Why We Shouldn’t Be Dismissing the Missionary Position

Praising the missionary position may seem contradictory for me, a writer who focuses on BDSM, kinks and savoring taboos. Someone like me doesn’t partake in the monotonous, highly mocked and vanilla-esque position like missionary. It’s too sweet, too intimate. I’m into whips, chains and handcuffs. Right? Er, right.

But it would be ludicrous to claim that the missionary position doesn’t exist in my vocabulary, and more important, beneath my sheets. Of course it does. I may be speaking for a large number of people here, but I don’t think it’s too out of the park to say that, yes, we all do incorporate and possibly even enjoy the missionary position.

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When the topic of what I do for a living arises in a conversation (i.e., sex journalist), I usually know what to expect if it’s a cis-gender male. “So, what’s your favorite position?” they ask as their lips curl and turn up into a crescent shape. “Ah, here we go again,” I think to myself as an eye roll or two transpires. Recently, I began to reply to their questions with, “You know what, missionary. I love missionary.”

1) Because I just crushed their heteronormative fantasy of doggy-style; 2) I actually am interested in opening up the conversation as to why the other positions benefit either party involved; and 3) Because I do enjoy a little vanilla every now and then.

“Vanilla missionary does not equal spicy,” says Dr. Megan Stubbs, a sexologist. She continues, “It’s as if people are going to be watching us in the bedroom (which is totally fine if you’re into that) and we don’t want to disappoint. We want to try the newest, hottest thing to market, and that often extends to sexual endeavors.”

However, missionary is ubiquitous in our sex lives. Maybe more for some than others. For me, it all boils down to the question of why missionary, more than other position, is ostracized from “enjoyable sex.” It’s the castaway of sexual positions. Why do we associate this position with a heteronormative, flavorless, anticlimactic partnership?

For Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor and author of The Mojo Makeover: 4 Weeks to a Sexier You, the position is dismissed because, in fact, it is pretty vanilla. She explains, “With the man more in charge of the rhythm and depth of his thrusting, missionary represents a more traditional male-female dynamic. This in itself can be perceived as a more vanilla approach to sex in today’s more open-minded, Fifty Shades-inspired, ‘try anything’ cultural attitude towards sex.”

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Popular culture has placed a contemptuous umbrella over the praxis of the missionary position. Even the name, synonymous with Christian missionaries, leaves a souring taste in our mouth. It’s been known as the matrimonial position, the mama-papa position and the English-American position. While the origin of the term is up for debate, it was probably coined by Alfred Kinsey after his sexual studies in the 1950s. But why? Why do we feel as if the missionary position is a dupe — a plebeian arrangement that amounts to a loss of satisfaction? It’s categorized as love-making instead of fucking. It’s memed on the internet and referenced in comedies. We all laugh, we all agree, and then we all go home and have intercourse in the missionary position.

This isn’t in defense of the vanilla, but it is in defense of missionary.

Myers goes on to explain, “Just because missionary is more vanilla doesn’t mean it shouldn’t play a powerful part in your sex life.”

Leaving the bottom partner quite bored and unimpressed, missionary has been maligned as a rudimentary position for fornication. When positions like the butter-churner, snow angel and the standing wheelbarrow are encouraged for those looking for an adventure, my ode to missionary may leave you feeling a bit dry (quite literally). As appetizing as the linguini sounds, a lot of these positions can be exhaustive and strenuous. Somewhere in my 15- to 20-minute romp, I’m bound to find myself in a tangle of limbs, one including the missionary position. And, I like it.

The technique is sensual. It involves eye contact, skin-to-skin interaction, kissing, closeness and intimacy. It can also include variations, such as legs on shoulders or legs overhead. It doesn’t have to be a mechanical experience for either partner. It creates easy access for reaching around and fondling other parts. Choking in doggy, especially if there are height differences, can be difficult. In missionary I can be choked or I can choke. Since the majority of women don’t have an orgasm through penetration alone, my clitoris is accessible by both me and my partner in missionary. Biting, slapping, clawing and spitting are up front and personal. All of my little added desires can be fleshed out when lying together in this position. It’s important for me to get one good spit in, OK?

Of course, good sex means variety and attention to detail. Either we start in missionary, sprinkle it throughout the middle or finish in this holy flow.

Stubbs agrees, “No matter how wild and experimental you may prefer your sex to be, missionary allows you to experience full-body, skin-to-skin contact and a provides an opportunity for deep eye connection and intimate verbal communication. Plus, if you use a pillow to prop up your hips in missionary, you can angle yourself to receive pleasurable G-spot stimulation.”

Shagging shouldn’t be a performance with a round of applause at the end. It’s a conversation between you and your partner(s) that’s delicate, experimental and above all, satisfactory. If doggy gives you the orgasm of a lifetime, then by all means, get on all fours.

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But my ode to missionary is simply a way to debunk the holier-than-thou attitude we have about this position. Of course, you won’t find me or anyone else triumphantly cheering about their 15 minutes in the missionary position. Like every conquest, change is necessary and all positions are beautiful positions. Nevertheless, my predilection for missionary rings strong and true. We can’t deny the fact that this way to fornicate is a staple in all sexual partnerships, queer or cis. Moreover, the so-called angelic position is very complex. With a few pillows here and a rubbing of the clitoris there, an orgasm while staring into the eyes of my partner is a sure way to get me off.

By S. Nicole Lane

Originally published on HelloFlo.

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