Sex Position Facts
Sex Position Facts

32 Steamy Facts about Sex Positions

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 17, 2017Updated August 17, 2017
  • Speculum al foderi is a 15th century text devoted to sexual positions. Sometimes translated as “The Mirror of Coitus” or literally “a mirror for fuckers,” it describes the art of various sexual positions.[8]
  • While missionary position is the most popular position in the United States, it is not popular worldwide.[6]
  • The Latin name for “doggy style” position is coitus more ferarum, which translates to “sexual intercourse in the manner of wild beasts.” In the Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian text, it is known as the “cow position.”[5][9]
  • Due to the lack of eye contact in the “doggy style” sexual position, some researchers believe that humans biologically evolved out of this sex position in search of another position that promoted intimacy, which in turn fostered stable, long-term relationships.[7]
  • Random Sex Position Fact
    The title page of a 1644 edition of Ars Amatoria
  • In the Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love), ancient Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-AD 17/18) assigns sexual positions to female figure types just as Aristotle assigned rhetorical figures for different types of persuasive arguments.[9]
  • The missionary position is also called “the matrimonial,” “the Mama-Papa position,” “the English-American position,” and “the male superior position.”[7]
  • Sex positions in which the woman is on her back may be unsafe during later stages of pregnancy. Specifically, a woman should avoid laying on her back after the 4th month of pregnancy because the weight of the growing uterus can put pressure on major blood vessels.[7]
  • Astyanassa, Helen of Troy’s maid, wrote an early sexual manual titled On the Positions for Sexual Intercourse. She influenced two other women Greek erotic writers, such as Philaenis and Elephantis.[9]
  • In Othello Act 1, scene 1, William Shakespeare euphemistically nicknamed the missionary position as “the beast with two backs.”[6]
  • Men who suffer from premature ejaculation find that the woman-on-top position helps their problem. For some men, woman on top reduces penile sensitivity and anxiety, which helps them delay climax.[1]
  • The term “missionary position” is believed to have derived from Christian missionaries in the South Pacific or Africa. According to the missionaries, this was the “proper” sexual position because in the Bible, man is said to have superior position to women in all things, including sex.[6]
  • Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.

    - Oscar Wilde

  • One of the most difficult sexual positions is the standing position. It often takes great flexibility and balance to enjoy.[3]
  • During the middle ages, anal and oral sex and sex positions were considered against nature because neither could possibly lead to procreation, which according to many purists, was the only purpose of sex.[5]
  • Side-by-side positions are one of the most relaxed positions and are ideal for older or sleepy couples, during pregnancy, or after an illness or surgery.[1]
  • Some researchers believe that the most ideal position for conception is man on top, such as the missionary position. This position allows for deeper penetration so that the sperm can be deposited at the neck of the womb.[7]
  • Women who are unable to have an orgasm in the missionary position reported a 56% increase in orgasm frequency in “The Cat” technique (Coital alignment Technique). The CAT is like the missionary except the man’s body is up farther (chest to shoulder) and to one side.[3]
  • Some of the more interesting names for sexual positions include Scissors, the Crab, the Snake, the Rabbit, the Wheelbarrow, the Willow Tree, the Groundhog, and the Butterfly.[7]
  • Sex with a woman on top is the most dangerous position for men. Nearly half of all penile injuries occur when the woman assumed this position. Half of the study’s participants reported to have actually heard a cracking noise at the time of the injury.[3]
  • Random Sex Position Fact
    The "cowgirl" position is responsible for half of all penile fractures

  • Sexual positions beyond missionary are technically illegal in Washington, D.C.[2]
  • Women consistently rank these three positions as their least favorite: 1) doggy style, 2) reverse cowgirl, and 3) 69. Women report that doggy style is often painful, reverse cowgirl is too awkward, and 69 is too distracting to really enjoy themselves.[3]
  • The Kama Sutra, written between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, contains descriptions of 64 sexual positions, known as the 64 Atrs. Its author, Vatsyayana, believed that there were 8 ways of making love, multiplied by 8 positions within each of those, for a total of 64. It describes making love as a “divine union.”[9]
  • British scientist and physician Alex Comfort (1920-2000) wrote The Joy of Sex in 1972, which categorizes over 600 sex positions. The book was an internationally bestseller, and its popularity bestowed upon him the nickname “Dr. Sex.”[7]
  • American cultural critic and folklorist Gershon Legman (1917-1999) categorized over 3,000 sexual positions. He died at the age of 65 after “excessive sexual effort."[7]
  • While having sex in the water might allow to creative sex positions, seawater, the pool, or a Jacuzzi is full of all kinds of bacteria that can lead to a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection, or worse.[4]
  • Weird Sex Position Facts
    Public bodies of water are generally pretty dirty

  • During the Middle Ages, doggy style, or sex a tergo (from the rear) was the most sinful position (except for anal intercourse). It was considered “beastly” because it confused the boundaries between human and animal.[9]
  • In the Middle Ages, punishment for “deviant” sexual positions could be harsh. For example, the punishment for a woman-on-top position was three years’ penance. People feared that such a position reversed the natural order of the “superior” male and “inferior” female.[9]
  • Albertus Magnus (1200-1280) named five sexual positions and ranked them from most acceptable to least: 1) missionary, 2) side-by-side, 3) sitting, 4) standing, and 5) a tergo (from behind). He agreed with Church that the missionary position was the only completely “natural” position, but was more progressive in his belief that other positions may be suitable for the obese or ill.[9]
  • In the Middle Ages, some people believed that children who were conceived in “unnatural” sex positions might experience birth defects.[9]
  • History of Sex Position Fact
    For someone who thought sex was evil, he was definitely obsessed with it
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) expanded the definition of sodomy to include all sexual acts and positions other than vaginal intercourse. Sodomy was punishable by death, which could involve mutilation, burning at the stake, or hanging.[9]
  • The missionary position is the most common position used for couples having sex for the first time because it is typically viewed as “non-threatening and loving.”[7]
  • The sexual position known as sixty-nine or 69 is so named because sex partners are mutually inverted, similar to the numbers 6 and 9. In the Kuma Sutra, this position is known as “the congress of crows.”[9]
  • Dr. David Reurben’s book Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) in 1960 was one of the first modern mainstream sexual manuals that discussion various sexual positions and helped appropriate the Kama Sutra into Western psychology.[1]
References
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