rub their clit.
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ILLUSTRATED BY PAOLA DELUCCA
Rockette Missionary

Rockette missionary sex takes impalement to the next level (and forces the person lying down to do a little cardio). Just like with impaled missionary, the receiving partner lifts one leg up along their partner's body, but in this version you take turns, switching legs up and down like a Rockette dancer. This position is known in the Kama Sutra as "the broken flute (venudaritaka)."
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ILLUSTRATED BY PAOLA DELUCCA
Strap-On Missionary

Strap-on missionary sex can be done by all genders and orientations, not just by two people with vaginas (although that's awesome). It's a wonderful way for a person with a vagina to see what it feels like being on top of their partner with a penis, by slowly inserting a (well-lubricated, please) dildo into their partner's vagina or butt. When using a strap-on, take the time to research and find the right one for you, and always clean afterward with warm water and antibacterial soap. Just like with penises, use a condom if using on multiple partners.
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ILLUSTRATED BY PAOLA DELUCCA
Anal Missionary

There is definitely nothing boring about having missionary sex in your butt. Compared to the doggy-style version of sex typically associated with anal, missionary anal sex can take a bit more maneuvering, but it's well worth it (to help get the angle right, it might be helpful to place a pillow under the receiver). The intimate eye contact involved in missionary takes a sex act like anal, often associated with roughness, and proves it can also be soft and sweet. Regardless of whether you're using a dildo or penis in anal missionary, as the anus isn't self-lubricating, make sure to always use proper lubrication. Pro tip: If you're doing anal missionary with someone who has a vagina, never switch from butt to vagina without a proper washing. That's how yeast and urinary tract infections are made!
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