Sex Positions & Techniques
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Sexual Positions Revisited
Man on top sex, face to face - the missionary position
When we think of sex, most of us visualize the position known as the face to face, man on top , or "missionary", position in which the woman lies on her back with her legs apart, the man places himself between her legs with his torso above hers, while supporting his weight on his knees and elbows. This is the most common sex position used by the English, the Americans, and northern Europeans; this is unfortunate, for nothing gives rise to boredom so quickly as the constant use of the same routine in lovemaking.
If you're falling into the trap of the same old routine every time you have sex, you might want to discuss this with your partner. It's entirely possible that some men and women will stray from their regular relationship just because they crave more sexual variety and wider experience of new positions and lovemaking techniques.
It isn't just enough to see that your partner reaches orgasm - if you do this, no matter how efficiently, in the same positions every time you have sex, you're still asking for trouble. Trying out new techniques and varying them from lovemaking to lovemaking, you may find that sex takes on a new meaning for both you and your partner and as a result your love might grow as never before.
Fairly highly sexed people probably need a greater degree of sexual variety and stimulation to fully relieve their sexual tension. For example, a highly sexed woman may need regular or multiple orgasms and the variety of different positions to keep her sexually fulfilled - the same is no less true of highly sexed men, of course.
An indication that the face to face man on top sexual position has not always been seen as the 'natural' one by everybody in the Western World is the fact that it was used infrequently by the ancient Greeks and Romans. For them, the most often adopted position for intercourse was the woman-astride, in which the man lies on his back and the woman either kneels with a leg on either side of his flanks over his pubic area, or squats on her haunches above his genitals, lowering herself on to his erect penis.
In all the many erotic wall paintings at Pompeii and elsewhere, there is no representation of the face to face man on top position, and there are few Greek vases depicting it. This is also true of the many thousands of Indian erotic temple carvings and while it does occur in the famous Japanese erotic art, it is depicted only rarely in comparison with other positions for sexual intercourse.
In order to know what to expect from various sex positions, you need to know what happens to the penis in its physical relationship with the vagina, and the degree of freedom a particular position provides for the mouth and the hands to continue to work their magic after the partners have started to make love.
The face to face man on top sex position is probably most popular in our culture where the insertion of the penis in the vagina represents the final phase of lovemaking. And a man who brings himself and his woman practically to the verge of the point-of-no-return before he penetrates her needs a sex position that he can use quickly and easily. If he can't get into her quickly, he may ejaculate before he can penetrate her, or she may find her arousal drops so much as he strives to penetrate her vagina that she cannot them reach orgasm at all.
From a psychological viewpoint man on top sex has a good deal to recommend it. For example, it allows the two partners to look at one another and be aroused and reassured by the sight of the other's enjoyment.
There are other physical advantages, too. The 'deep kiss', in which the tongue explores the partner's mouth, or the lower lip or tongue is sucked by the other partner, has a very stimulating effect on most women and many men and can increase the intensity of your orgasmic pleasure.
In this position such kisses are easy and natural, while the erogenous zones of the throat and shoulders, and behind the ears, can also be easily stimulated by the lips and tongue. And by shifting his weight onto one elbow, the man can free one hand to stimulate one or the other of his partner's nipples. Most men, unless they are very much taller than their partner, can generally position themselves so that they can reach a nipple with the mouth by arching their backs, though in doing this penis-vagina contact may be reduced, even to the point where the head of the penis may be just inside the entrance of the vagina.
Yet another advantage of the face to face position is the ease with which the man can control the movements of his penis and thus can control his exceptionally mis-timed ejaculation and speed up or slow down his progress towards orgasm. Most men move the penis backward and forward inside their partner by making thrusting and withdrawing movements of the pelvis which automatically brings the buttocks into play. As a man, to achieve the greatest sensation at the moment of orgasm and to provide the best effect for your partner, this movement should have the action of a free swinging motion, very like that of a relaxed leg dangling over the edge of a table on which you are sitting and freely swinging backward and forward.
Making these movements with tense buttock muscles changes the free swinging into a pushing motion in which each stroke is separate from the preceding and following ones, instead of the whole series being really one circular movement. The tightening of the buttock muscles tightens all the muscles of the pubic area, and this has the effect of reducing orgasm sensations and making you reach orgasm more quickly. This swinging movement features in a great many of the sexual positions that follow in this series of web pages, and it's well worth learning it. In summary, you will always know when you are 'pushing' instead of 'swinging', because you cannot avoid noticing the tightness of your buttock muscles.
Other advantages of the man on top sex position: It leaves both the woman's hands absolutely free. She can stroke her man's spine, she can apply pressure over his erection center (an area of the spinal column just above his waist which controls his erection response). A couple can identify this spot by experimenting with pressure on different areas of the man's spine; pressure on it can build up the man's sexual tension and heighten his orgasm sensations. And when making love in the man on top position, the man's partner can stroke his buttocks, or she can slip her hand down and fondle his scrotum, or she can stimulate both his nipples simultaneously, all the while returning his kisses.
One of the main disadvantages of the man on top sex position is that it does not allow more than half or two-thirds of the penis to go into the vagina, even when the woman is slightly built, so as to allow the greatest degree of penetration in this position. In some women the vaginal opening is set well back between the legs, while in others it is set close up under the pelvic bone, in which case the urethral opening and clitoris are very close together. This difference can determine how much of the penis can penetrate the vagina.
Here's why: as the man places himself above his partner, his penis, which will be at its maximum stiffness just before penetration, will be almost parallel with the bed. If the woman's vagina is set far back, the penis head will have to be lowered and the shaft will enter the vagina at a downward angle. This angle, and the meeting of the male and female pelvic bones prevent full penetration. Either of you can feel how much of the penis has not been able to enter your partner if you roll slightly onto your sides and then put a hand down behind you; you can feel the part of the shaft which has not fully penetrated the vagina. (This is an erotic and exciting thing to do as you make love - you can feel the vaginal juices and lubrication as your penis moves in and out. Such extra eroticism is always arousing for a man, and may be the difference between being able to achieve orgasm and not for men who have delayed ejaculation , i.e., the inability to ejaculate during sex.)
So to help obtain deeper penetration during intercourse, a pillow placed under the woman's buttocks will raise her pubic area, tilt up her vaginal entrance, and make a greater degree of penetration possible. By experimenting you will be able to discover how thick a pillow is required to make the entrance accessible and to allow the penis to enter at the very smallest angle; the smaller the penis's angle of depression, the farther it will go into the vagina. If she has a pillow under her head as well, and using a pillow in this way makes her back ache during sex, just remove the pillow from under her head. That should stop any back ache.
But, you may be asking, what's the big deal about deep penetration? The answer is that when a woman approaches her "point-of-no-return" she is likely to have a strong desire to be penetrated as deeply as possible (and may express this in a desire to be fucked harder and deeper). She may feel an instinctive urge to take her man's penis more and more deeply into her at this point in the lovemaking. At the same time, the man may feel a similar need to take her as deeply as possible, and may express this in terms such as "I fucking love you", "I want to fuck you", or show his desire to thrust deeper into her. There's a psychological and a physical side to this: psychologically, deeper penetration represents deeper union for the woman and more complete possession for the man. Physically, deep penetration feels good. So it makes sense to ensure that you can achieve the deepest penetration possible in the sex position you have chosen during a session of lovemaking.
In the face to face, man on top sexual position this will mean lifting the woman's pubic area to allow the man's penis the deepest access. The angle of the vagina can be changed to allow even deeper penetration if the woman raises her knees, either until the soles of her feet are flat on the bed, or deeper still if she raises them further so that she can hook her feet over the backs of the man's knees, or deepest if she lifts them right up to her breasts and puts her feet over the man's back. If she crosses her legs over the man's back and firmly presses each of his buttocks with her hands, both partners will enjoy a sensation of very deep penetration.
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