How To Do The Butterfly Sex Position & Why Experts Love It
Looking to switch it up from your classic missionary position? The butterfly position could be the one for you. It's actually a similar position that just looks more complex than it is, so don't be put off if sexual gymnastics aren't your thing. Here, we've collected everything you need to know to help you nail the butterfly.
The butterfly sex position.
The butterfly position is a sex position where the penetrating partner is standing up while the receiver lies on their back on an elevated surface like a bed or table, with their feet placed on the penetrator's shoulders. The position gets its name thanks to the butterfly-esque shape that is created by the bodies of the people doing it.
How it works.
Getting into the butterfly position is actually pretty easy: "The receiver lies on their back, and the penetrator stands above them and enters them," says sex educator Niki Davis-Fainbloom. "To do this, you must find a surface that is the right height so that the penetrating object is aligned with the receiver's pelvis."
Make sure that the giver doesn't have to reach up onto their tippy-toes—they should be able to stand comfortably and sturdily. The person being penetrated then fans out their knees to the side and rests their feet on the penetrator's shoulders.
Why you may want to try the position.
It's low effort.
For the person being penetrated, there is very little movement required. Their back is nicely supported, and their legs are held up by the penetrator's shoulders. Therefore, the butterfly is great for someone who is a little tired or who suffers from back pain, says Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., LMFT, ACS, a sex therapist and clinical director at ALL IN Therapy Clinic in Minneapolis.
It hits the spot.
"The butterfly is the ultimate position for clitoral stimulation, as the clitoral gland is right there begging to be stimulated," says Davis-Fainbloom. Easy clit access means you can have the winning combo of penetration and clit action. Hello, blended orgasms.
It also hits the other spots!
"If you are penetrating your partner with either a dildo or penis that is curved upward, you may bring your partner increased pleasure in this position because it is a great angle to stimulate their prostate or G-spot," says Zrenchik. So butterfly is really suited to people who like deep internal stimulation.
The butterfly allows you to make a lot of eye contact, so it feels more sexually intimate than positions like reverse cowgirl or doggy where partners aren't facing each other. The butterfly is great for couples who are really looking to connect with each other and savor the moment.
It's a solid workout.
For the penetrating partner, butterfly requires a moderate amount of energy and thrusting. Incorporating this position into your sex life will get your heart rate up and your muscles pumping. All good stuff! The more you do it, the more your stamina will improve.
Tips & techniques to optimize pleasure:
Prop yourself up with a pillow prop.
"Try using a sex wedge or pillow to lift the receiving partner's hips," says sexologist Goody Howard, MSW, MPH. This can help to make things more comfortable and improve control for the penetrator. This tip is especially useful if you feel like your height difference makes this position a little difficult.
The butterfly is not just for vaginal sex—mix it up by using it for anal too. "To explore this, the receiver should bring their knees closer to their chest and their legs a bit closer to their body, compared to the vaginal butterfly. This shift will help the anal muscles to relax and become open to welcoming visitors," says Davis-Fainbloom. Remember to use a lot of lube and begin with fingers to get comfortable.
Since the butterfly allows you to be face-to-face, you can take the opportunity to (consensually, of course) choke your partner or engage in some light face slapping. You can also lean into dirty talk or a dominant/submissive dynamic to add more of a frisson if that's what you're into, says relationship and sexuality coach Prandhara Prem. Just make sure to discuss your desire to incorporate BDSM beforehand and confirm that you're both down.
Use a toy or two.
"If you truly want to grow wings, try using a vibrator during butterfly penetration," Davis-Fainbloom adds. This can make the difference between "great" and "OMG." The penetrator and/or receiver could also wear a butt plug. Make it a vibrating butt plug for extra stars.
Adjust the depth.
"If deep penetration is not for you, then the bottom or receiver can put their feet on their partner's chest. This allows for the receiver to have better control of how deep the penetration goes in. This is ideal if the receiver has a shallow vagina or if the penetrator is quite well-endowed," Prem recommends. Play around with what works best for you!
Another variation to help reduce the depth or just get a slightly different sensation is to use the crisscross position with the left leg on the left shoulder of the penetrating partner, and the right leg on the right shoulder. This crisscross creates a smaller insertion area for the penis or dildo.
Even if you have your favorite faithful positions, trying something new such as the butterfly can be a great way to discover new ways of accessing pleasure. If you and your partner have been together for a while, it can be especially nice to throw something novel into the mix. Trying different things together can add freshness to your bond and make sex even more enjoyable.
Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist, writer, and poet. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University. Her work has been featured at Slate, Buzzfeed, Vice, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Her writing focuses on sex, pleasure, queer experience and community, feminist theory and practice, and race and anti-racism.