It isn't for the faint of heart.

By Gigi Engle
December 18, 2020
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Orgasms can be had in even the most basic of sex positions, but there's some sort of allure that comes with acrobatic sex acts that look almost too hard to be true — and that's certainly the case with the Amazon sex position, which more than 46,000 people scour the internet for every month.

It's unclear why it's called the "Amazon sex position," but if I had to guess, I'd say it's because it puts the female or vulva-owning partner in a dominant role — like an Amazon goddess. (Mini history lesson alert!) No, we're not talking about Indigenous groups from the Amazon rain forest, but rather a group of people from Greek mythology. In Ancient Greek mythology, the Amazons were a race of warrior women noted for their riding skills, courage, and pride, who were thought to live in a mythical place — a city called Themiskyra thought to be on the Black Sea, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Luckily, you don't need to be a mythical warrior goddess to try this sex position. This position doesn't discriminate based on your sex organs either, though it does keep you humble about your ability to move your body into some pretty ambitious contortions.

I first heard of the Amazon sex position several months ago when my husband suggested we try it. When he explained the complexities of the position, all I could think about was how he, a cis-man standing at 6' 1" and weighing 270 pounds was going to get his hips to bend not only wide enough to encircle my hips but also completely into his chest — two prerequisites for the Amazon. It didn't seem likely.

Upon further research, I found the Amazon really only requires the penis-haver (or dildo-wearer) to bring their legs into a Pilates tabletop position. I could work with that. I don't want to get into the gritty details of how this sexual adventure went down, but I will tell you we managed to make it work. But be warned, this position is not for the faint of heart. It definitely requires some serious flexibility and balance.

Overall, I wouldn't call it the most orgasmic position out there (struggling to balance makes relaxing into climax pretty challenging), but it's definitely worth trying. Here is what you should know about the Amazon sex position.

What Is the Amazon Sex Position?

Now that I've gotten you excited (or terrified), here's what you should know about the Amazon sex position. Basically, it looks like a mix of the Rider/Cowgirl/Cowperson position and missionary. "The woman [or penetrated partner] is on top, riding the man [or inserting partner]. Only in the Amazon sex position, the man's legs are in a tabletop position," says Zachary Zane, sex expert and brand ambassador for sexual wellness brand Promescent.

The inserting partner lies on their back and brings their knees to 90 degrees (tabletop). The penetrated partner sits on top, legs on either side. A more intense variation of this position requires the man or penetrating partner to bring their thighs all the way to their chest, but I'd suggest skipping the latter if your partner is not a gymnast.

Credit: Yeji Kim

Taylor Sparks, an erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven, a subscription box for eco-friendly, organic, and body-safe intimate products, stresses the importance of penis or dildo length. Because the penis/dildo needs to reach past the inserting partner's thighs, length is crucial. To be frank, "[the Amazon] is a LDP (long dick position)," she says. "Seriously, this will be almost impossible to do with a man who does not have 'enough' length." While size is certainly not necessary for amazing and satisfying sex, different positions are better suited for different anatomies. (Case in point, here are sex positions great for penises on the smaller side.) So if you're using a strap-on or dildo, be sure to go for one of your longer pals, if you have one.

How Exactly to Get Into the Amazon Sex Position

The first thing to remember with the Amazon sex position is patience. Take your time moving into this position, doing everything slowly to ensure both you and your partner are comfortable and not in any pain. I cannot stress this enough: This is not an easy position. Be careful.

First, have the penetrating partner lie on their back and bring their knees into tabletop position. Then, facing their partner, "the vulva-owner lowers their body down on the penis or strap-on and kneels beside their partner," explains Charyn Pfeuffer, a sex writer and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating.

Your knees should be on either side of your partner's waist. You can move up and down or back and forth. If your knees can't reach, simply plant your feet for more of a squat — whatever is most comfortable for you and your partner.

The Benefits of Giving the Amazon a Whirl

The biggest benefit (IMO) of this position is the power dynamics it provides. "It requires core strength and can take some practice to master the squat, but this is a definite power position for people who like to be on top," says Pfeuffer. There's something very powerful about having your partner in a traditionally female sex position with his legs spread apart. (Down with the patriarchy!)

There's also a lot of visual appeal. If you've ever watched porn, you know how hot this position can look. While I'm certain it's not everyone's cup of tea, there is a lot to said for porn's ability to spark the erotic imagination. Sometimes it's fun to try some porn-level sexual acrobatics and look like a badass at the same time. What's more, "this position can allow for great eye contact," says Zane.

If you experience pain with penetration or don't enjoy super deep penetration during intercourse, this position can actually be a godsend, says sex expert and educator Kenneth Play. "It makes it unlikely that you'll be able to get the full [penis] in (since his legs are likely to provide a buffer) and gives the vagina-owner more control, so you can be in charge of the penetration," explains Play. "You can move side to side, in circles, or up and down, and can control the angle of penetration as well."

Lastly, but definitely not least, you have access to your clitoris in this position, just like in a classic cowgirl. (Just be sure you master the balancing act before going for extras.) "It's easy for the woman on top (or the person riding) to stimulate their clitoris manually," says Zane. Go for it with your hands or a small bullet or finger vibrator. (Also try these other best sex positions for clitoral stimulation if that's what you like to get off.)

A Few Amazon Sex Position Variations

The Top Cat

Credit: Yeji Kim

This position is like the Amazon, only the person on top has their legs on the inside of their partner's legs. This is great if you have limited hip flexibility.

"Start in your typical cowgirl position with the woman on top, straddling the man's hips with his penis inside of the woman," explains Sparks. "Slowly transfer the woman's legs to the inside (between his legs) and his legs to the outside of the woman's hips, bending at the knee and moving them towards his chest. The woman can choose to hold onto his knees or ankles (depending on his flexibility). If she has good hip flexors she can choose to actually squat while riding up and down on his penis. It looks and feels like she has the penis in this position."

Reverse Amazon

Credit: Yeji Kim

If your partner doesn't have the hip flexibility to comfortably be in the Amazon. If their legs keep getting in the way, simply sit backwards. "In this position you'd be in a squat facing away from them," says Play. You can either balance on your feet, knees up, or you can kneel — whatever feels most comfortable for you and your partner.

The Squatting Cowgirl

Credit: Yeji Kim

Zane says that there's no harm, no foul in sticking to your classic cowgirl position if the Amazon is too much. If you want to up the ante a bit you can try including the squatting cowgirl: "This is where the person doing the riding has the soles of their feet planted next to their partner's waist (as opposed to their knees)," says Zane. (It's also called The Great Bee in the tantric sex world.) It gives you all the appeal of trying something new (and still enables that power dynamic) without hurting your body.

Gigi Engle, ACS, is a certified sex educator and writer living in London. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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