What is the spooning sex position? Plus, how to do it and the best variations to try

Sexologist reveals how to make the spooning sex position even better with tips, benefits, and new variations to try

Couple lying in bed together asleep, close and intimate, representing an end to the spooning sex position
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The spooning sex position is a famous twist on the classic cuddle. Partners get close to each other, with one behind the other, in this simple move designed to offer plenty of benefits with minimum effort required. 

We all know that missionary is a great one for keeping close to your partner. There's lots of face-to-face intimacy and opportunity for kissing. But if you're looking for a great combination of simplicity, intimacy, and stimulating new angles, the spoon could be a perfect addition to your list of best sex positions.

Better access to erogenous zones, closeness, and orgasms - what's not to love? Here, a clinical sexologist reveals all you need to know about the move and its numerous benefits. Plus, the exciting variations to try if you're looking to learn how to spice things up in the bedroom.

What is the spooning sex position?

The spooning sex position is much like the classic cuddling move, with a twist. "It's done often in a side-lying position where one person penetrates the other from behind," explains clinical sexologist Ness Cooper. "The person in front pushes their buttocks into the groin area of the person behind, which can allow for penetration."

It's a simple sex position in theory, similar to the spork sex position, and one of the best lazy sex positions even. However, to do the spooning sex position most effectively, the partner in the penetrative position needs to be slightly taller than the receiving partner. Otherwise, there could be alignment issues and difficulties with making the most of this move. 

Illustration of the spooning sex position

(Image credit: H.Maddison)

The spoon is traditionally thought of as a penetrative position, done lying down. However, "there are variations that can be done standing up," says Cooper, who is also an expert at Je Joue. The essence of the spoon is intimacy and closeness, with the penetrating partner's chest resting or close to the receiving partner's back in most cases. Provided you've got this, you're probably doing the spoon just right. 

Benefits of the spooning sex position

1. The spooning sex position encourages intimacy

Those who love to be close to their partners during sex will find the spooning sex position one of their favorites. You can't get much closer than this. 

"The spooning sex position allows for more skin-on-skin contact than some other sex positions," says Cooper. "This can provide greater warmth, comforting pressure from your partner's form, and more positive hormones like oxytocin and dopamine to be released. It can allow for a lot of closeness." 

2. It feels amazing for both partners

Even some penetrative sex positions can feel better for one person more than the other, depending on the angle. While everyone is different, the spoon tends to be one that feels amazing for both partners. 

The partner behind has access to their partner's nipples, breasts, and buttocks. For the partner in front, Cooper explains, this angle "can help focus stimulation on the G-spot during penile to vaginal intercourse. It can also allow for more control over penetration depth." 

3. More accessible than many other sex positions

If you have any accessibility issues with other sex positions, you may find that spooning is the one for you. For example, it's often one of the best sex positions for lower back pain thanks to the support offered by the partner at the back and the bed beneath. 

Otherwise, Cooper says, "It's great for those who have heart rate or blood pressure issues as it doesn't alter these rapidly like some other positions, such as upright [moves]. It can be more accessible during certain stages of pregnancy and side-lying positions can be great for people who have hip issues, particularly as they can add a pillow between their knees, adding more support and comfort." 

Equally if you're limited by your environment, spooning could be the one to go for. "This sex position can feel more compact and it doesn't need a lot of movement to be effective, meaning you can perform it in places where there's limited room, such as on the couch."

4. The spooning sex position allows access to other erogenous zones

Erogenous zones such as the inner thighs, neck, nipples, and collar bones are often disregarded areas during sex. The spoon makes the most of them, the sexologist says, as it "gives the person behind the opportunity to explore stimulating their partner's nipples, breasts, [and other areas]."

If the 'little spoon' needs a little extra help from one of the best sex toys, the openness of this position makes that easy. "It can allow for easy access clitoral teasing, where either partner can use a bullet vibrator or any shape on the person in front," she says. 

How to make the spooning sex position better

The common complaint with spooning is a numb arm for the person lying behind, aka the 'big spoon'. Cooper has a solution for that: "If a partner finds that spooning creates numb and tingly arms on the side they're resting on, exploring the sex position with various pillows may help prevent this from happening."

As noted, using sex toys is a great way to level up the spoon for the receiving partner. However, using a bullet vibe may be a little difficult depending on how far the person behind has to reach around and their dexterity, since bullets are only small. One of the best wand vibrators could be a better option. Complete with a longer handle and a wide, bulbous head, they offer a little more reach. 

Variations of the spooning sex position to try

1. The Reverse Scoop

Illustration of man and woman in the reverse scoop sex position

(Image credit: H.Maddison)

Love the idea of spooning but want even more intimacy? I know, we didn't think it was possible either. But turning around and having both partners face each other dials up the face-to-face intimacy to bring an exciting new dynamic to the move. This position is otherwise known as the reverse scoop sex position

It's also easier to control the penetration in this way, offers Cooper. "Placing a leg over the partner in front's body can help draw them into you more and allow for deeper penetration and better thrusting control," she says. 

2. Sideways 69

Illustration of the sideways 69 spooning position

(Image credit: H. Maddison)

Alternatively, you can use elements of the spooning sex position in oral sex. Instead of being a conventional penetrative position, this is one of the best oral sex positions and it brings a whole new angle to classic spooning. 

Doing the 69 sex position this way allows couples to relax alongside each other, rather than having one on top of the other. Here, partners lie top to tail facing each other with their legs open, using their mouths to stimulate. 

3. Standing spoon

Standing spooning position illustration

(Image credit: H. Maddison)

You may not think of the spoon as one of the top standing sex positions but it's a winner, promises Cooper. To make it work, the penetrating partner stands behind the receiving and leans down to bring their chest to the partner's back, creating the standing spoon. The receiving partner can support themselves against a firm wall or panel. 

"Spooning is a popular standing position when used in the shower," she adds. If you're planning to do so, be sure to use lubricant but not too much otherwise you risk slipping on it in the heat of the moment. 

Grace Walsh
Health Editor

A digital health journalist with over six years of 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 as well. Everything from the best protein powder to dating apps, 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.