The Ins and Outs of Intercourse

Most books trying to improve your sex life go all KamaSutra when discussing intercourse, giving lots of positions for you to try. While I’m certainly a fan of weird positions, I take a different tactic in this chapter. The Guide to Getting it On has a chapter titled, “Intercourse: Horizontal Jogging,” which provides lots of surprising information on copulation. [1]

The Insertion


Honesty time: many men struggle to get their penis smoothly inserted in the vagina. There are lots of things to bump up against down there that aren’t the vagina—lots of missing going on. So it’s not necessarily a learning disability if the man still fumbles around down there after perhaps 5,000 lovemaking experiences with the same women...though in my case, it probably is.

Anyway, coming in at the wrong angle or poking the vaginal wall can be painful for the woman (men, think jab to testicles). Some women help glide the penis in for a smooth landing. I suppose if most men can’t consistently hit the toilet bowl while urinating, it’s no surprise we have a tendency to miss the vagina. If missing is an issue for you, talk about it, laugh about it, and keep trying. Even a blind hog roots up an acorn once in a while.

Now let’s think about when to insert that penis in the passion process. There seems to be a natural tendency among men to want to get right to it. “I’m ready, she looks hot, let’s go! And hey, what if that big asteroid hits the Earth in the next 30 seconds or I have a heart attack, or worse...the loss of an erection. Let’s get this thing done!”

Fortunately, as Christian men, we know that resisting or, at the very least, being somewhat patient about our urges to do what comes natural is part of our spiritual growth. The “ground and pound” approach may work for monkeys and porn stars, but it’s not what we’re shooting for.

On the other hand, great sex doesn’t come from following a bunch of rules. Great sex connects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a wonderful dance that varies all the time. Sometimes the penis can go in early and there’s a beautiful closeness in simply rocking together. Other times lots of foreplay brings you both to the edge and intercourse is the grand finale, and a trillion other possibilities.

The only rule regarding penis insertion is don’t shove into a dry vagina. Either wait for her natural lubrication system to kick in or use a lubricant. The natural lubrication system is different for every woman, so don’t think of using lube as “cheating.” You should always have a favorite lube nearby.

A surprising pattern having to do with insertion comes from an extensive sex survey.[2] Many women in the survey stated that their favorite part of intercourse was the penetration and first thrust. Men, discuss this with your lover and get into the specifics. Find out if she likes:

1.     a teasing series of short ins and outs, when you’re barely inside the vagina;

2.     a slow and steady push all the way in;

3.     or perhaps she likes a big and hard pound from the beginning.

Her preference probably varies, but if she has a favorite, you should learn it and work it into the line-up. This is also a great opportunity for the woman to find what the man likes to feel upon insertion. Asking him to do what feels wonderful or pulling him in a certain way can increase your collective erotic experience.

Here’s another vital piece of intelligence:

Of the five thousand women who have taken our sex survey, the VAST majority either need finger stimulation on their clit or they grind their clitoris into the pubic bone of their partner in order to have orgasms during intercourse. Few have orgasms from thrusting alone.[3]

During intercourse, keep the clitoris in mind. Perhaps you will consider sliding your penis between the labia and rub the clitoris. She might really enjoy a gentle sliding motion. She can use her hand to rub it exactly where she wants to be rubbed, giving you some extra stimulation as well. Think of it like sliding a hot dog into a bun.

She could also squeeze her legs together to create more pressure, or she can spread her legs wide apart.

Since men often control the thrusting in intercourse, they have an opportunity to be creative and really pleasure their partners. Most men just pound away, wasting this occasion for distinction. Don’t be that guy. Here are some thrusting options to try:

1.     Peek the Head Inside: Use shallow and slow strokes. Pull out often and slide along the labia.

2.     Three Shorts and a Long One: Go with three slow short strokes, then one luxurious long stroke. Then repeat. Pretend you are doing Morse Code and sending the letter V over and over. In fact, maybe learn all the letters and send her a message in code. (Hopefully that kind of advice reminds you this book was written by an engineer.)

3.     Five to Nine Shorts and a Long One: If you want to go more old school, Tantric masters recommend between five and nine shallow thrusts for every deep thrust. Perhaps bring the ratio down to 1:1 as arousal increases.[4]

4.     Variations: Try hip swivels, side to side motions, and or simply rocking together.

5.     Public Bone: The pubic bone rub creates some wonderful sensations. When the man is on top, he can move up a bit from his normal position and rub his pubic bone against her clitoris. Gently grind, pleasuring the clitoris while the penis fills the vagina. This is a great variation on the Missionary position.

6.     Angles: If the above variations work well, see if any other penis angles provide extra pleasure for you and your lover. Gently experiment with different angles and see if you can find a winner.

7.     Understand the Cervix Bump: When the penis hits her cervix, it can cause excruciating pain. If this is a problem, consider a penis ring (reducing depth of penetration) or positions that change the penis angle and penetration depth. Know that the cervix tends to rise a bit with arousal. Simply waiting for a beat upon entry before a deep thrust may solve the problem.[5]

Women can also take the lead in mattress dancing by being on top or by grabbing his hips while he is on top. The woman can perpetrate the items above and plenty more. Most men are thrilled when a woman demonstrates what she likes and wants in sex. 

[1] Paul Joannides, Guide to Getting it On. This book provides more useful detail than any other I’ve found. Though some may find the tone offensive and the nearly 1200 pages overwhelming, I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about sex.

[2] Guide to Getting it On, 341.

[3] Guide to Getting it On, 346.

[4] Guide to Getting It On, 348-349.

[5] Guide to Getting It On, 346.

Missionary Style

Think about intercourse positions, but let’s start at a place no other book does. Does your prayer time include a period for praise and thanksgiving to God? Then the next time you pray, thank God for the Missionary position.

Think about how most mammals have sex. It’s generally male behind female, “doggie style,” which efficiently places the sperm deep in the vagina. But there is so much beauty in making love while facing your partner, looking into each other’s eyes, kissing passionately, having full access to face, ears, chest, etc. We should praise God first for giving us our spouse and then for giving us this face-to-face missionary position in which to enjoy him or her.

Let’s further explore the missionary position and some of its variations. Why is it called the “missionary position”? Alfred Kinsley first coined the phrase in his 1948 text, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. He mistakenly thought missionaries in Polynesia taught their converts that this man on top position was the recommended way for Christians to make love.[1]

In the true story, the natives in that area made love using the doggy-style (like most mammals). They saw the white missionaries doing some horizontal dancing and thought it hilarious. Great conversation fodder around the campfire that night.

Can you imagine the teenage boys (because you know it had to be teenage boys) who peeked into the missionaries’ tent that night? Looking, laughing hysterically with buddies, but still trying to be quiet? Some things never change.

The name stuck because folks tend to think of this position as tame or they imagined missionaries to be. I believe the opposite is true (about missionary position, not necessarily about missionaries), and here’s why.

The substantial skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest, face-to-face contact provides for romantic coupling. Either partner can control the rhythm. Possible leg positions provide many different options.

Here are some missionary (or face-to-face) variations you may want to try:

a.     Basic Missionary: Her legs outside his, with her knees bent and feet on the mattress, where she has the ability to move her hips and control the rhythm.

b.     Legs together Missionary: Her legs together and his outside provides a tight squeeze on his penis. It’s a surprisingly different feel.

c.     “V” is for Victory: Her legs up on his shoulders provides a deep penis penetration and a different angle.

d.     Butterfly: She can lie with her hips on the edge of the bed with legs on the floor and outside his. In this Butterfly position, the man stands (he doesn’t have to support his weight on his arms) and it gives the woman more options for movement. While the clitoris isn’t rubbed by intercourse in this variation, it is easily reached for manual stimulation.

e.     Standing Missionary: While it looks good in the movies, and can be fun, it takes lots of fitness and energy. Also, most couple’s genitals don’t align when they stand, so you may need to do some shimming (pillows, an ottoman, this book...whatever works). By the way, do you know why Baptists don’t have sex standing up? They’re worried someone might see them and think they’re dancing.

f.      Good Mornings: This standing sex variation will work regardless of height differences, but requires some real effort from the man. As they face each other standing, she jumps into his arms and he leans down and forward, sliding penis into vagina. He will rock down to 90 degrees then back up to vertical. It’s a workout.

g.     Face-to-Face in the Water: this wonderful standing sex position uses the buoyancy of water to handle the gravity load. Face each other with knees bent in the water and rock back and forth. This position offers great clitoral rub on the pubic bone.

h.     Riding High: One of the best secrets for wonderful missionary style sex is “Riding High.” In most of the positions described above, the man can simply move up slightly from what feels natural and grind his pubic bone around the clitoris. This slight variation can substantially increase the woman’s pleasure during intercourse.

i.      Pillow Support: Another small variation that can make a big difference is adding a pillow or two under the woman’s hips. The different angle can change everything. Make sure it is comfortable for her and does not cause back strain.

Far from unimaginative sex, you can spice up the missionary position with so many wonderful variations. Learn to have wild fun as you look into each other’s eyes. Just remember that there is also a downside to missionary style. A man who tries to domineer and control his spouse may insist on using the missionary position because he can trap her with his weight and control the thrusting. If you only ever have sex in the missionary position and the man controls everything, you have a problem.

[1] Priest, Robert J, "Missionary Positions: Christian, Modernist, and Postmodernist," Current Anthropology, 42 (1): 29–68. From Wikipedia article on Missionary Position.

Cowgirl Position

 Now let’s consider the sex position in which the woman is on top and the man is on the bottom. It is often called the cowgirl position. The best part (and there are many) of this position is the amount of control the woman can have. She can decide penis angle, depth, frequency, and hip movement. Here are some things for cowgirls to consider:

Clitoral stimulation can be tailored to your exact desires. Lean forward and grind and gyrate against his pubic bone. By adjusting your hips, you can rub the penis right against your G spot. This will likely feel best when you are fully aroused, as the spot becomes more sensitive to pressure as more blood flows to the area.

Understand the powerful show you give in this position. As you arch your back, roll your head, and gyrate your hips, you turn on your lover. He can appreciate every expression on your face and full frontal nudity is always wonderful. You could also put on a camisole top or sexy bra for a teasing visual.

Here’s a little secret you should know: most men love to watch a woman masturbate. The cowgirl position gives you the perfect opportunity to rub your clitoris (with fingers or a vibrating toy) while making love with him. Take charge. How would you like to have a simultaneous orgasm with your lover as you stared into each other’s eyes? While that’s plenty to shoot for, this would be the best position to accomplish that.

On the bottom, men should take the opportunity to learn. The way the woman moves and where she puts his penis in her vagina will provide great insight into what feels best for her. Since many women don’t like to talk about these things, use the cowgirl position to learn what she has difficultly telling you.

Here are some cowgirl variations you may want to try:

a.     Basic Cowgirl: The woman sits on top with her legs bent at the knees. This is the classic position where she can ride ‘em hard and put ‘em away wet.

b.     Laying Cowgirl: She lies on top, with her legs either outside or inside his. He can hold his penis from this position and provide a direct clitoral penis rub while she controls the tempo.

c.     Lap Dance: She can sit on his lap, facing him, on either a chair or bed. (Would you, could you in a chair? Would you, could you here or there? Would you, could you anywhere?)

d.     Reverse Cowgirl: This position provides a delightful change of pace. The man will lay on his back and the woman will sit on him, facing his feet. In this position, the woman controls almost everything. Give yourself extra points for successfully swiveling from cowgirl to reverse cowgirl without disengaging the penis (or snapping it off)...which reminds me of one of my favorite lines: “I used to go out with a contortionist, until she broke it off.”

e.     Corkscrew Cowgirl: This is halfway between the cowgirl and the reverse cowgirl. In this variation, she can sit on top with one leg between and one leg outside his. Her options are many.

f.      Laid Back Reverse Cowgirl: This is another variation of reverse cowgirl; she simply lies down from reverse cowgirl so her back is on his chest. Penile pop-out may be an issue in this position, but you won’t know until you try.

g.     Better Than TV: You have to try this one. Sit in a comfortable chair facing the TV (chairs that rock and swivel are ideal). I probably don’t need to say this, but TURN OFF THE TV. The man will slump down in a comfortable sitting position and she will sit on his lap, facing him, with her legs on his shoulders or over the back of the chair. In this position, he gets to watch the best nature show ever. A vibrating toy may be added here with great results for everyone.

Just like in other positions, pillows can be a great addition for a cowgirl. Think of pillows as a secret weapon for better sex.

Doggy Style

Having covered missionary and cowgirl, let’s get down and dirty to doggy style. There’s something primal about this rear entry position. If it’s good for the rest of the world’s mammals, it may work for you.

The penis enters the vagina from the opposite direction of the missionary and cowgirl positions. You may be able to find great G spot stimulation in this angle. Here’s a tip: the man should try swaying his hips instead of thrusting. Try to rub the penis head in small circles right at her G spot. Don’t be a typical bonehead here: ask for directions! This rear entry position also gives the man a free hand for clitoral stimulation. He may want to stop thrusting, or even pull out for a bit, when she gets close to orgasm. This is a great position for simultaneous orgasming.

Women may feel that they have less control in doggie style, but her control just comes in a slightly different form. If she wants deeper penis penetration, she can arch her back upward, lower her chest, and spread her legs wider. On the other hand, she can go shallower by pulling her hips down. Explore these options to see if you can find a wonderful stimulation.

A word of warning for the male of the species: since this position can produce deep penis entry at a different angle, be gentle on that first long push. Mashing into her cervix is as bad as her hitting you in the testicles. If she indicates any pain, don’t take it as a compliment on your amazing “hugeness.” Instead, follow one of the most important (and ignored) rules of Christianity: Don’t be a Jerk.

Here are some doggie style variations you may want to try:

1.     Basic Doggy: She is on all fours and he mounts her from the rear. This can occur on the floor or on a bed. I suppose it could be performed while riding down a zip line, though the attendants would have to help you hook up the safety lines appropriately.

2.     Upright Doggy: She’s on her knees with torso upright and he’s on his knees behind her. In this position, she can twist around and kiss her partner. You can also push up against a sofa backrest or a wall for a different feel.

3.     Corkscrew Doggy: She kneels facing a couch and puts one leg up on the couch; he has one knee on the ground and the other under her knee on the couch. This position provides really deep penis penetration, so to paraphrase Sergeant Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues, “Be careful in there.”

4.     Laying Doggy: This position has lots of options. During or after a back massage, he can slide in while kneeling behind her while she lies face down. You can also use a bunch of pillows to build some marvelous bridges. Vary the pillow orientation so the penis rubs against different vaginal locations (G spot lookout).

5.     Standing Doggy: Like most standing sex positions, this one requires that you two are just the right height. In this position, the man doesn’t have to lean, so he has both hands available to put to good use.

Dog in the Water: If you have an Endless Pool, this is a marvelous doggy style variation to try. She will hold on to the bar and lean in to the current generator while he goes behind her. As the current rushes over her entire body, he can penetrate and rub her clitoris. Her legs can rest on the ground between his or float outside of his. This is a great may want to purchase an Endless Pool just to try it. Though the dealer frowned upon trying this in their showroom.


Let’s move on to the final major category of intercourse. Spooning is similar to doggy style with both partners facing the same direction, the man behind, but it’s so different. The bucking and wildness of doggy style contrasts the gentleness and romance of spooning.

From a purely physical viewpoint, spooning requires the least energy of any love making position. No one has to support their weight on their arms or even hold themselves upright. Spooning is a relaxed. You can lay side by side while gently thrusting and rubbing.

Here are a few advantages of spooning:

1.     This provides the best clitoris access for the man of any position. He can rest his hand on her body and rub for a long time without getting a sore wrist. She can guide his hand with her own to give him a bit of training. You can also easily apply lube from this position.

2.     There is also great skin to skin touching. Legs can go in several different ways to change the contact and the penetration.

3.     If either partner has concerns with how their body looks (and who doesn’t?), spooning tends to minimize those concerns. Also a great position for sex during pregnancy.

4.     Penis penetration depth tends to be more shallow in this position, which can sometimes be a plus.

5.     She can squeeze her legs together for increased penis/vaginal pressure, or he can slide down and change the angle of entry.

6.     If you decide you want to transition from a lazy lover position into a rutting dog, you can do so without missing a thrust.

Here are a few spooning positions you may want to try:

1.     Basic Spooning: Fit yourselves together like spoons in a drawer. Lay on your sides facing the same direction with him behind.

2.     “T” Spoon: Start from the basic spooning position. The man will then slide down and adjust to be more perpendicular to her. The angle and depth of penis penetration changes and the opportunities for clitoral stimulation are still good, but the skin to skin contact decreases in this variation.

3.     “Z” Spoon: Start from the basic spooning position, then have her curl her knees up to her chest while he follows suit. He may want to adjust downwards a bit to improve the penis angle.

4.     Wide Leg Spoon: She spreads her legs wide and over on the bed, opening up the vulva area for manual attention.

5.     Up Leg Spoon: She spreads her legs by lifting one up in the air. A gentleman helps support the raised leg in this position while gently thrusting.

Spooning provides a great way for lovers to connect when their energy levels are on the lower side. Don’t underestimate this position, though, as some wonderful orgasms can come from spooning.


The reason I’m sure God wasn’t a civil engineer is that he ran a sewer line right through the middle of a recreational zone. What was he thinking? Well, some folks assume that septic discharging anus pipe should maybe have some in flow as well.

Like every other sexual decision, what you do with Uranus is between you and your spouse. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind, though:

1.     If this is new to you, start gently with fingerplay. Use lots of lube and only go around the edges or maybe in up to one finger joint. The anus has a different elasticity than the vagina and doesn’t stretch and lubricate nearly as well.

2.     Since the anus is full of nerve endings (hemorrhoid sufferers can attest), some folks love some finger play around the anus near orgasm time.

3.     Even though long term spouses probably share similar gut bacteria, fecal matter transfer can still cause some nasty prostate, urinary tract or other type infections. A condom should always be worn for anal intercourse.[1]

4.     If you are going to have anal intercourse, use lots of lube and go very slow in and out. Also, be careful how far the penis goes in. Again, the anus operates much differently than the vagina. If you’re poking around down there, be gentle, and ask for lots of feedback.

5.     Conventional wisdom tells the woman to relax if she’s going to be receiving a penis up her backside. If your husband pushes you for anal intercourse and you’re hesitant, I’d suggest you try a his-penis-sized dildo up the man’s backside first so he can show you how to relax. Avoid sticking carrots or cucumbers up there as they may break off, then you’ve got some ER “splaining” to do.

Since the sphincter muscles excel at squeezing closed and capturing things, be careful not to lose any toys up there. Again, the ER trip just isn’t worth it.  

[1] Guide to Getting It On, 373-4.

Intercourse Frequency

A few years ago, I was teaching an adult Sunday School class and asked folks to raise their hands to indicate their normal frequency of sex. I told them the options would be:

1.     Every day or two

2.     Two or three times a week

3.     Weekly

4.     Monthly

5.     Less often than monthly

I still remember the shocked look on their faces as I explained the survey. Then I watched those faces burst into laughter when I reminded them that the date on this fine Sunday morning was April 1st.

So how often do you have sex? Do you worry it’s more (or less) than normal? That isn’t an easy question for many couples. If the frequency of sex plagues your marriage, consider the concept of “the power of less desire.” The person who wants less sex has a stronger negotiating position. The person requesting sex spends some of his or her relationship capital in the request. The less enthusiastic spouse has several options in response:

1.     Deny the request

2.     Postpone the request

3.     Agree to participate with little effort

4.     Agree to participate and try to find enthusiasm in the process

Each one of these is or can be a valid response. As you and your spouse work through these struggles, remember to love and forgive each other as best you can.

You shouldn’t look to what works for others as the deciding factor for what will work for you and your spouse. You could have sex twice a day or twice a decade and still be at the right frequency for your relationship. Strive to find the intercourse rate that you both can be happy with.

Let’s end this chapter by thinking about what makes intercourse great. If your answer is simultaneous orgasms, you’re probably not going to feel successful most of the time. Take it down a level; there’s a natural tendency to think intercourse a success if both parties orgasm, but there is usually more pride than love in that definition. I challenge you to let go of that orgasm attachment.

If you define success not in orgasms but in serving and loving each other, you will grow better in your relationship with God and each other. That’s the real point of this mystery we call life.