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Male-Superior Position

Updated: FEBRUARY 3, 2022

The male-superior position is the original term for what is known today as the missionary position. In this position, the penetrating partner places themselves on top of a receiver partner who is laying. The term was in popular use prior to the release of Alfred Kinsey’s ground-breaking work on sexuality in 1948.

The male-superior position is also sometimes known as the Mama-Papa Position, the English-American Position, and the Matrimonial.


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Male Superior sex position. The receiving partner lays down flat and spreads their legs. The penetrating partner climbs between the spread legs to lay down on top and penetrate.

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More About Male-Superior Position

The male-superior position gets its name because the penetrating participant is on top or “superior” position. ("Superior", as a medical term, means above or over top of.)

The receiver lies on their back for penetration with legs typically flat against the bed. They may also be bent at the knee with feet flat on the bed. The receiver may also rest their heels against their partner’s shoulders to deepen the penetration, in a variation known as “raising the mast.”

While engaging in this position, the penetrating partner may use their arms to hold themselves up or rest their whole weight on top of their partner. The penetrating partner may also straddle the receiver’s legs, in a variation sometimes called the “starfish,” to increase friction.

The penetrating partner controls the depth, force, and pace of the sexual encounter in the male-superior position, although the receiver can intensify the sensations by pushing back against the mattress or moving their pelvis from side to side.

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Many couples enjoy the intimacy of the face-to-face contact that the male-superior position offers. The "dominant" position of the penetrating partner and "submissive" position of the receiving partner is also attractive to some couples. This sexual position is also relatively easy for people to achieve, regardless of their strength or physical fitness.

However, this position does not stimulate the clitoris as readily as some other positions do. A receiver with a clitoris may wish to stimulate themselves during intercourse in this position.

Some receiving partners may also be frustrated at the small range of motion this position affords.

The penetrating partner can also become tired from holding themselves up. As the person on top must tense their muscles to do this, it can affect his ability to control his orgasm. For this reason, people who struggle with premature ejaculation may prefer a different sex position.

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