How to master coital alignment technique - the sex position everyone is talking about

A sex expert has explained to us what coital alignment technique is and how to do it safely

Man and woman's hands together on white bed sheets, to illustrate the coital alignment technique
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The coital alignment technique was first coined in 1988 by sex researcher and psychotherapist Edward Eichel, but last year, it found new fame on Netflix's hit show Sex/Life. 

The raunchy lockdown drama had many fans googling the term and in fact, searches for the position were up 100% worldwide just 24 hours after it came to the streaming service. While amid the complicated love triangle, the main character enjoys this female-pleasure-orientated position with her husband and flashes back to an experience with her ex-boyfriend in the show. 

The coital alignment technique is not just one of the sexual fantasies confined to our imaginations and Netflix shows though, it's actually one of the best sex positions out there to try with a partner, or on your own. This is what a sex expert has to say about it, as well as how to try the position for yourself. 

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What is the coital alignment technique?

The coital alignment technique (CAT) is a position where the clitoris is aligned with the penis or vibrator in a position that prioritizes female pleasure. It's worth noting that the technique traditionally requires penetrative penis-in-vagina sex, that's not to say the position won't work with one of the best vibrators, strap-ons, or another sex toy if that's your preference. 

Isabelle Uren, a sex expert from Bed Bible (opens in new tab), explains, "The position was used in a research study associated with the New York City Department of Health (opens in new tab) to help people with vulvas achieve more orgasms and increase the rate of simultaneous orgasms, by increasing clitoral stimulation during sex. 

"It's no secret that the clitoris holds the key to orgasm for many people with vulvas, and while many sex toys put the clitoris in the spotlight, most penetrative sex positions focus on internal stimulation," she says. Female masturbation with toys naturally focuses on female pleasure but there's no reason why your orgasm shouldn't be prioritized with a partner, too. 

This is where CAT comes in. Rather than stimulating inside the vulva, the CAT focuses purely on clitoral stimulation with a rocking motion for more intense pleasure. 

How do you do the coital alignment technique? 

  • Get into the missionary position, but have your partner (or vibrator) positioned a little higher than usual. If you're trying the position out with a partner, have their chest match up to your shoulders. 
  • Once comfortable, your partner can rest their weight on you - this will increase the closeness and enable more friction. 
  • The top partner now enters the bottom, but just the tip of the penis or sex toy. The shaft should rest against the vulva, allowing for some vaginal penetration along with clitoral stimulation.
  • Rather than thrusting in and out, ask your partner to grind their pelvis upwards in a rocking motion (if using a vibrator, follow the same action with your toy).
  • Keep going, enjoy the sensation of rocking against your clitoris and see where the position takes you.  

Two plastic models demonstrating the correct position for the coital alignment technique

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"The good news is if you know the missionary position, you are halfway there," Isabelle explains. The clitoral alignment technique requires a slight gear change from missionary, with hopefully mid-blowing results. It's a great one to try for those who are wondering how to orgasm from missionary if it doesn't come so easily. "The partner receiving the clitoral stimulation lies on their back, and the penetrating partner takes the on-top position, in between their partner's legs.

"Rather than entering their partner fully, the penetrating partner moves their hips further up their partner's body. The exact position will vary from person to person, but, most importantly, the penis or dildo should point downwards, with the head entering the vagina and the lower part of the shaft resting on top of the receiving partner's clitoris. 

"The key to unlocking the orgasmic potential of this position is the grinding or rocking action. Adding in one of the best lubes in this position is an absolute must to help the shaft slide smoothly over the clitoris."

What makes the coital alignment technique so pleasurable?

The CAT is so popular thanks to its hands-free nature, as our expert explains. "Clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex often requires the use of a hand, or sex toy, of your choice. While that is a fantastic way to get the stimulation you want, sometimes you want to be in the moment, with your hands-free to roam, and without anything between you or your partner. This is where the coital alignment technique shines. 

"The CAT allows for stimulation of both the vagina and the upper area of the vulva, including the clitoral glans, clitoral hood, and labia minora, all of which are dense with excitable nerve endings. The closeness and slower pace also enhance the intimacy of the moment, which can be arousing for both partners."

How to master the clitoral alignment technique, according to a sex expert 

It can take a bit of practice to find the right angle and get the rocking motion down, but here are some extra tips that can help:

  • Don't dive straight in. This is where, in the rabbit vibrators vs clitoral stimulators debate, clitoral stimulators come into their own. Make sure you are aroused by starting with some stimulation - the excitement will encourage blood flow, enlarge your clitoris, and enhance the sensations
  • If you can't get the right angle, try using a pillow under the receiving partner's hips to tilt their pubic bone upwards slightly and give better access to their clitoris
  • Communicate honestly with your partner - tell them what feels good and what doesn't
  • Like in tantric sex, focus on enjoying the moment and sensations, and don't over-focus on having an orgasm. Yes, orgasms are great but so are all the sensations along the way. 

It's also important to remember that not all positions work for everyone, and if this doesn't work for you, don't worry - there are plenty of other great positions to explore. 

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.