What is the closed missionary sex position? Plus, all the benefits of this twist on the classic move

The closed missionary sex position livens up the classic move, a health specialist and sexpert explains why

Couple in bed kissing and smiling against white brick painted wall to illustrate the closed missionary sex position
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The closed missionary sex position is the new move to try for those who love classic missionary sex but need a little more clitoral stimulation to orgasm. It works in almost the same way, with one twist. 

The position has made it onto most people's rosters, regardless of sexual orientation and whether they're having sex with a partner or using a vibrator. However, famously, the position is all about penetration and physical intimacy rather than clitoral stimulation, which many women need to have an orgasm. 

This is one of the best ways to make missionary sex better, so we won't be surprised if the closed missionary sex position makes it onto your list of the best sex positions to try over and over again. Here, a women's health specialist and sexpert tells woman&home everything you need to know about the move and how to get the most benefit from it. 

What is the closed missionary sex position?

Closed missionary is very similar to the regular missionary position with one small change: the bottom partner's legs are as close together as possible during penetration. This allows for more clitoral stimulation, says Emma James (opens in new tab), a clinical specialist in women's health and sexual wellness. "When legs are closed together, there is less vaginal penetration first and more clitoral stimulation. As the clitoris has significantly more nerve endings than the wall of the vagina, the more external stimulation first increases pleasure."

This makes it perfect for those who love the closeness and intimacy of missionary but want to take it up a notch. Similar to the speed bump sex position but in reverse, to do the closed missionary sex position, the bottom partner should lie on their back and the top partner lies on top of them, using their arms to bear their weight. Once inside, the top partner should straddle the legs of the bottom partner while they squeeze their legs together as tightly as is comfortable.

Illustration of the closed missionary sex position

(Image credit: H.Maddison)

If you're a fan of this but prefer more G-spot stimulation, James, who is the founder of The Wellness Hub (opens in new tab) and works alongside leading sexual wellness and femtech brand Smile Makers (opens in new tab), suggests shifting the position slightly so that the bottom partner is hugging their knees into their chest. "This allows for deeper penetration and more chance of hitting your G-spot," she says. "Anatomically, your G-spot is more on the anterior aspect of your vaginal wall so it's less about deep penetration and more about slow and gentle penetration."

What are the benefits of the closed missionary sex position?

1. There's dual stimulation

According to Indiana University (opens in new tab), seven in 10 women appreciate clitoral stimulation during sex, and of those seven, three need it to have an orgasm during sex. If that's also your experience, the closed missionary position has a huge advantage as the narrower entry allows for more friction on the clitoris alongside the internal stimulation.

2. Allows for deep connection with your partner

For some people, sex is all about getting closer to their partner. It's why the traditional missionary position is a classic to begin with, as it allows for face-to-face intimacy. The closed missionary position also enables partners to lay face-to-face, James says, helping to level up that intimacy while allowing for more physical stimulation around the clitoris. 

"It allows you to connect with your partner with deep eye contact, caressing, and kissing," she explains. "It's these actions that release serotonin, reduce pain and muscle spasm, and improve the overall experience."

3. The position can help strengthen your pelvic floor

Pelvic floor muscles are those around your uterus and bladder that help to hold in your urine. They gradually relax as we get older and through stressors like childbirth, which can lead to issues like stress incontinence and fewer vaginal sensations. While the best way to strengthen your pelvic floor will be through kegel exercises, orgasms can certainly help too.

"We all know that the best way to strengthen your pelvic floor is through regular vaginal orgasms," James says, "So getting the closed missionary position to work for both of you has great benefits for both parties."

How to make the closed missionary sex position even better

Making small adjustments to the closed missionary sex position can make a huge difference to your pleasure, says James. "My advice to increase pleasure and decrease back pain is to place a small pillow under your buttocks as this changes the position of your pelvic girdle to allow for greater sensations."

You'll also want to use plenty of the best lube when trying out this position as the tighter feeling can be uncomfortable if there's not enough lubrication to move things along. And as with all sex positions, don't be afraid if it goes wrong the first time. "The more you laugh, the more you relax, and the more you enjoy the experience," she says. 

Grace Walsh
Health Editor

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.