For a position that seemingly everyone’s heard of, it takes a little finesse to ride your way to orgasm. There can be a lot of apprehension, especially if you’re not familiar with the cowgirl position or intercourse in general, says ob-gyn Shristy Mohanty, MD.
To be fair, being on top does comes with a whole new set of questions: What do you do with your hands? What do you do when your legs get tired? Do you have to dress up like a cowboy or are costumes optional? Should I spell “coconut” with my hips?
Yes, you can take a class or just learn by doing, but it’s likely you might want a few tips and tricks in your back pocket before hopping in the saddle. That’s why we picked the brains of seven different sexperts to break down everything you need to know about the cowgirl position. From the basics to the best ways to make it even better, here’s how to ride your partner like a pro.
1. Use protection.
As with any type of sex, using protection is always a good idea. Nothing is more distracting than worrying about STIs and pregnancy while going at it, and Jasmine Akins, a sexual health educator at CAN Community Health, urges people to use a condom even if you’re on another form of birth control.
Check out local clinics like Planned Parenthood for free and affordable testing. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, Akins suggests getting tested at least once a year since some infections can lay dormant for a long time.
2. Incorporate lube.
Not only does lube make sex feel better, but it actually makes it safer as well. If there’s not enough lubrication—whether natural or store-bought—Dr. Mohanty says it can lead to small tears on the penis or in the vagina. This is not only extremely uncomfortable, but it also leads to a greater chance of infection.
Bottom line: Make sure to take plenty of time to get nice and aroused before penetration and grab some lube to avoid discomfort. Dr. Mohanty also adds that inadequate lubrication can lead to painful sex, which might make you want to avoid intimacy altogether which is so not ideal.
3. Go slow.
“If you are a newbie, don’t feel like you have to dive in headfirst,” says Akins. “Ease into it.” This position allows for very deep penetration, so some people may find it uncomfortable since their partner might hit up against their cervix. Try slowing down, adjusting the angle of your hips, or inch down onto the penis or toy to give your body time to respond.
All the experts agree: If you feel like the position is extremely painful, stop penetration immediately and chat with your gynecologist. And while it’s rare, cowgirl leads to the most “broken penis” injuries, which is another swell reason to take things super slow.
4. Limber up.
Even though it might not be the main reason you’re having it, sex is actually a high-intensity physical activity. This is why sexpert Tyomi Morgan always suggests stretching before hopping on top and concentrating on your breathing while thrusting. Not only will this increase the oxygen in your bod (which makes it easier to orgasm), but since cowgirl is basically like an intense cardio class, it’ll ensure you can ride until you’re done instead of just until you get too exhausted.
5. Pee afterward.
Since bacteria commonly live in our bodily fluids, it’s always a good idea to go the bathroom after getting some—regardless of whether you’re using fingers, toys, mouths, or a penis. “Peeing after sex is highly recommended to maintain feminine health because it helps to flush bacteria out of the body, which can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI),” explains sex therapist Rachel Smith. But she adds that peeing after sex doesn’t help to prevent pregnancy or STIs, so use protection even if you plan to pee.
6. Angle is everything.
Mayla Green, sex expert and co-founder of TheAdultToyShop.com, explains that cowgirl doesn’t mean you sit up straight on top of your partner at a 90-degree angle, but rather, you should lean forward slightly (up to a 45-degree angle) for the easiest and most comfortable penetration.
7. Grind up on them.
Candice Smith, a sex expert and co-founder of TheKinkKit, says to move your body like you’re dancing. “Sit up and swivel your hips while you’re atop them. You can use your hands on their hips for balance or place them on either side of them.”
8. Keep it unpredictable.
Smith recommends switching up the speed and depth of penetration so there’s no discernible pattern. “Start with shallow, fast thrusts, and let yourself slowly fully sink onto your partner every fifth thrust.” Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and founder/CEO of The Cowgirl, also adds if you’re struggling to find a rhythm, you can alternate between bouncing and grinding or varying your speeds for either to suit your comfort and pleasure.
9. Get handsy.
Experiment with your partner’s hands and yours. Have them put their hands on your hips for extra leverage, suggests Smith. Sinclair mentions that leaning back and placing your arms behind you and on your partner’s knees or ankles can help shift your weight when you start getting tired. You can also caress your own breasts or play with your nipples for extra stimulation, says Sinclair. Bonus: It’s also a fun visual aid for your partner.
10. Don’t be afraid to take over.
Want to make cowgirl even hotter? Hold your partner’s hands above their head or use cuffs or restraints and tell them not to move. “Taking that control away will drive them crazy as you show them how you like to ride,” says Smith. Just make sure you talk about it beforehand if you’re breaking out the cuffs.
11. And don’t hesitate to tell your partner to take over either.
In that same vein, just because you’re the one on top, doesn’t mean you automatically have to take on all the work. It’s totally cool to tell your partner to meet you halfway and thrust from below, says Sinclair.
12. Tuck your legs in.
Sinclair also notes that tucking your legs under your partner for extra leverage and support can make a big difference. Think about when someone holds your feet down while you do sit-ups—you can suddenly jolt up and down with a ton more energy than when you’re busy trying to weigh your legs down yourself. This move can help stabilize you and keep your thighs from tiring out, Sinclair says.
13. Give them a show.
Once you’ve mastered regs cowgirl, go into reverse-cowgirl to put on a show. It’s basically the same thing, but you’re facing their feet, not their face. Not only is this a good chance to show off your bangin’ bod, but the friction feels ah-mazing.
14. Try having your partner sit up.
There’s no rule that says your partner has to be lying on their back the whole time you’re in the saddle. Try having them sit up to meet you so you’re face-to-face, suggests Sinclair. “This can help take some of the pressure off your thighs, switch up the rhythm, and allow you to hold onto them for support,” she says. Plus, when you’re facing each other like this, you’re primed to make out or turn up the eye contact.
15. Incorporate toys.
If you’re on top, you can try leaning back so you have more access to stimulate your clit, says Sinclair. Smith also notes that if you need to use your hands to steady yourself, you can also ask your partner to hold the vibe for you. This can be especially sexy as you’re giving them the reins (or toys) to your pleasure.
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