Despite what you might think, missionary doesn't hold the title of Most Intimate Sex Position™. The lotus sex position does.
Below, an overview of the lotus sex position and a few tips on how to master it.
What is the lotus sex position?
The lotus sex position involves one partner sitting cross-legged, and the other facing them, straddling them. Think "cowgirl" position (one person rides on top the other) but seated upright.
"This configuration leaves two face-to-face bodies pressed tightly together, which can be intimate, sweet, and sexy," says Good Vibrations sexologist Carol Queen, Ph.D.
Advantages of the lotus position
More intimate connection with your partner
We usually pick sex positions based on what you're in the mood for. Craving deep penetration? Doggy style. Super tired? Spooning.
Well, if you're craving more intimacy and romance in your sex sessions, the lotus position is perfect. It offers the opportunity for kissing, full-body embraces, and nonstop eye contact.
"Incorporate eye-gazing, in-sync breathing, and touching your foreheads (your third eye) together to increase the feeling of connection even more," suggests Barbara Carrellas, ACS, sexologists, tantra educator, and author of Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century. "This is not a position for a fast fuck! It lends itself better to slow lovemaking and a soulful connection."
Good for clitoral stimulation
Either way, this pleasure bulb contains over 8,000 nerves, so doting on it is always a good move. And with the lotus position, the clit is right there!
If you're on top, your clit will rub against your partner's body as you rock your hips against theirs. You can also have your partner reach between your legs, or reach between your own legs using your fingers or a vibrator like the Le Wand Petite.
Lots of variation
Small adjustments and variations of the lotus sex position can create totally different sensations. For example: grinding versus bouncing, leaning back or forward, fully embracing while rocking, straightening your legs or propping yourself up with them, or adding sex toys. Get creative with it!
"In this position, all your chakras are lined up with your partner's chakras, which creates multiple energy circuits between you," says Carrellas.
A chakra refers to a center of concentrated, spiritual energy throughout the body.
Early traditions say that every human has seven chakras that run from your pelvis up your spine and to the top of your head.
Even if you're not into spiritual stuff, all that means is that this position can feel uniquely energizing because your bodies are so in sync.
Great option for anal exploration
Doggy style may have the reputation as being the anal sex position. But with the lotus position, you can use a penis, dildo, or double-ended dildo to explore anal penetration too, says Carrellas.
In fact, because you can see your partner's face the entire time, Lotus may actually be a better option for first-time anal play. "In addition to verbal communication, you're able to read your partner's facial expressions to judge speed, depth, and comfort," says Queen.
Adaptable and accessible
Mainstream illustrations of lotus position might make you think it's reserved for able-bodied, cis-het couples. But both Queen and Carrellas say that couldn't be less true. "This position can be modified so that any gender or genital partner partings can partake," says Queen.
And Carrellas adds: "[This position] can also be done if one partner is in a wheelchair," says Carrellas. "Just note that the partner sitting on top must make sure to move frequently enough to avoid cutting off circulation in their partner's legs."
The lotus position is actually just the Western name for the most famous tantric sex position: the yab-yum. "Likely, the term 'lotus' took off because someone decided it is more palatable to Western ears," says Carrellas.
What makes the yab-yum position tantric, however, is not the configuration of your bodies but how you make love in that position, she says.
"Tantric sex means you're breathing, focused on the moment (and not some future orgasmic goal), and being creative," she says. Meaning, simply getting into the lotus position doesn't mean you're having tantric sex.
If you want to learn more about how to have this insanely spiritual, intimate form of sex, here's our full tantric sex guide.
How to try the lotus sex position
To get into this position, have one partner—the partner who's going to be doing the penetrating with a dildo, penis, or fingers (if any penetration is going to be taking place!)—drop their bum onto the bed (or floor, or couch!) and assume a crisscross applesauce position.
Facing them, have the second straddle them and lower down so that you're both chest-to-chest and eye-to-eye.
"If it's comfortable, the seated-on-top person can wrap their legs tightly around their partner's torso while the bottom partner pulls you both together with their arms," says Queen.
What you do from here depends on your genital combination and sexual preferences.
"Typically, the partner on the bottom will penetrate the partner on top, and then for (vaginal or anal) penetrative intercourse to take place," she says. And it's all about slow, soulful lovemaking, she emphasizes. So rather than fast thrusting, try slow rocking.
If penetration is not on the table (er, bed), she suggests exploring oral-to-nipple stimulation, hand hanky-panky, making out, ear and neck licking/sucking/tongue-flicking, external vibrator use, and grinding.
Tips for mixing it up
Incorporate erotic talk
"Face-to-face positions are always a good time to try out some erotic talk or share some words of love," says Queen. Something as simple as "You feel so good pressed against me," or "I love feeling this close to you" works wonders.
Even breathy moans, gasps, and heavy breathing go a long way in arousing your partner auditorily.
Lather up with lube
Lube can make any sex act better, so don't snooze on lube for lotus. "It helps reduce friction, increases the glide and slide between bodies, supports you going faster and slower, and it's a must for anal," says Queen.
Lube is also a great addition to nipple stimulation. Add a dab to your fingertips before circling the areola or flicking the nipple. A water-based lubricant like Sliquid Sassy is a great option, especially if you're planning to use silicone-based toys or latex barriers.
Add a sex toy
Vibrators up the ante on any sex position. Something like a vibrating cock ring like the Lelo Tor 2 or wearable clitoral vibrator like the Dame Eva II work best for penetrative intercourse. Something like the classic Magic Wand or Unbound Bender are great for nonpenetrative play.
"You might even think beyond the genitals and use a vibrator along your partner's chakras," says Carrellas.
Try the draped lotus
Is the person on top super flexible? Rather than plopping your feet on either side of your partners hips or wrapping them full-around their back, tap into your hamstring mobility and drape them over your partner's shoulders like knapsack straps.
This adjustment will alter the angle of penetration so that if the person on top has a vagina, their urethral sponge (colloquially known as the G-spot) will be more likely to be targeted. Squirting orgasm, anyone?
Draped lotus is also a great option for intermediate and advanced anal sex havers who are craving deep anal penetration and eye contact.
No doubt, between all that eye-gazing and chakras alignment, the lotus position is intimate. Like, really intimate. So if it's starting to feel too intimate (no judgment!), tap into your inner Missy Elliot and flip it and reverse it.
Reverse Rider fans will recognize this iteration. "It's basically just a reverse Rider, but the closeness parallels that of lotus but without the eye-contact," says Queen. Another option for reduced intimacy: Place your hands behind you and lean back! This also puts your clit or cock in position for extra loving.
Experiment with eye-gazing
If the opportunity for eye contact is why you and your partner are trying Lotus, Carrellas recommends trying tantric eye gazing.
To do it, lock right eye to right eye, left eye to left eye, and breathe in sync. "Eye-gazing takes us to new levels of intimacy, and you may feel the urge to look away," she says. "It's trust of the highest order."
At the end of the day, there's nothing quite as intimate as trying out a new sex position with your lover. So whether you love the lotus sex position or not, you'll both walk away feeling more connected.
Gabrielle Kassel is a sex and wellness writer and certified CrossFit trainer. She has a degree in English and Women & Gender from Smith College, and her writing on sex, identity, and wellness have appeared on Cosmopolitan, Well Good, Health, Shape, Women’s Health, Greatist, Healthline, and more. She's become a morning person, tested over 300 vibrators, and worn her vaginal ~essence~ as perfume—all in the name of journalism. In her free time, Gabrielle can be found reading romance novels, bench-pressing, and pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.