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doogy-style-sex

What To Do When Doggy Style Sex Gets Uncomfortable

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
Doggy style is one of the most universally popular sex positions, at least according to both online surveys and Google search data. It requires no flexibility, and is an easy position for most people to get into. Some people like doggy style because it allows for deeper penetration, but that’s not always a good thing and can sometimes lead to painful intercourse.
If you usually have missionary sex, doing it doggy style can feel like a whole new world, says Dr. Patti Britton, PhD, clinical sexologist. “You may not be used to the angle and depth of penetration, so it’s a new area of sensation,” Dr. Britton says. One of the reasons doggy style is such a popular position is that it allows for easy access to the clitoris. The penetrating partner can glide along the external clitoral head or make contact while they’re thrusting internally whether it’s with their bodies, balls or digits. But there are a few reasons why doggy style in particular might not feel great — and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not all in your head. Ultimately, sex should feel good, and if it doesn’t, that’s worth investigating.
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When you’re on your hands and knees in doggy style position, your pelvis tilts in a way that can “truncate the length of the vagina” or “scrunch up” the vaginal canal, says Dr. Britton “When it becomes uncomfortable, it could be that he's too long, he’s hitting too hard, he’s smashing against the donut of the cervix, she could have cysts on her cervix,” adds Dr. Britton. As you can imagine, that can cause intense, painful pressure.
If that's the case, Dr.Britton suggests trying to make the movements slow and deliberate, instead of pounding the penis or object in and out. Sometimes a speed adjustment is all it takes to feel better, but it depends on people's anatomy. There are a few other variables, such as the size, length, girth and shape of your partner's penis or the object being used for penetration.
Again, the thing about doggy style is that your partner can go very deep in this position, Dr. Britton says. Many people may want to pound or thrust intensely from behind, she says. Tell your partner if it’s painful. “If you have sensitivity at the cervix, this can promote more discomfort or hurt having a pounding object toward the cervix,” she says. “If he’s penetrating too deep, if he’s thrusting in too deeply, The Ohnut is a really great option because he doesn’t have to work so hard to control where his body is going.” Also known as a bumper or stopper, these depth-limiting rings allow users to customize how much the penetrating object can enter the vagina. Using them is as simple as stacking the stretchy rings around the base of a penis or dildo. Stackable cock rings are another solution but the wearer will have to limit use to 20 to 30 minutes so as not to constrict blood flow for too long.
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Another thing to consider? Holding yourself in a tabletop position requires some body strength, so your vagina “isn't exactly in a relaxed state,” Dr. Britton says. “Whereas lying on your back and being penetrated from above can actually allow you to be in a relaxed state, even though you’re tense and turned on.” For some, resting on your elbows instead of the palms of your hands or adding cushions underneath your joints can help reduce some of the pressure. Keeping your back arched can also lead to pain, adds Dr. Britton, in which case a pillow under the abdomen can help.
You may have to try a few different angles before you find one that feels good. But it’s also okay if doggy style is just not the ideal position for you and your partner. If you want to experience penetration from behind, there are other, less intense positions that you could try, such as spooning or laying completely flat on the bed, Dr. Britton says. You can also play with downward dog, and have your partner stand and penetrate you from behind, she suggests. That said, don’t feel like you have to get acrobatic to make it work.
If you’ve tried all of that and it still hurts, or you’re bleeding, mention it to your Ob/Gyn so they can make sure that you don’t have an underlying condition that’s causing the pain, like endometriosis or a vaginal infection. Not to mention, communicating with your partner when something doesn’t feel good during sex (and when it does feel good) is always a good thing. And if they’re still not getting it, blast “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine the next time you have sex, and see if they get the picture.
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This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated.

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