While most of us love missionary, doggy style, and cowgirl, those can’t be the only three positions you have sex in. After all, even the classics grow boring after a while. There’s where the pretzel sex position comes in. It’s a relatively straightforward sex position—unlike some of the more complicated ones, like the helicopter sex position—but it can still help inject some much-needed variety into your sex life, not to mention a host of other benefits.
The pretzel sex position can be emotional and intimate (like missionary), but it can be animalistic and primal too (like doggy style). It all depends on how fast you’re thrusting and where you’re touching one another while doing it.
To learn all about the pros of the pretzel (along with a few cons), we spoke to Ian Kerner, Ph.D., sex therapist and author of So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex and Ashley Cobb, a sexpert for Lovehoney. Together they shared everything you need to know to have a fun time in the pretzel position.
How to Do the Pretzel Sex Position
The person being penetrated (the bottom) lies down on their side. The top (person doing the penetrating), holds up the partner’s top leg and then straddles the bottom leg. The top then scoots closer in order to penetrate.
When you’re in position, it should look something like this:
Pretzel Position Pros
“The pretzel position is a good position for deep penetration,” Cobb says. That’s because the top can lift their partner’s top leg any which way to really get in deeper. “It’s also a great position for short women who have taller lovers,” Cobb adds. Some positions can prove difficult when you have drastic heigh differences, so the pretzel is an ideal position to try if your partner is a foot shorter than you.
Another great benefit to the pretzel position is that all your hands are free to roam! You can easily touch your partner’s breasts or “manually stimulate their clitoris while you’re penetrating them,” Kerner says. The receiving partner also has two hands free, so they can whip out a sex toy and add stimulation by applying a vibrator directly to their clitoris, Cobb adds.
Last but not least, it allows you “to make deep eye contact,” Kerner says. While penetrating deeply (maybe you’re holding up your partner’s top leg to your chest), try looking them in the eyes. Bring that intensity to the sexual experience.
Pretzel Position Cons
Keep in mind that the pretzel position “requires some dexterity and could get uncomfortable for either partner—especially for the bottom partner, since their torso get slightly twisted,” Kerner says.
Then there’s the issue of getting out of the position. With most positions, you can seamlessly transition from one to the next quickly (e.g., moving from cowgirl to lotus). “But on the whole, this position does not create much room for deviation and will take a little time to transition into a different position,” he says. Still, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll just have to take a few seconds longer to untangle your partner’s legs from your torso.
Variations on the Pretzel Position
You can always make some adjustments to the pretzel position to help ease discomfort, improve pleasure, and deepen penetration.
To change the angle of penetration and make things more comfortable, “the partner on bottom can bring their knees closer to their chest,” Cobb says. Additionally, “The partner on bottom can hook the leg back around the person on top.” This will inhibit the amount of thrusting the top can do, which is beneficial for bottoms who prefer less in-and-out and more of a rocking motion.
Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on lifestyle, sexuality, culture, and entertainment.
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