Pleasurable Positions: Looking at the Best Sex Positions and Acts

Pleasurable Positions: Looking at the Best Sex Positions and Acts

For many sexually active adults, preferred positions vary greatly depending on the partner and circumstance. Go-to positions are often discovered unexpectedly, while former interests and turn-ons can begin to fade. Wanting to know exactly which circumstances catered particularly well to certain sexual positions or acts, we surveyed 500 Europeans and 500 Americans on exactly that.

In choosing the pool of 1,000 participants, we made sure to only gauge opinions from those who had tried all of the eight positions focused on for this study. While the amount of common ground among genders ebbed and flowed throughout, many preferred positions overlapped and proved more popular than others. Read on for all of the intimate details.

Positioned for success

Favourite Sex Positions: Men (Doggy style) vs Women (Cowgirl)

No matter which side of the pond they were on, our 500 European and 500 American respondents had three things in common: Doggy style, cowgirl, and missionary were their favourite sex positions overall.

Though the popularity of these sexual positions varied by gender, they held the top three slots. While 35 percent of men preferred doggy style above all, it took second place among women at 21 percent. Meanwhile, while 30 percent of female respondents dug cowgirl more than anything, their male partners enjoyed their woman-on-top experiences at a rate of 15 percent.

The missionary position was a close third for women and a second-place contender for men. Being a position touted as “one of the classics,” one female respondent said it made her feel safe, and she enjoyed the added spark of being able to make eye contact and lock lips.

One male respondent said he similarly enjoyed the bonus of eye contact, adding that missionary allowed him to control “the depth of his thrust.”

Standing up was dead last, however, at 2 percent. As told by one female respondent, “It almost always requires being pressed up against a wall,” which may simply be too much exertion for the average romp. But don’t give up hope! If you’re interested in keeping it vertical, here are a few tips to help you along.

Getting creative with it

Top Sexual Preferences: Men (Lingerie) vs Women (Toys)

There are many ways to enhance people’s between-the-sheets experiences. Between the genders, though, there were few places where the desire for spice in the bedroom held the same status.

Sex toys occupied the No. 1 slot for female respondents, with 20 percent saying they were a favourite sexual add-on. There are a lot of great reasons to incorporate sex toys into your bedroom routine, with taking pressure off both the user and his or her partner and paving the way to multiple orgasms being among them.

Dirty talk was the second-most popular sexual act for men and women, at 21 and 18 percent respectively. Both genders commented on a heightened sense of fun once dirty talk was thrown into the mix.

One of the largest discrepancies across gender lines was their opinion on anal sex. Fifteen percent of men listed this sexual experience among their favourites, while only 6 percent of women felt the same. Women also gravitated towards BDSM at twice the rate that men did, with one respondent citing trust as an essential part of the experience.

In recent years, the overwhelming popularity of the 50 Shades of Gray franchise has helped introduce the practice of BDSM to the mainstream. If you haven’t yet forayed into BDSM, it’s never too late to start – and you might be surprised at how much good it can do. Studies monitoring partners engaging in BDSM discovered a heightened sense of relationship closeness, a dip in stress levels, and a sense of peacefulness among participants.

Defining "best" in the bedroom

Ideal Positions for the Best Orgasm, Fastest Orgasm, Connecting With a Partner, and Feeling the Sexiest.

For the best orgasm possible, men and women primarily recommended doggy style and cowgirl, respectively. One respondent who identified as a male stated “[doggy style] helps me feel the most dominant,” while another called it “the best position to start with before transitioning to many other positions.” In reference to cowgirl, one female respondent appreciated that it allowed her to “control the pace and the depth.” Another woman said she felt “empowered” by this position.

Our survey also revealed men and women to be very much on the same page when it came to the more emotional aspect of sex. When it came to connecting with their partner, missionary was the overwhelmingly popular choice for both men and women, garnering the highest rate of preference of any category: 52 percent for men and 60 percent for women. As one of the only positions bringing partners face to face and chest to chest, there is a ton of reasons to love missionary’s intimate, romantic nature.

For men, girl-on-top had a distinct appeal regarding sexiness, topping their list at 25 percent. While cowgirl puts women in the driver’s saddle, there are a variety of exciting ways in which men can indulge in this girl power position. Sexiness for all!

Ideal Positions for lasting the longest (Men: Missionary) and multiple orgasms (Women:Cowgirl)

The road to climax, however, can be very different for men and women. Whether the goal was the best orgasm, a quick orgasm, or a series of orgasms, the cowgirl position was an overwhelming favourite among female respondents in all categories but one. While 28 percent reported experiencing their most memorable climaxes in this position, 32 percent of women said it gave them the best chance for multiple orgasms.

While 35 percent of men said that doggy style helps them to achieve orgasm the fastest, the quickest orgasm is often not their main goal. Inversely, prolonging orgasm is often a concern for men, and there are many safe ways for a man to delay ejaculation, as well as a wealth of resources to help combat the issue. In terms of positions to aid this, 25 percent of men said missionary helps them last the longest, followed by cowgirl.

The chance to enhance

Top Sexual Preferences for the Best Orgasm, Fastest Orgasm, Connecting With a Partner, and Feeling the Sexiest.

Women strongly favoured sex toys for two main orgasm-related concerns: quality and quickness. In fact, female respondents were even more sure about their preference for toys than the cowgirl position, yielding higher percentages overall.

Not only are intimate toys great for enhancing pleasure, but also they may offer additional health benefits. These include keeping one’s vagina in proper working order during menopause, replacing traditional dilators for women with vaginismus, and helping men overcome erectile dysfunction. The good news is, there are plenty of discreet ways to acquire an adult toy, including on the web!

Women also formed a unanimous decision regarding the second-most orgasmic add-on: dirty talk. Between 12 and 26 percent of women, depending on the category, said busting out some naughty vocabulary helped enhance their sexual experience. With a little practice and a dose of confidence, you can learn to love it too!

For men, anal sex and dirty talk were the two highest-ranking acts in the orgasm category. When it came to the more emotional categories, the use of lingerie was a big crowd pleaser. Both men and women agreed donning a sexy number was a helpful path to feeling sexy, with 33 percent of men and a whopping 52 percent of women feeling this way.

The joy of lingerie doesn’t have to be relegated to the bedroom, though: Whether between the sheets or on the streets, wearing thoughtfully selected undies has the power to bolster confidence in very real ways.

Finally, to connect most deeply with a partner, 26 percent of women felt dirty talk was the way to go. Dirty talk, in all of its different variety and possibilities, creates an interesting opportunity for intimate connection for all types of relationships. Discovering and delivering what your partner wants to hear in the bedroom (or hearing these things yourself) can provide a sexual experience that is unique and tailored to your relationship and understanding of each other. Often, a disconnection with a partner can be responsible for a low sex drive, which may be another reason to give sexual positions and acts that enhance connection another try.


If one thing is certain, it’s that no two sexual encounters are the same. Preferences based on positions, acts, and romantic touches can shape the way our sex life unfolds with our partner – but we have only explored the tip of the iceberg. Don’t be afraid to dive into even more exciting sexual adventures with a little help from the experts, and have the most gratifying sex possible.

Whether you’re a closet cowgirl with a penchant for dirty talk, or a doggy style aficionado, let Superdrug Online Doctor be your go-to resource for health, beauty, and beyond. You can order everything from face wash to NHS prescriptions (such as the morning after pill) via our website, or talk to our online doctors for all your sensitive questions.


We surveyed 994 respondents, 49 percent of which were European, and 51 percent were American. Fifty-one percent were male, 49 percent were female, and less than 1 percent identified as a gender not listed in our study. Our respondents ranged in ages from 18 to 74, with an average of 36 and a standard deviation of 10.3. All respondents were required to have tried every sex position to take the survey, although not everybody was required to have tried each “act” to weigh in. No statistical testing was performed and, as such, this content is purely exploratory.

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