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Male-Superior Position

Updated: JULY 5, 2021

The male-superior position is the original term for what is known today as the missionary position. In this position, the man places himself on top of a reclining female. 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.


diagram of male-superior sex position


More About Male-Superior Position

The male-superior position gets its name because the male participant is in a dominant or “superior” position. The female participant lies on her back to receive the male's penis, and her legs typically lie flat against the bed, or are bent at the knee with her feet flat on the bed. She may also rest her heels against the man’s shoulders to deepen the penetration, in a variation known as “raising the mast.”

While engaging in this position, the male may use his arms to hold himself up or rest his whole weight against his female partner. He may also straddle the woman’s legs, in a variation sometimes called the “starfish,” to restrict her movements and increase friction.

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

Many couples enjoy the intimacy of the face-to-face contact that the male-superior position offers. The dominant position of the male and submissive position of the female 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 woman may wish to stimulate herself during intercourse in this position. Some women may be frustrated at the small range of motion this position affords. The man can also become tired from holding himself up. As he must tense his muscles to do this, it can affect his ability to control his orgasm. For this reason, men who struggle with premature ejaculation may prefer a position where the woman is on top.


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