Head Scissors

Updated: JULY 5, 2024

Head scissors, sometimes called a head scissors hold, is a position where someone clasps a partner's head in between their thighs and squeezes their legs together. The term originated in the world of wrestling and mixed martial arts, where a competitor would squeeze an opponent’s head in between their legs to subdue them. However, some people enjoy this technique during sexual play. In this context, a giving partner may use head scissors to give pleasure to, punish, or otherwise dominate their receiving partner.

Head scissors are usually associated with dominant women, as their name is similar to the term scissoring, a sex act performed by people with vulvas. However, dominant people of any gender identity may give head scissors.

How to perform head scissors

The receiving partner may lie down to prepare for head scissors. The giving partner may sit near the receiver’s head. They can then straddle the head from this position and squeeze it tight. The giver’s thighs apply pressure to the receiver’s head and restrict their movements. The giver can maintain their balance by engaging their core and adjusting the angle of their body so they feel comfortable. They may also lock their ankles together to make the head scissors hold more secure.

Alternatively, the giver may lie on top of the receiver, with their head facing in the opposite direction and their genitals aligned with their partner’s face. From this position, they can squeeze their legs together and perform head scissors. This position allows the giving partner to also perform oral sex or a hand job on the receiver at the same time. It’s also a little easier, as the giver can balance their whole weight on the receiver’s body.

Another option has the receiver on all fours. The giver can then straddle their partner’s neck and perch on their shoulders or upper back to sensually squeeze their partner’s head between their thighs. This option is the most challenging, as it requires the giver to carefully balance on the receiver. The giver may place their hands on their partner’s back to steady themselves.  

Why some people like head scissors

Vicki Lyons, a sexual wellness expert and chief editor at Bodyjoys told Kinkly that an interest in head scissors “often comes from a desire to be dominated, or a desire to be dominant, if you're the partner performing the scissors.”

The dominant position of the giving partner makes it an ideal position for BDSM relationships or anyone wanting to explore power exchange. As the giving partner is usually female, it can appeal to people interested in female domination, or femdom. As a head scissors hold can show dominance without pain, it’s a gentle FemDom practice. Trying head scissors may be a good way for someone interested in being a female dominant to figure out their FemDom persona.

Receiving partners may enjoy feeling helpless between their partner’s thighs, knowing that their partner has complete control over their movements. The physical sensation of being squeezed by a partner’s body can also be incredibly pleasurable. 

“Head scissoring is pretty easy to understand as it’s about being pinned between the thighs, an erogenous zone,” Emme Witt-Eden, a sex expert and former dominatrix with professional head scissoring experience, explained to Kinkly. “It’s about the experience of having one’s neck or head squeezed between a pair of sweaty thighs. It’s about the visceral sense of feeling the thigh muscles tightening around one's head or neck. Obviously, a connected kink is for muscles. So, all these elements contribute to this kink to make it exciting for the guy who likes strong, muscled women who can take them down if she wants.”

The receiver may also be aroused because they’re close to the giver’s genitals or anus. “It’s about being ‘forced’ (consensually) to pleasure one’s dominant while being tortured during head-scissoring. Or it’s about tease and denial: about being close enough to the genitals to smell them but too far to taste/pleasure them. It’s about this experience all while being trapped in place.” Witt-Eden said.

“I’d say some submissives even have the fantasy of being killed in such a position. I know this sounds crazy and morbid, but it’s just a fantasy, one some men like to talk about: the idea that a woman could end their life if she wanted while squeezing them brutally between her thighs,” she added. "The kink is obviously about being scared. It’s about fear and control, which many people enjoy involving in their sex lives in some way. Both senses—fear and feeling overpowered (out of control)—create adrenaline, which can be exciting when coupled with sex and/or even lead to arousal.”

Giving head scissors can be a real turn-on for people who love dominating their partners, especially women, Dr. Farhan Malik, MD told Kinkly.

“Squeezing their thighs around a partner's head allows them to take charge and dominate the encounter. This reversal of traditional gender roles can be thrilling and liberating. Some also enjoy the physical challenge of maintaining the hold and regulating pressure.”

Some people also enjoy giving head scissors because their partners love receiving them. Seeing how much this act turns a receiving partner on can be arousing for the giver.   

Head Scissors: Fetish or Kink?

Some people feel they have a head scissors fetish or a head scissors kink. A kink is more likely, as it’s rare for people to require head scissors for sexual arousal. Anecdotal evidence suggests head scissors fetish or kink is more common among men who receive head scissors than dominant partners.

“I’ve mostly seen men into being head-scissored,” Witt-Eden added. “This might be because I was a pro-domme catering to a primarily male clientele and/or because a lot of the porn I’ve seen featuring this kink is also FemDom—but … I think that this kink is moderately common. It’s not as common as having a foot fetish, per se, but it’s definitely an interest I’ve seen often in my practice.”

This sexual interest can also overlap with other kinks, as Witt-Eden explained.

“Usually, a guy with a head-scissoring kink has an overall wrestling kink. This is a fetish for being overpowered by a woman. I’ve met both men who want to actually be overpowered by a woman, or who just want to “play wrestle” (the man agrees to wrestle without using his full strength). And yet, some men definitely only want to play with women who are bodybuilders and can actually overpower them. Some men with this fetish fantasize about being truly hurt by the woman.”

Dr. Malik added “While I would not consider head scissors fetishism abnormal in the realm of human sexuality, it is certainly less common than many other kinks or philias. In my clinical practice, I have encountered only a handful of patients who expressed a specific fascination with head scissors. Often, the desire stems less from a need to inflict pain or domination and more from an attraction to the athleticism and strength required to perform the act. There can be an erotic charge from the feeling of vulnerability and release of control when caught between a woman's thighs. However, this kink remains in the minority compared to more popular interests like roleplaying or bondage which have benefited from increased awareness and destigmatization in recent years.”

Safety and consent during head scissors

Head scissoring is seen as a relatively safe sexual practice, as it does not involve the exchange of bodily fluids. However, it can be dangerous if practitioners don’t take care.

“The neck is an extremely delicate area, and pressure applied incorrectly or excessively can lead to injury or even death,” Dr. Malik confirmed. “The common carotid arteries and jugular veins run on either side of the neck, and compression of these blood vessels starves the brain of oxygen. This is why strangulation and choking are some of the most dangerous sexual practices, even though breath play continues to grow in popularity due to the influence of media.”  

“Though some people actually enjoy being ‘choked out’ during sex, which means having their air supply cut off until they actually go unconscious, this is a really dangerous activity,” Eden-Witt confirmed. “I wouldn’t recommend doing this to someone or having it done to you.”

“There have also been reports of blood vessels bursting in the eyes,” Lyons added. “This is something that can heal itself over time, but still not an ideal outcome.” 

“A good way to set boundaries is to get the partner underneath to raise their hand once they've reached a limit, ensuring the practice stops as soon as there's any unwanted discomfort,” Lyons added. “Always ensure that the hands are free to move during this type of play so that the submissive person is able to notify the dominant if things are getting too intense.” 

Giving partners should also consider their technique and monitor the person receiving head scissors to ensure they’re safe, Dr. Malik said. “Do not apply sustained crushing force, and regularly check in with your partner. Err on the side of less pressure rather than more. Be sober and fully aware. And know that no sexual practice is worth endangering your life over. There are many other ways to enjoy intimacy that don't carry the same risks. When in doubt, keep each other safe.”

Consent is important for any sex act, but especially those involving power exchange like head scissors. Couples should discuss their interest in head scissors in advance and only proceed if both people give their enthusiastic and informed consent. 

They should also mention any concerns or past trauma that might make enjoying head scissors challenging.

“If the partner being squeezed has issues with small spaces or problems with breathing, then the practice could create some anxiety, which is the opposite of what you're wanting to achieve,” Lyons explained.

Witt-Eden also suggests discussing any health issues with partners.

She noted that “If you have high blood pressure, or heart problems, engaging in serious head scissoring isn’t a good idea.”

Agreeing on a safe word and a safe action such as raising a hand, which the receiver can use to stop play if the giver’s thighs make speaking difficult, can help couples play safely with head scissors.

Synonyms: Head scissors hold


Latest Sex Positions

View More Positions More Icon