We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Please send your sex and relationship inquiries to email@example.com. Now, onto today’s topic: Being on top when your partner is in a wheelchair.
Q: “Hi, I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now. We both went through some emotional trauma recently and so we haven't had sex very often since we've been together, so we are basically brand new bed partners. He's in a wheelchair (but his member still works great), and I don't have ANY experience on top. I've made him cum fancy-bouncing-porn-star style, but I honestly get nothing out of that but sore thighs. I really want to get better at being on top, but I can't seem to find a comfortable position and I'm too embarrassed to flail around trying to reposition while he's inside of me. I feel so silly because I can't find a way to make our bodies fit. I'm chopping it up to my complete lack of experience on top and I could really use some advice. Thanks!”
A: Thanks for the question! Your email made me realize that I haven’t spent nearly enough time talking about sex at different ability levels. I’m sure you’re all-too-familiar with the misconception that people in wheelchairs can’t have healthy sex lives; I’m glad to have the opportunity to do my part to disprove it!
Now, let’s get to your question. There are a lot of women out there who, like you, feel self-conscious about getting on top. So please know that you’re not alone! Here are seven tips for being on top when your partner is in a wheelchair.
Review The Basics
I wrote an entire article about being on top, but here’s a quick run-down of the major points I made, adapted to suit your situation:
- Don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to be on top. The only things that matters are what feels good for you, and what feels good for your partner.
- Don’t think you need to imitate porn. It’s great that your boyfriend enjoyed the “fancy-bouncing-porn-star move” (love the name, by the way!), but it’s not the only way to ride Cowgirl. You can be much slower or more subtle with your movements, but still have plenty of fun.
- Practice by yourself. If you want to get a sense of how to move your body, you can always practice this position on your own. Get on your knees — you can try on the bed, on the floor, or even on a chair — and practice moving your hips (I’ll get into this more in a moment).
- Experiment with different angles together (again, more on this in a bit).
- Ask him to help guide your hips in the moment, and show you what he likes.
- Get the rest of your body involved. Play with your breasts, hips, and butt.
Remember That Readjusting Is Normal
I didn’t mention this in my original article, but I also wanted to point out that readjusting is a totally normal part of intercourse. You mentioned in your email that you feel like you’re “flailing” when you’re trying to reposition, so it seems like there’s some self-consciousness coming up for you. But you’re always going to need to readjust, in any sex position.
Your bodies naturally move into different angles, or your muscles start to cramp. The good news is that sometime through readjusting, you find a better, more pleasurable angle!
Practice With Your Clothes On
As I mentioned above, if you’re feeling really shy, you can always start off practicing the position on your own. Try to find a chair that’s about the same size as your boyfriend’s wheelchair, and experiment there. Or when he’s not using the chair, you can try it out for a more realistic test-run. The two basic movements to try out are moving your hips back and forth, and moving them in a circle. Even with just these two seemingly simple movements, you can do a lot!
The two of you can also experiment with the position together. I always recommend that couples do clothed test-runs of new sex positions. This helps you figure out how to fit your bodies together, without the pressures of being naked and ready to get at it. Plus, it can be fun to joke and laugh together as you try to figure it out. It’s a good reminder that sex doesn’t have to be so serious. It can be silly and playful too!
So when you’re both in a good mood, ask your boyfriend if the two of you can practice finding the right angles for Cowgirl. Keep your clothes on, and climb on top of him. Practice moving your hips back and forth and in a circle. Try angling your body in different ways, opening your legs further apart or closer together, or holding on to different places. If he has the ability, you can also ask him to put one hand on either side of your hip, and try guiding you. Remember to keep this light and playful!
It’s OK If You Each Like Separate Things
People have very different experiences during intercourse, and that’s perfectly fine. A lot of guys like the fancy-bouncing-porn-star move because it’s physically intense and visually erotic. But it doesn’t work for most women because there’s almost zero clitoral stimulation. You’re lucky if your clit gets a millisecond of contact as you slam back down onto his pelvis. I just wanted to offer this reminder as a way to normalize the fact that the porn star move isn’t great for most women, and help you feel more comfortable with the fact that you and your boyfriend have such different experiences.
Incorporate More Clitoral Contact
One easy way to make Cowgirl more pleasurable for you is to reach down and stroke your clitoris with your fingers. You can also use a toy on yourself. I’m not sure if your partner’s upper-body ability level, but you can always ask him to touch you or hold the toy as well. Even if you’re doing the bouncing move, one of you can hold a finger in place so you slide up and down against it. More clitoral contact will make Cowgirl much more enjoyable for you.
Be Open To Sometimes Getting Yours Separately
A lot of couples have the fantasy about simultaneous orgasm. Most of us are desperate to have an orgasm at the exact same time our partner does. But that’s just not how sex works in real life. I want to encourage you to explore having orgasms at separate times. If your guy likes the fancy-bouncing-porn-star move, you can always do that until he has his orgasm. If you want to have an orgasm, you can ask him to get you off before the two of you move to intercourse. Or you can do the move you like to get yourself to orgasm during intercourse, then move on to the porn star move for him. Or you can wait until he’s had his orgasm to get yours. The more flexible the two of you are around who orgasms when, the more orgasms you’ll both have!
Know That Sex Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
At the end of the day, you may always feel a little self-conscious getting on top. Allow yourself to have those feelings, and don’t beat yourself up about them. But try to remind yourself that it’s OK for sex to not be perfect. It’s never perfect! But those goofy and awkward moments can be just as bonding as the hot, sensual ones.