You’re not the only ones. A few years ago I carried out a sexual practices survey that was filled in by 3,500 people and a whopping 80% of them cited missionary as the sexual position they engaged in most frequently. Like you, most couples harbour secret anxieties about dining from a limited sexual menu, but psychological research has shown time and again that choice is the enemy of satisfaction. When you give people too many options, they either stick to the choices that have worked for them in the past, or they avoid choosing altogether.
There may be umpteen positions, but there are a number of very good reasons why missionary is most people’s go-to. First, you can look each other in the eye, which lets you communicate your feelings. Second, it maximises skin contact and you can reach pretty much any body part of interest. Third, you are close enough to kiss each other. Missionary is also one of the best positions for clitoral stimulation, although some people find that it doesn’t work for them. That could be simply because of their anatomy.
Dr Susan Oakley, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, used magnetic resonance imaging and found anatomical differences between 10 women who were unable to orgasm and 20 women who could. Oakley found that women who had difficulty reaching orgasm also tended to have smaller clitorises that were located about 5-6mm farther away from the vaginal opening. But I digress.
The missionary position is great for men because it allows them to control the rhythm and depth of their movement. It also gives men who fear premature ejaculation some control over the level of stimulation, and this can help them to delay orgasm. You don’t say whether you have children yet, but the missionary position is believed to be the best position for reproduction.
If you are worried about being boring, it is easy to tweak things to make sex more adventurous. Instead of just lying down, why not lift your legs and rest them over his arms, or over his shoulders. This will make quite a normal position feel a lot more risque. Adding in a few well-chosen props can help too. Missionary when you are wearing a blindfold is quite a different experience.
You could also try using couples’ sex toys. The We-Vibe Sync is a good place to start — it’s a vibrator that has been designed to be enjoyed with a partner during penetrative sex. It is designed to stimulate both of you at the same time.
Other good options are to try this variation on the missionary. Change positions with each other, so that you are on top, and lying your body along the length of his. Put one leg between your husband’s two. It’s a position that women tend to find very pleasurable, and it also means that you can control the rhythm. You could also try mastering the coital alignment technique, which involves rocking rather than thrusting, to put rhythmic pressure on your clitoris. Your husband needs to position himself on top, but farther up your body than normal.
However, I must warn you that while the coital alignment technique works well for some couples, it can be terribly tricky to master and some people find that the effort involved in getting into the right position and coordinating the rhythm ends up being such a faff that it is a complete turn-off.
For that reason alone, it is definitely worth giving it a go. There is nothing like a laboured attempt to spice up your sex life to make you appreciate the intimate and reliably orgasmic sex life you already have. While I fully admire your determination to keep your sex life rich and varied, I would urge you not to forget that it sounds very much like you already have a better sexual relationship than most people. So as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
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