He described the American preference for the position and called it the English-American position. Discussing Malinowski's The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia, Kinsey wrote, "It will be recalled that Malinowski records the nearly universal use of a totally different position among the Trobrianders In Sexual Behaviors, Kinsey wrote that the Trobrianders mocked face-to-face man-on-top woman-below intercourse, but does not give context.
He mentioned that the position was learned from "white traders, planters, or officials", but does not discuss missionaries. Kinsey also recalled that the medieval Catholic Church taught the position, and upon seeing the natives mocking it, assumed that missionaries had taught it to them. Finally, Malinowski wrote that he saw an engaged Trobriand couple holding hands and leaning against each other, which the natives described as misinari si bubunela—the missionary fashion.
Upon accidentally combining these similar facts, Kinsey invented a new phrase despite believing that he was reporting an old one. Writers began using the expression for sexual intercourse in the late s, and as Alex Comfort 's bestseller The Joy of Sex and the Oxford English Dictionary spread the term missionary position, it gradually replaced older names. Missionarsstellung German , postura del misionero Spanish , missionarishouding Dutch and position du missionaire French.
Variations in the positions may vary the angle and depth of penile penetration. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message In the missionary position, a woman lies on her back on a bed or other surface with her legs comfortably spread with the soles of the feet resting.
The penetrating partner may approach the woman on his knees between her spread legs; and either uses his arms to hold himself up, or lets his weight rest on her. When the woman's vagina is sufficiently lubricated, which may involve fingering her vulva or clitoris in particular, the man will level his erect penis with her vagina for penetration , and may use fingers to open the woman's labia and guide the penis in.
With the penis inside the woman's vagina, the man can control the force, depth, pace, and rhythm of thrusts , and can also control to some extent the female partner's movements.
Subject to the man's weight and position, the woman may have some control by pushing her feet and legs against the mattress and by side movements in her pelvis as well as by clutching onto and moving with her partner. The man may straddle the woman, taking the woman's legs between his. This restricts and further controls the woman's movements, and the man can increase the tightness on the penis by pressing the woman's thighs together.
However, this increases vaginal friction and makes thrusting more difficult. During sexual intercourse, most women experience involuntary vaginal contractions. After a man has achieved orgasm, he will normally collapse onto the woman and will normally not be capable of further thrusting. Some men try to control their orgasm until their female partner also orgasms, but this is not always achieved. At times, a woman can achieve orgasm after the man has ceased thrusting by contracting her vaginal muscles and with pelvic movements, or the couple may change to another position that enables the woman to continue thrusting until she has reached orgasm, such as a woman on top position.
During sexual intercourse in the missionary position, the penis is in preferential contact with the anterior wall of the vagina and the tip of the penis reaches the anterior fornix , while in the rear-entry position it is in preferential contact with the posterior wall of the vagina and probably reaches the posterior fornix.
A woman can adjust the position of her legs for comfort, variety and to control the angle and depth of penetration. Generally, the higher a woman's legs, the deeper is the penetration. When the legs are raised in any way, the woman has less control of the rhythm of thrusts. Also, raising the legs raises the woman's pelvis, reduces the angle of penetration, and lowers the level of clitoral stimulation.
A woman's legs can remain flat or raised toward her chest, or wrapped around the penetrating partner at various heights: She may also hold them with her hands or cross her arms around them at the knees. Some are flexible enough to cross the legs behind their heads. Alternatively, her partner may hold her legs up. The laying by the partner on raised legs puts excessive pressure on the woman's back.
A pillow or sex pillow especially a firm one can be used,  to alter the depth and angle of penetration. A wedge- or ramp-shaped pillow can relieve pressure on the top person's hands and arms. Raising the clitoris generally allows easier access to it in this position. Using a pillow can also help the woman arch her back and avoid backache. This shortens the distance between the vagina and cervix , and may apply more friction to the area termed the G-Spot.
This variant is sometimes called the anvil. When the legs are held mid-level in this way, the penis can achieve significant depth while attempting to stimulate the G-Spot and achieving more friction on the top of its shaft.
The female lies on her back and moves her legs behind her head, with the groin area being completely exposed. The male partner penetrates the vagina from the top. This is a deep penetrating position and may not be suitable for men with larger than average penis size.
However, in most cases, the female will not be flexible enough to achieve this position fully, and will need to stop well before the legs are behind the head. If that is the case, the male partner can help hold the legs in a comfortable position and continue on with intercourse. The woman can move her body freely. She can dangle her legs over the edge or raise them to any height or manner mentioned above.
The woman can rest her legs on the man or he can hold them or separate them. The woman has a greater ability to move her pelvis and to arch her back, and the man can raise, support or restrict the movement of her pelvis. The woman is not weighed down by the man's weight.
This position, sometimes called the butterfly position, adds variety to the angle and depth of penetration and generally enables the man to withdraw and then fully thrust the penis, with faster and more forceful thrusts.
The downside of this position is that the angle of penetration results in reduced clitoral stimulation , and the woman may need direct clitoral fingering , either by herself or by the man, to achieve orgasm.
Alternatively, the woman may either arch her back or raise her torso onto her elbows or arms to reduce the angle and enhance clitoral stimulation. Also, prior to and after the man's orgasm, the man may need to lie down on the woman.
Coital alignment technique In the riding high missionary variant, the man enters the woman and then shifts his body up and forward toward her head. He then rocks back and forth, stimulating her clitoris with his pelvic bone, or base of his penis. This results in more consistent clitoral stimulation at the cost of a man's deep thrusting; accordingly, some men prefer to use it during only part of sex. The penetrating partner positions himself between the receiver's legs and aligns his penis with the anus for anal penetration.
Instead of penetration, an active partner may perform anilingus on the partner with raised legs. Tribadism between women may be performed in the missionary position. Perceived advantages and disadvantages[ edit ] Psychological[ edit ] There are many appealing psychological aspects of the missionary position. It is often regarded as a romantic position because the two partners face each other and may maintain eye contact; there is potentially a greater amount of skin-to-skin contact than in any other position; and the couple can hold each other in their arms, which can easily segue into cuddling when sex is over[ citation needed ].
Partners may engage in other intimate contact, such as kissing, or guiding each other's hips with their hands. Once the man is in place, he is very difficult to dislodge without his co-operation.
With the man's weight on the woman, especially on her pelvis, the man has control of the rhythm and depth of his thrusts, in the most sexually sensitive part of her body. Thomas Stuttaford notes that it may be more comfortable to do so: Muscles of the pelvic floor are more relaxed if, initially, the missionary position is chosen and a couple of pillows are arranged under the woman's bottom so her hips are tilted upwards.
The man can use force and gravity to help himself in,  and the position allows the woman to relax her vaginal muscles and help her partner guide his penis gently in with her hand. The images illustrate the very natural fit of the male and female genitals in [the missionary] position.
The penis has the shape of a boomerang—one third of its length consists of the root of the penis—and the vaginal walls wrap snugly around it. If the woman holds on to her legs behind her knees and draws her thighs right back, sperm can be deposited deep in the vagina—at the neck of the womb.
This provided the best chance of conception occurring. For example, a woman should avoid lying flat on her back after the fourth month of pregnancy, because the weight of the growing uterus puts pressure on major blood vessels. And the missionary position is exactly that kind of exercise, at least if the activity lasts more than a few fleeting moments. In addition to the standard methods for treating premature ejaculation , Zachary Veilleux notes that this problem can be overcome by workarounds such as changing positions frequently which studies have shown delays male orgasm by a factor of , using lubrication to reduce friction friction stimulates the male but is not as important in female orgasm , or switching to cunnilingus for a while when close to ejaculation, and then switching back when ejaculation is no longer imminent.
You have to add your own flavor. According to Gina Ogden, "the cultural missionary position—man on top" is not conducive to romance since "If a relationship is based on authoritarian control, keeping one person on top and the other underneath, it gets old pretty fast—for both partners, really".
Christakos assures, "This position can give the woman plenty of clitoral stimulation if the man leans forward thus rubbing his pelvic bone against her clitoris. A study conducted by Bohlen et al. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul Ancient Greek pottery art, where legs are placed on shoulders Indian couple in the missionary position See also: History of human sexuality The position has been used at least for millennia if not longer since it is also used by the great apes,   as well as other primates.
Kagaba natives in Colombia preferred missionary because of the stability it offers; they believed that if the woman moved during intercourse, the earth would slip off the shoulders of the four giants who held it up above the waters. Beds existed, yet not as we know them today, and men married girls 14 or 15 years of age, which created a height differential.
These factors made the rear-entry standing position more convenient. Although the Bible does not mention sexual positions, from the 6th to 16th centuries, some Church authorities taught that intercourse should be face-to-face, man-on-top, primarily because they believed that semen flows with gravity, leading to conception. According to John Bancroft's Human Sexuality and Its Problems, Thomas Aquinas believed that crimes against nature included intercourse in "unnatural" ways.
Protestants did not communicate proper sex positions, and the Catholic Church eventually abandoned its discourse on the topic. While many states formerly outlawed oral sex , anal sex , buggery , or other "unnatural" acts, no US law has banned dorso-ventral heterosexual sex, or specified which partner needed to be on top. These authors also note that the Kinsey studies revealed social class influences, with working class men preferring to use the missionary position over other sexual positions.
An Exploratory Study selected 18 film clips out of a sample of 90 that were found by the women studied to be particularly mentally appealing and visually arousing.