The Best Sex Positions for Dialing Back Stress and Anxiety
You could argue that all sex positions relieve stress and anxiety—isn’t that the point of an orgasm? Sure, thanks to the calming and bonding hormones your body releases. Problem is, when you're under pressure or fending off panic, it's tough to even get in the mood to get under the sheets, let alone get your body mentally primed for an O.
But putting off sex because you're too stressed and anxious is no way to live. These six expert-backed positions are designed to restore your calm, connect you deeper to your partner, and take you to a zen place where insanely pleasurable orgasms will happen (and happen again, and again). Don’t rush into them—take a few minutes to get yourself in the moment, say by breathing in sync with your partner while relaxing in bed. Feel the tension and panic melt away...then get started.
This Tantra-derived position allows partners to merge and focus on each other, "which can take you out of the many stresses of life,” says Carol Queen, PhD, staff sexologist with adult toy company Good Vibrations. Have your partner sit cross-legged, then sit in their lap facing them, your legs wrapped around their lower back and your arms around each other.
From there, penetration can occur whenever you’re ready. Because your partner will be thrusting upward, you'll score super pleasurable sensations along the nerve-rich lower third of your vagina. The upword strokes will help slow your partner down, so your sex session lasts longer and you can even aim for a simultaneous O. “[Yab yum] can be especially powerful when you synchronize your breathing in and out and gaze into each other’s eyes,” says Queen. “Adding these elements slows and focuses you so you can get lost in the intimate power of mindful sex.”
Sex from behind typically has your partner doing all the bumping and grinding, so it's especially beneficial when you need to zen out and wash away tension before unleashing your sex drive and really rocking the sheets. "This cathartic and animalistic position is a great way to shake the stress out of your body after a frenetic day,” says Cara Kovacs, a New York City–based sex coach. “It calls for hair pulling, noise making, and total release of intrusive thoughts, making it a perfect way to work out aggression, stress and anxiety.” Don't be afraid to really get into it—being free with your body is an excellent stress reliever.
Spoon and sleep
You could literally fall asleep after spoon-style sex, and what’s more of a stress and anxiety cure than that? “When you’re spooning, there's no pressure to hold a complicated position,” says Kayla Lords, a sex expert for online emporium Jack and Jill. “Spooning is made for lazy, pressure-free sex because you're both lying down and (basically) cuddling.” You don't even need penetration; your partner can simply hold you tight with one arm while letting their hands roam to your nipples and clitoris. “The entire moment can be about the pleasure you feel—and nothing else,” she says.
In this position, you lie on your stomach, your body stretched out across the bed, and your partner lies face-down and draped on top of you, entering you from behind. With so much skin on skin contact—the two of you are practically stacked on top of each other—your tension and anxiety will dissipate fast.
“Pay attention to the full-body contact: the temperature, texture, shape, pressure, and general feel of your skin against your partner’s,” suggests Toronto–based sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD. “Focusing on physical touch can help bring you back to the present moment. With your bodies pressed so tight, it might be hard for your partner to reach around and stimulate your clitoris. O'Reilly recommends using a clitoral vibrator. Placing it between your bodies will produce sensations you'll both enjoy,
Sit face to face and shimmy toward each other so close, your partner can penetrate you. Keep your legs outstretched and place your palms on the floor for support. After your partner enters you, find a rhythm to rock, grind, and breathe in sync, looking into each other's eyes. Your partner is almost supporting your body, echoing the emotional support they give you.
With your bodies so close, the thrusting motions will be small and controlled, building up to deeper, more intense sensations. “This is a powerful experience, and research shows that there is a significant connection between eye contact and the release of oxytocin, which is associated with pair-bonding," says O'Reilly. "Some studies have suggested that eye contact results in heightened oxytocin levels and another revealed that couples who remain deeply in love also maintain eye contact more often while talking.”
Missionary style sex has a reputation as ho-hum. But “it can be one of the most relaxing and connecting positions—it’s all about the intention that you bring to it,” say Laurel House, a sex expert with sex toy company My First Blush. Her suggestion is to go into it thinking, "this position is one that I know and am comfortable in, and today I’m going to go even deeper—I’m going to maintain eye contact, I’m going to kiss throughout the act, I’m going to whisper in their ear, I’m going to be totally open and vulnerable."
"All of a sudden, you’ve transformed a routine sex style into an even more loving, connecting, and intimate position that deepens, lengthens, and intensifies your orgasm,” she says. And since it’s such a natural, comforting position, you don't have to worry about how your butt looks or other body-image issues. You can get completely out of your head, and that’s extremely stress- and anxiety-relieving.
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