Why all the fuss about sex positions?

Do positions matter all that much? Can we not just stick with the tried and tested ones that work? Well, if one partner wants (a lot) more than ‘missionary’ and meanwhile the other is quite content with (usually) him on top, then you have issues – which, in all probability, range far beyond the bedroom door.

Anne (27): We’ve been going out now for two years and I really love Mike but he’s been trying my patience in bed because he keeps on wanting different sex positions all the time. I’m perfectly happy with the two or three we usually use and I don’t see what is wrong with them. I get turned on and he seems to enjoy it. So what can I do about his complaints?

Mike (24): Anne’s got a point, but I think she’s far too unadventurous in bed. She just won’t try exotic lovemaking positions. I have to coax her to try anything other than the straightforward missionary position and I’m getting really bored. Other girlfriends have been much more creative and have taken more initiative in bed. Perhaps we just don’t match sexually.

The Lovers’ Guide replies:

It sounds like you’re both in a state about this. The trouble is that, as with so many disagreements on bedroom issues, you both have good points to make. Anne, many women find that men who suggest changing positions and who put their partner under a lot of pressure can be a real nuisance. After all, we can see your point: once you find something that suits you, why switch to something else just for sake of it? Most women say that there are a few positions they enjoy most, even if they have tried others.

The missionary position is many women’s favourite. They find it very loving and romantic because they can look their man in the eyes. The fronts of their bodies touch along the whole length and he can kiss her breasts and her mouth. Also, many women say that because the man lies on top of them in this position, they feel safe and protected. For the woman who is unconsciously guilty or shy about sex, simply being ‘covered up’ by her man makes her feel less visible in the outside world when he is on top of her. This position also has an advantage in that it can symbolise the submissive element which she may enjoy as the man makes most of the movements.

Your concern, Mike, is that Anne’s unwillingness to try new positions is just more evidence of her sexual inhibition which annoys you. We don’t know which other lovemaking positions you enjoy, Anne, but might well wonder if they are all somewhat ‘passive’, leaving Mike to take the initiative all the time. It could well be that you don’t yet feel confident enough in your own sexuality really to let yourself go. The problem here is that, from your point of view, you are having a nice time and don’t want to rock the boat.

In any sexual relationship, if our lover has a problem, it becomes our problem too. We share the effects and between us have to compromise if we are to survive as a couple.

Where one person in a couple voices this complaint, there are usually battles raging outside the bedroom. Power struggles or, perhaps, financial issues, arguments over marriage and jealousy are just a few things that can create anger and resentment. These dangerous emotions then get acted out in sex, with one person punishing their partner. And, of course, the sex problem itself also adds fuel to the fire – and more disappointment and anger set in.

Why not try looking at your relationship generally and asking what might be making you both angry, frustrated or disappointed? Sorting this out could take the pressure off bedroom issues. It could be, for example, that Mike feels that you, Anne, always restrict him in his freedom to act as he wishes. This may include things as simple as the colour choice for a new bathroom, where you will go on holiday, and so on. If one partner feels bullied or controlled out of bed, then they might unconsciously try to punish their partner where they know it hurts.

There’s a real danger, Mike, in comparing Anne with other lovers you’ve had. Presumably, you love her because of her own unique qualities. Could it be that you really wanted a slightly inhibited partner? A man often needs much love and affection along with the sex and may try to prove that he is loved by testing his woman to the limits of her tolerance.

As you can see, this area is more complex than you may have thought. It may be that you need to seek professional help if you have trouble sorting it out, but we hope this gets you started.

Posted in Sex, Sex Q&A