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Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013

Sex Positions for Larger or Older People

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I recently ran into a colleague who had a question for me to answer: What are some good sex positions or sex position aides for people who are larger and/or older? Especially for someone with a bit of a belly?

This came on the heels of a question that I received during a sex Q&A session at a conference for college students, which basically amounted to, “Do people continue to have sex when they get older, and if so, how?” This might have been inspired by Miley Cyrus’s recent declaration that no one over 40 has sex, coupled with the fact that most of the “sexy” or sexual images we are shown do, indeed, feature young, thin people. It’s distressing to me that young people worry about whether they’ll have sex when they get older, while people who are older and/or larger have trouble finding sex resources that speak to them. Let’s try to remedy that a bit, shall we?

Everyone’s body is different, so there’s no single magic sex position that I would universally recommend for everyone of a particular body type or age. Some general concerns that people share are comfort (both physical and psychological), ease of access to the genitals or other erogenous areas and avoiding strain on the joints and back.

Sex position aides, like Liberator wedges, ramps and other sex furniture, can help with these issues. We’re all like Goldilocks when it comes to surfaces on which to have sex—we don’t want it too hard, since that can cause pain and discomfort, but we also don’t want it too soft, because that can make it difficult to move around, gain leverage and get access to the areas we want to stimulate. Wedges and ramps are designed to have “just right” firmness for sex, which is actually pretty firm—firmer than the standard mattress that’s comfortable for sleeping. Wedges and ramps can also elevate the hips, which allows easier access to genitals, and can reduce strain on the knees, back, wrists and neck of both “giving” and “receiving” partners. Decent sex position aides aren’t cheap, but they really are a worthwhile investment if you’re having difficulty finding comfortable sex positions.

There are many different types of sex positions to try, so let’s concentrate for now on a couple that might be good for a person with a large belly, as requested. Lying on your back with your hips elevated and allowing belly fat to fall upwards toward your head can help make access to the genitals easier. A supported doggie-style/rear entry position may also work—if you are the penetrating partner, lift your belly and rest it on your partner’s rump. You can also experiment with non-traditional sex positions—what’s a comfortable way for your genitals, mouths and/or hands to connect? Lying on your sides? Facing each other? Facing the same direction? There are no “right” or “wrong” sex positions, only what works for you and your partners.

Two great resources for more information are Hanne Blank’s recently revised book Big Big Love: A Sex and Relationships Guide for People of Size (And Those Who Love Them) and Dr. Ruthie’s videos about sex positions that don't put too much strain on backs/joints (Part 1 and Part 2). Seriously, Hanne conjures up a badass fat superhero in her book and Dr. Ruthie wears devil horns and draws stick figures in her videos—these are some awesome, awesome resources!

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

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