69 sex position: The best variations to make the move even better
Experts reveal how to make the 69 sex position even better with these great variations, plus benefits and tips
The 69 sex position is perhaps one of the most famous out there. For both partners, it's an excellent way to explore each other's bodies and experience mutual stimulation and pleasure.
However, it's by no means the easiest. One of the reasons why the 69 sex position is so well known is that it's as difficult as it is delightful. For some people, getting into the move is a demanding task, with one person having to straddle and lean over the other. But as both partners are being stimulated at the same time, maintaining concentration can also be...challenging.
It is one of the best oral sex positions though, so it's worth a try. Here, to explain how to do the 69 sex position and all the fantastic variations you can enjoy, plus benefits and tips for getting it right, woman&home speaks to two certified sex experts. So whether you just want to know how to do this move or you're looking to expand your list of best sex positions more generally, we've got you covered.
What is the 69 sex position?
The 69 sex position is a popular one for couples looking to explore oral sex as it allows for simultaneous stimulation and mutual pleasure, says Jo Hemmings, a sex and relationship psychologist. "In this position, one partner lies on their back while the other partner lies on top of them, facing the opposite direction. Both partners can then perform oral sex on each other at the same time," she explains.
"The top partner goes on all fours in a slightly raised position, with their knees apart and on the floor, and their hands placed shoulder-width apart and also on the floor," adds Annabelle Knight, a certified sex and relationship expert specializing in couples counseling and psychosexual therapy. "The bottom partner has their head between their partner's legs and their own legs bent at the knees, hip-width apart. They can grab hold on the top partner's buttocks to help guide them."
There are no rules in the bedroom (apart from consent) and each couple will prefer to use the 69 sex position in different ways. It can be the main event or a great way to switch up the foreplay, it's entirely up to you, and any couple can do this move. It's actually one of the best lesbian sex positions as well.
That being said, the position doesn't come without its challenges. It's no butter churner sex position or helicopter sex position but those on the top can experience aching shoulders, elbows, and wrists, especially if they're resting on them for a while. Those on the bottom don't have a lot of control in this move, with their partner positioned over the top of them. So, if you like the idea of the 69 sex position but the classic move doesn't work for you, these are the alternatives recommended by Knight and Hemmings.
69 sex positions
1. Side by Side
This is perhaps the most common variation, where both partners lie down on their sides, rather than having one straddling the other. "One partner's head is at the other partner's feet. This allows for easier access to each other's genitals and can be a more comfortable position for some couples, especially where there may be a significant weight difference between partners or a disability that makes topping and tailing uncomfortable," explains Hemmings, who also works with Knect, a water-based lubricant brand.
2. Sunday brunch
For those with plenty of flexibility, there's Sunday brunch. "The giving partner kneels in a seated position, while the receiving partner stands with their feet on either side of the giving partner’s thighs, folds at the waist, and places their hands on either side of the giving partner’s ankles," explains Knight, who is also the resident sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney.
With permission, this can be a good one for exploring other types of stimulation and dynamics, like anal play or BDSM for beginners, given the restricted position of the person standing up.
3. Upside down
"In this variation, one partner lies on their back with their head hanging off the edge of the bed or couch, while the other partner straddles their face," says Hemmings.
Not only does it allow the bottom partner better access to the genitals as it's easier for the top partner to widen their legs as needed, it can be a more comfortable position for everyone. The top partner only needs to bend at the hips and rest their hands on their partner or either side, rather than stable themselves over their partner kneeling down. From here, it would also be relatively easy to go into the butterfly sex position, for example.
4. Bend and deliver
Want to spice things up in the bedroom and take things elsewhere? This variation could be the one for you. Take it into the living room or office, we suggest, anywhere you've got access to a good study chair.
"One partner lays with their back to the seat, legs spread, and head positioned downward. The other partner leans over their lover, placing their genitals close to the face and nestling their head in between their partner's legs," says Knight.
5. 69 with a pillow
The 69 is a great one for anyone in need of the best sex positions with lower back pain as it can be customized to suit your needs. One way to do this, says Hemmings, is to place a pillow or cushion under the bottom partner's hips.
"This can elevate the genitals, making it easier for the other partner to reach them," she says. "It allows for some movement to get maximum pleasure and it can also help to alleviate any discomfort or strain on the neck or back."
If you're looking to move onto more traditional penetrative sex, it's easy to move into the speed bump sex position from here. The top partner just needs to move around to come face-to-face with the bottom partner.
Benefits of the 69 sex position
1. Dual pleasure
Needless to say, the biggest advantage of the 69 sex position is the mutual stimulation. "It allows both partners to receive pleasure and stimulation at the same time, which can be highly erotic and exciting. It also allows for intimate physical and emotional connection between partners," says Hemmings.
2. Experiment with different techniques
Given how many variations of the position there are, the 69 is a great way for couples to improve their relationship and experiment with different techniques and sensations during oral sex, Hemmings says. “Partners can explore different angles, pressures, and movements to find what feels good for both parties."
3. Get to know each other's bodies
There's no getting away from it, the 69 sex position is one of the more intimate oral sex moves out there - with nowhere to hide for either partner. This makes it a great way to explore each other's bodies and preferences, says Knight.
In turn, she adds, "This can lead to a deeper understanding of each other's desires and needs."
4. No penetration
While oral sex can include some manual penetration if the partner receiving wants, it's not necessary to make the most of the move at all. Plus, research from Concordia University suggests that seven in 10 women need some form of clitoral stimulation to orgasm, so it's worth focusing on this here.
Because of the lack of penetration, adding lube to positions like the 69 "can be helpful for couples who experience vaginal dryness or other conditions that can make oral sex uncomfortable or painful. It can help to alleviate discomfort and make the experience more enjoyable for both partners," says Hemmings.
5. Easy to incorporate sex toys
Finally, if you like to include your best vibrator when you're having sex, the 69 is perfect for this. As Knight says, "Make full use of those free hands and reach for a stroker or vibrator. If pleasuring someone with a vagina, then you can use [one of these] or a similar sex toy to stimulate the clitoris with your tongue. Or, insert something like a Love Egg (one of the best remote vibrators) to give internal pleasure while using your tongue to stimulate the clitoris."
Tips for the 69 sex position
- Choose a comfortable surface: This isn't a sex position for the bedroom floor and it's definitely not one for shower sex. For comfort for all, choose a surface like a bed or couch that's going to be supportive and soft on the bottom partner's back and the top partner's hands, knees, and/or elbows.
- Use lube: Typically we don't think we'll need lube during oral sex as there's plenty of saliva in the mix, but it can really help, says Hemmings. "Lubricant can be a useful addition to the 69 sex position because it can help to reduce discomfort during oral sex. Saliva is a natural lubricant that can be effective for some people, but it may not always be slippery enough, especially for longer or more intense sessions." For suggestions, take a look at our guide on the best lubes to buy this year.
- Incorporate anal play: "Anal play can add another layer of fun to this predominantly oral-focused sex position," says Knight. "Using toys to stimulate the anus or P-spot can make these positions seem even more adventurous, particularly for couples who are already established with anal play. Just remember to use plenty of water-based anal lubricant and enjoy."
- Take a break: It can be tough for both partners to maintain concentration during the 69 sex position so don't feel like you need to stick with it once you start. Take a break, check in with your partner to see how they're feeling, and go back to it or try something different.
A digital health journalist with over five years experience writing and editing for UK publications, Grace has covered the world of health and wellbeing extensively for Cosmopolitan, The i Paper and more.
She started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness. Everything from the best protein powder to sleep technology, the latest health trend to nutrition essentials, Grace has a huge spectrum of interests in the wellness sphere. Having reported on the coronavirus pandemic since the very first swab, she now also counts public health among them.
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