The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text on sexuality and eroticism written in Sanskrit approximately sometime between 400 BCE and 300 CE. We rarely take sex advice from something so dusty, but the Kama Sutra positions have stood the test of time.
Of course, they can’t all be winners, and we have learned a bit more about women’s pleasure since the time when the only form of a vibrator was riding in a carriage down a bumpy road. But there are some gems to be discovered within its pages.
So we’ve ranked some of the sex positions in the Kama Sutra in order of difficulty. Try them out and let us know how they go, but don’t send us any of the medical bills.
Kama Sutra Sex Positions
1. Closed Box (Uttana Samputa)
The closed box style – more commonly known as missionary – is when the receiving partner lays on their back with their legs open and the penetrating partner kneels between their legs. This one’s an oldie, but hey, the Kama Sutra was written a long time ago!
We’re not reinventing the wheel here (that sex position will come later) but the closed box position is intimate and accessible. Provided your partner doesn’t just stare into the wall like the person below.
2. Impalement (Shulachitaka)
With a name like this, we’re glad we don’t live in a time where jousting was a sport. Starting from the closed box position, the receiving partner lifts a leg so that their foot is near the penetrating partner’s head and their leg is resting against their body.
This allows the penetrating partner to go deeper, so you can stretch out your vagina and your hamstring at the same time. Finally, you can tell your personal trainer that you’ve been doing some yoga.
3. Blossoming (Utphallaka)
For Blossoming,the penetrating partner hoists the receiving partner’s hips while the receiving partner wraps their legs around their waist.
According to the Kama Sutra, this will open up the floral vagina for larger…penis bees? We may gotten distracted during the whole “birds and the bees” talk.
4. Lateral Box (Parshva Samputa)
Lateral box sounds like it’s a position in football, but it takes much less athletic prowess and protective padding. And there’s almost no chance of anyone getting tackled. Almost.
Take the closed box position, roll it over onto the side so that both partners are facing each other, and you’re in a new Kama Sutra position. This position is super intimate and low effort, so it’s perfect for a sleepy Sunday morning.
5. Envelopment (Veshititaka)
If you’re already in the lateral box position, this adjustment requires minimum effort. While both partners are laying down facing each other, the receiving partner crosses one leg over the other. This creates an even tighter grip than even the beefiest Kegel muscles.
Turns out “keep your legs crossed” may have been better sex advice than we thought.
6. Cow (Dhenuka)
The cow position is basically a variation of doggy style. The receiving partner is on all fours while the penetrating partner kneels behind them. Then, the receiving partner arches their back for a better angle.
It’s like the cat and cow poses in yoga, but more “meow” and less “moo.” Just don’t meow so loud that your cat comes in to check on you. Or Bessie.
7. Mare (Vadavaka)
The mare position is more commonly known as the cowgirl position. In this sex position, the penetrating partner lays on their back while the receiving partner hops in the saddle, controlling the depth and rhythm. No shame if a “yee-haw” slips out.
8. Queen of Heaven (Indranika)
The Queen of Heaven is named for the wife of Indra, the King of Heaven in Hindu mythology. The receiving partner lays on their back and the penetrating partner kneels over them and warps their thighs around the receiving partner.
The Kama Sutra says the penetrative partner should then use their hands to open up the vulva to make way for entry. But you can also use your free hands for a sex toy, feeling up your partner, or grabbing a Gatorade to replenish your electrolytes. Serving the queen is hard work.
9. Bull (Virsha)
Grab your spurs and your Stetson, because we’re going back to the ranch. For the Bull position (also known as reverse cowgirl) the penetrating partner lays out their back while the receiving partner straddles them facing towards their feet.
It’s a bit tougher to get the angle of entry right than the mare position, but it’s worth it for the booty-ful view.
10. Expanding (Vijrimbhitaka)
Dust off the Jane Fonda VHS before attempting this one. You’re going to start in the lateral box position, lying down and facing each other. But now, the receiving partner lifts up their top leg into a leg lift position.
According to the Kama Sutra, Expanding opens up the vagina for deeper penetration. How long you can hold this position is another matter. You may be limping the next day for more than one reason.
11. Full-Pressed (Piditaka)
In Full-Pressed, the receiving partner lays on their back and pulls their knees into their chest. The penetrative partner kneels in front of them and lifts up their partner’s hips onto their thighs, with the receiving partner’s feet on their chest.
Try placing a pillow under the receiving partner’s hips to take the pressure off those elder millennial knees.
12. Yawning (Jrimbhitaka)
For Yawning, begin in the missionary position. Have the receiving partner lift their legs onto the penetrating partner’s shoulders so their knees are on their shoulders. If the receiving partner doesn’t have Taylor Swift-long legs, it may be easier for them to rest their legs on the other person’s arms instead.
If you can get the angles right, this position can allow for deep penetration. But for a position called yawn, you’d think it’d require a lot less effort.
13. The Milk and Water Embrace (Kshiraniraka)
The penetrating partner sits in a kneeling position and the receiving partner back-back-backs it up to sit on the penetrating partner. Then both partners have their hands free and close access to feel each other up while you have a Prince Royce song stuck in your head.
According to the Kama Sutra, to really make it a milk and water embrace, you have to avoid thinking about any pain or hurt. So no biting. (Ok, maybe some small nibbles.)
14. Tripod (Tripadam)
In the Tripod position, both partners stand facing each other. The receiving partner lifts their leg up on the penetrating partner’s waist and the penetrative partner can hold them close.
15. Lotus (Padmasana)
If you’ve done the Lotus yoga position, you’ll be familiar with this one. But don’t get banned from your yoga class by practicing there. The penetrating partner sits cross-legged and the receiving partner sits on their lap with their legs wrapped around their partner.
You can’t get any closer than facing each other with your legs wrapped together like pretzels. Plus, your hands are free to take full advantage of all the erogenous zones.
16. Bent (Bhagnaka)
For Bent, the receiving partner lays on their back with their legs bent and open. The penetrating partner gets into a squat position between their legs. This sex position allows for deep penetration.
If you can hold this position long enough for anyone to orgasm, your hip flexors belong in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum.
17. The Broken Flute (Venudaritaka)
Start in the Impalement position with the receiving partner laying on their back with their foot on their partner’s shoulder. The receiving partner then switches to have the other leg up, back and forth until they’re all can-canned out.
The change in pressure will feel amazing. Using a helmet to protect the penetrating partner against getting kicked in the head is optional, but encouraged. Especially for the first time around.
18. Lift (Janukurpara)
This one’s for our power lifters out there. The penetrating partner lifts up the receiving partner, who then wraps their legs around the waist.
Getting that close face-to-face is very intimate, but it may be hard to keep a sexy look on your face instead of looking like you’re executing a CrossFit move. To make it a little easier, have the receiving partner lean against a wall for more support.
19. The Spin (Paravrittaka)
The goal of this one may be more the exhilaration of success than orgasm. But it’s never too late to bring some circus tricks into a relationship, right?
Start with the penetrating partner seated upright with their legs out flat.The receiving partner sits on their lap facing out, then, during penetration, does a 180 spin to face their partner. Keep spinning until the angle works for you, or until you get too dizzy.
20. Suspended Union (Sthitarata)
In this position, the penetrating partner is standing and leaning against the wall. The receiving partner climbs up on the penetrating partner and wraps their legs around them. Or, in the advanced version, places their feet in their partner’s hands.
From there, you can go right into your Bring It On-inspired routine.
21. Hanging (Avalambitaka)
This one is similar to the suspended union, if that one wasn’t enough for you. The penetrating partner stands against a wall, the receiving partner climbs up, and this time the receiving partner places their legs against a wall.
If you can get your hands on some rock climbing harnesses (or a sex swing tbh), that could help. Belay away!