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Rekindle Your Passion with Variations on a Theme

Sex is an integral part of most committed romantic relationships. Trying out new positions is a good way of maintaining emotional closeness and learning more about your needs and the needs of your partner. You don’t need to do anything crazy—even small changes can help you achieve better orgasms and generally enjoy a more exciting and pleasurable experience.

Reviving Passion through Variations on a Theme.

Switching things up in the bedroom (and not only the bedroom) from time to time can be very important in sexual relationships. This article focuses on the different ways penetrative sex positions can be varied. These positions are mainly oriented towards penis-in-vagina sex, but the same effect can be achieved, for example, by using sex toys or otherwise adjusting to your unique circumstances.

One of the most famous writings on sex positions is the Kama Sutra (or Kamasutra), an ancient text written in Sanskrit approximately 1800 to 2400 years ago. Even though it is best known for its graphic visual depictions and descriptions of sexual positions, only one section of the book focuses exclusively on this topic. Actually, the Kama Sutra is a much broader guide to a well-lived and emotionally rich life, written in both prose and verse.


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There can be many reasons for varying the positions you use during sexual intercourse. One of the main reasons is the excitement and passion that comes with trying new things. New sex positions are also a part of the search for a better orgasm for both partners. But it can also be a good strategy for adjusting to muscle and joint paint, and other mobility issues.

It is a myth that extreme physical fitness is required for trying new positions during sex. Some of the more advanced techniques require muscle strength and agility, but other positions can actually help with pain management.

For example, try “spooning” or having sex lying on the side for back pain relief. Here doggy style or the use of elevating pillows in various positions can also help.


As with everything concerning sex, communication is the most important part of ensuring that both partners are getting their needs met and are having a good time. Discuss the positions you would like to try during foreplay or even during the day. Don’t be afraid to gently suggest switching things up or – on the contrary – staying longer in that one position that you enjoy the most.

Researching sex positions can be a fun, intimate activity for lovers. Many guidebooks or games with dice and cards depicting positions are easily found and can make things more exciting. Just remember that sex IRL usually isn’t as smooth and perfect as what is depicted in pornographic materials or visualised in our own minds.

Be prepared to accept that a new position might not work, especially on the first try. Best-case scenario: you both ignore it and move on in the passion of the moment. The other, also best-case scenario – you accept it with humour as part of the intimate moment between the two of you and offer mutual support.

It is never a good idea to ‘identify the guilty party’ if something goes slightly wrong during sex. You are both in this together.

Be ready for things not to go as planned on the first try. If a new position isn’t working, be gentle with your partner and yourself.

Partner Care and Attention - Handle with Caution

Be careful and attentive towards your partner. If you notice that they are uncomfortable while trying something new, either physically or emotionally, try something else.

Changing the condom?

In the heat of the moment, it is important to remember about safety. Put on a fresh condom if you are switching between oral and vaginal or anal sex. Also, notice if the condom hasn’t rolled down or changed its place during sex, keep it on with your hand by the stem when changing the positions if necessary.

It is generally recommended to change the condom after approximately 30 minutes during longer sessions – and whenever you feel that it’s necessary.

Missionary Sex

Many people think of the missionary position, where the woman lies on her back and the man is on top, as boring ‘vanilla’ sex. It doesn’t need to be. This is the ‘default’ sex position for good reason—its fool-proof design and the relatively little effort needed by both parties.

To augment your experience, try changing the angle and leg positions. The woman can:

  • Bend her knees anywhere from just slightly elevated position to completely bent, feet on the ground
  • Wrap her legs around the partner’s torso
  • Lift the legs and prop them up on the partner’s shoulders (this requires limber leg muscles)
  • Raise her buttocks slightly, shifting her weight to her shoulders and allowing for deeper penetration (aka doing “the bridge” yoga position)

You can use pillows in this and other positions to prop your body up in new ways: under your back, knees, legs, shoulders or anywhere, really. A related position is achieved when the woman is lying on a bed (or another piece of furniture), while the man is standing on the floor.

You might also experiment with how wide apart the woman’s legs are when in the missionary.

Similarly – instead of staying propped up on his palms or elbows, the man can try laying down completely on the woman and, instead of moving forward, now moving up, achieving new sensations and better alignment between both partners’ pelvises.

Experiment with the alignment of the bodies – you don’t always need to be exactly parallel to one another.

In all positions – if both legs are required to be lifted, you can always lift just one if it makes you more comfortable.

Surprisingly, if the woman’s legs are kept closed, it can also bring forward extremely satisfying sensations for both parties.

Doggy style

With the woman on all fours and the man entering from the back, this position can be extremely satisfying for both partners.

It also allows for perfect amounts of clitoral stimulation by the man or the woman herself.

This position can be varied by elevating different parts of the body.

  • Use an exercise ball, some pillows, or a piece of furniture to raise the woman’s torso. Remember to double-check that you are safe.
  • Lowering the chest area and laying down while the woman’s legs stay in the doggy position
  • Laying down completely, the partner laying gently on top or kneeling

If you are feeling even more adventurous, you can incorporate the “downward dog” yoga pose into your sex life.

The woman on top

Inverting the missionary position so that the man is lying on his back and the woman straddles him, either on her knees or squatting (which is much more demanding), means that she can more easily control the rhythm, depth of penetration, and other nuances of the sexual encounter.

This position is generally called “the cowgirl” when the woman is facing her partner or “the reverse cowgirl” if the woman is facing away.

This position can be varied by the man bending his legs at the knees to provide more stability or slightly tilting his hips to elevate his partner.

Standing sex

You can also try sex standing up, which is easier when there is a wall nearby you can lean on. Partners can either face each other or the woman can face away for penetration from behind.

If it is comfortable for both people, the man can try lifting the woman as she wraps her legs around his torso. The woman can lean her back against the wall for additional support.

Shower sex

Sex is not only meant for the bedroom. You can try making love in any room of the house or even in other places (as long as you don’t make a nuisance of yourselves). The shower is a good contender, as people usually wash themselves naked.

Some of the most popular positions include:

The woman facing the wall with both palms pressed against it for support, while the man penetrates her from behind.

The man pressing his back against the wall while the woman faces him standing on one leg with her other leg up on the side of the shower/tub or on a separate footrest. The man can also hold the woman’s leg in this position. (Aka the “ballet dancer” position)

Using a shower bench or stool for laying down during sex is also a good idea.

Regulate the water temperature so that both partners feel comfortable and remember you will get hotter and hotter as the intercourse progresses. Use the water to stimulate erogenous zones such as the nipples.

Safety first

Bath and shower surfaces are slippery, and it is far too easy to fall down. If you are excited enough for an extended session, it might be best to take it into the bedroom.

Pay attention to the materials and build of your shower: if it is made of plastic, it might not be meant for two people.

One drawback of water sex is that the body’s natural lubrication can wash away, so using a silicone-based lubricant is a good idea.

Safety is important in all types of sex. Make sure your environment is safe and secure, use protection, be attentive to your and your partner’s needs, enjoy the process, and remember to use a lubricant.

For the best experience during sex, most women require clitoral stimulation. Incorporate it in your bedroom routines with fingers or a vibrator.

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