How to make missionary sex better: 11 expert tips to spice up the classic position

Learn how to make missionary sex better with tips from a sexologist and sex therapist

Man and woman kissing in bed with fairy lights in the background after learning how to make missionary sex better
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You'd understandably want to know how to make missionary sex better if you're a fan of the classic sex positions. While this one's a favorite for many people thanks to its easy intimate nature, it's also the one that most people immediately turn to in the bedroom. 

This could make sex a little...routine? That's not a word that anyone wants to use to describe their love life but it might be the one you're drawn to if you and your partner find yourself falling into the same habits over and over again in the bedroom. 

There's nothing wrong with missionary itself though - it's all about how you do it. So, with the help of a sexologist and sex therapist, we unpack everything you need to know about this pick of the best sex positions and how to improve it to spice up your relationship for good. 

How to make missionary sex better

1. Start with non-sexual foreplay

Foreplay is typically seen as any kind of sexual activity that precedes a 'main event'.  However, it doesn't always have to be sexual, and taking it back to the non-physical intimacy of sex can be the most undervalued yet important part of proper arousal. 

If you're on a journey to learn how to have better sex, then you've probably come across the idea of tantric sex before. That's where this tip from Madalaine Munro (opens in new tab), certified sexologist, somatic sexology expert, and psychosexual therapist, traditionally comes from.

"In foreplay, sit in front of each other and drop into breathing together while looking into each other’s eyes with a soft gaze. You can do this with your hands on each others’ hearts or while cuddling. Find a position that feels comfortable so that you can be present without distraction," she explains. 

Doing this can truly help you unlock missionary sex's true potential. It can help you discover how to make missionary sex better for you personally and help you learn how to be intimate without sex, she says, as a concept called self-other merging takes place. This is the ability to distinguish between our own actions, perceptions, sensations, and emotions, and those of the people around us, which she says, "can create connection and a feeling of oneness between you and another." 

2. Gaze into each other's eyes

From here, you can move into the missionary position and expect to feel much more intimate with your partner, Munro says. "Missionary is a beautiful opportunity to incorporate the tantric practice of eye gazing. During sex, allow this eye contact to be present, feeling the connection between you both that is much deeper than just the physical connection."

Two women kissing on bed at home after learning how to make missionary sex better

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Don't forget to kiss

"Making out, kissing on the neck, and nipple play are all fair game during missionary sex and they can be a lot of fun," says couples counselor and certified sex therapist, Lyndsey Murray (opens in new tab). What's more, there's even research from Arizona State University (opens in new tab) to show that kissing helps to reduce our stress hormone levels, and further studies by Rutgers University (opens in new tab) suggest that kissing triggers the release of happy hormones serotonin and dopamine to such a level that it's comparable to the high of some recreational drugs. Now, imagine that while you're also having sex - an easy winner for anyone looking to learn how to make missionary sex better. 

"Focus on the entire body for a truly pleasurable experience," the therapist suggests.

4. Play with angles during missionary sex

Shifting even just slightly during missionary sex can entirely change the feel of the position, explains Murray. "If you are the partner on top during missionary, you can either be laying directly on top of your partner or you can lean back onto your knees to give deeper penetration," she says. 

"If you are the partner on the bottom, putting a pillow beneath your lower back or lifting one or both legs up gives a different angle and feeling during missionary sex." 

There are also so many different missionary sex positions to try - like the closed missionary sex position, the eagle, and the butterfly sex position - all of which offer new and exciting ways to spice up missionary sex.

5. Explore the erogenous zones

Missionary doesn't give anyone much chance to pay proper attention to the other areas of the body as you're often so close to each other and distracted by what's going on. But making a conscious effort to explore other areas during sex can dramatically improve the experience for everyone and offer a new way to make missionary sex better, Munro explains. 

"With both bodies being so close together, it actually does give you the chance to explore all of your partner’s body," she explains. "Perhaps make love to all the areas you want to give attention to with your hands or mouth. Ask yourself where else would you like to explore that you haven’t. There are some erogenous zones which are particularly sensitive such as the neck, nipples, side of the body, or in between the legs." 

Woman lying on top of man in bed together

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Play with speed and intensity

"This position can create a lovemaking experience as you ebb and glow with different intensities and elongate the experience of sex," says Munro. Missionary sex isn't quite one of the best lazy sex positions, thanks to movements the top partner has to make, but it's hardly one of the most athletic. So, use this time and the stability provided by the classic pose to explore different speeds and intensities. 

"As it is more comfortable for the bodies, you can focus on playing with different speeds and how these feel, without as much time pressure as possible with more taxing positions," she says. "The benefits of having sex in this way is that the skills of communicating about your needs and wants in the bedroom will create more trust, and honesty around what you need outside the bedroom." 

7. Incorporate a sex toy

The idea that using a sex toy in the bedroom is somehow a 'failure' on part of either partner is one of the biggest modern misconceptions around sex and pleasure. They should be considered an accessory, another way to improve and alter the experience, and ultimately, a useful tool for anyone looking to learn how to make missionary sex better. 

So, why not bring one into the missionary sex position? "Incorporate your best vibrator or your hands for clitoral stimulation. You can also use a vibrator or your hands on other parts of your partner's body as well and explore their other erogenous zones with the toy," says Murray.

As you'll know, there's not a whole lot of extra space between yourself and your partner in this one, so it may be better utilized during foreplay. If you're pretty advanced in the world of best sex toys, you could also try an anal sex toy during missionary sex. 

A selection of sex toys in purple, pink and white colors, one way to make missionary sex better

(Image credit: Getty Images)

8. Include some words of affirmation

If your partner's top love language is words of affirmation, this is a surefire way to improve their enjoyment of missionary sex - and yours too, as you can see their reaction to your words. 

"Add in some loving words while touching the other parts of your partner's body, allowing this to be an immersive experience of all that you cherish about the other person," suggests Munro. "It's also in this way that missionary sex becomes more of a tantric experience as it can become an act of adoration and devotion to the other person."

9. Play around with power play

Power play doesn't have to mean BDSM for beginners, although it certainly can if you want. It's all about playing around with the dynamics of your relationship and, typically, each partner falls into two categories: the dominant and the submissive. 

Share your fantasies and give your partner the space to share theirs with you. It might mean a bit of safe bondage for beginners, some more demanding foreplay, or something a little more intense. As long as everyone's being honest and consent stays center stage, you can't go too far wrong.

While many people will naturally conclude who would take which role, especially in heterosexual sex, don't be confined by this. If you are the bottom partner in the missionary sex position, experiment with building your confidence around asserting dominance in the bedroom if it's not something you usually do. 

10. Be honest

Sex is one of the most intimate things one person can do with another but still, many of us aren't open to talking with our partners about what does and doesn't work for us in the bedroom.

But this needs to change if you want to learn how to make missionary sex better, Murray says. "Don’t shy away from direct communication, even in the middle of sex. When you give feedback, it doesn’t have to come across as negative. Even if a position or angle isn’t working for you, suggest something else for your partner to try. If it's positive, it can be sexy to let your partner know that you love what they are doing."

11. Show your partner what you like

While it might seem a little unnerving at first if you haven't done it before, consider taking the time in missionary to truly address what's working for you in the bedroom and what isn't by physically showing your partner what you want, says sexologist Munro. It could be the best thing you to do to learn how to make missionary sex better.

"Missionary is a low-energy position so it is an opportunity to cultivate deeper intimacy and connection through varying your pace and intensity. You can be much more present with each other and with the pleasure you are feeling in your own body," she says. "To foster a deeper connection with your partner, use this position to communicate what you want and need from your partner and provide feedback about what is working." 

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.