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The Missionary Sex Position

Updated: JUNE 25, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers

The missionary sex position is a horizontal sex position where one partner lies on top of and in between the legs of the other partner in order to penetrate them vaginally or anally with their penis or strap-on dildo. Missionary can be used in any relationship and is not restricted by sexuality or genitals. This position is characterized by increased intimacy because of the significant amount of skin-to-skin contact and the opportunity for both partners’ faces to be facing each other. The top, penetrating partner thrusts in and out of the bottom partner’s vagina or anus. The bottom receptive partner can be passive or can thrust back to meet the top. While the top person generally uses their hands and arms to hold them from fully lying on the bottom person, the receptive partner can use their hands to touch and caress the body of the top.

The missionary position is a very versatile way to have sex. It can be slow and sensual or fast, hard, and rough. Other benefits of missionary position include an increased possibility of clitoral, G-spot, and prostate stimulation during intercourse; the opportunity to kiss, watch, and whisper to each other; and the potential for including BDSM elements. Because both partners are horizontal, this position is comfortable and easier than others when one or both partners are tired or seeking a less physically demanding pose. Missionary position is generally considered the most common sex position, particularly among heterosexual couples. It is regarded as one of the main three sex positions, along with cowgirl and doggy-style. It is a universal sex position that is popular with cultures around the world. There are some people who will say that missionary is the best position for procreation because the penis delivers sperm closer to the cervix. However, there is no medical evidence to prove missionary sex results in more pregnancy.

Missionary sex is also known as the missionary sex position.

diagram of the missionary sex position - The penetrating partner lays on top of the receiving partner, facing each other

More About The Missionary Sex Position

Despite how frequently it is used, and how popular it is around the world, the missionary position has gained a negative reputation. It is often maligned as the “vanilla” sex position, and generally regarded as bland and uninspired, despite its significant erotica potential. It could be said that this characterization is entirely based on opinion, but there is some potentially insidious history to the rise of the missionary as the go-to sexual position.

It is believed missionary position gained prominence due to its alleged favor by Christian missionaries during colonialist expansion. It’s believed that church leaders wanted to encourage people away from the perceived animalistic doggy-style position. They believed humans to be above other animals, despite the fact that bonobos chimpanzees, one of our closest genetic cousins, also engage in missionary position sex. The term “missionary position” was not adopted until the late 1960s. As religious doctrine dictated missionary to be the acceptable sex position, it was also meant to reinforce a male-dominant position in sex.

Because the “vanilla” impression of missionary position has become so pervasive, many folks forget that there are many ways to add variation to a classic and increase sexual pleasure options for this position. One of the main benefits of missionary sex is that this position allows easy access to one of our most erogenous zones: our mouths. Both partners can use their lips, teeth, and tongue to bring additional pleasurable sensations to their partner’s mouths, necks, ears, nipples, chest, and more. Few other sex positions allow as much mouth play as the versatile missionary position.

To provide further separation from the “vanilla” label, the missionary position can incorporate many different facets of BDSM. It is great for the bondage of the bottom partner, with all four of their limbs available to be tied up. Consensual degradation and humiliation can also be added to missionary, with slapping, hair pulling, choking, and verbal insults being popular additions. Don’t assume the bottom is always submissive in missionary. The receptive partner can do all of the above and add scratching, paddling, spanking, and more to the “scene,” which is the common term for partners engaging in consensual BDSM sex play.

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