By Katherine Speller
An all-too-common hallmark of life in a human body after 25: back pain. Despite stretches and regular workouts, CBD rubs or expert-recommended products meant to give your sore back some relief, it’s estimated that something like 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). And, it’s understandable that this pain (like any other pain) might interfere with physical activities — whether it’s working out, carrying groceries or even sex.
So if you’ve been experiencing back pain and it’s starting to interfere with your sex life, you might be looking for some sex positions that will still be comfortable for you and your partner. Your first order of business should be to stop and change positions if you experience anything that doesn’t feel good (don’t play through the pain, in sex! It’s not worth it!) and, if you’re continually experiencing back pain in intercourse, check in with your doctor and ask them what they’d recommend. It might feel embarrassing, but medical professionals have undoubtedly heard it all before and only want to keep you (and/or your partner(s)) from hurting more.
Your next step is to talk with your partner and feel out what positions best suit your individual needs.
“Understandably, the limitations brought about by back pain may produce stress that can damage a relationship. The person who doesn’t have the pain often finds it difficult to understand what his or her partner is experiencing. The negative effects that pain has been causing in a couple’s sex life can sometimes spill over into other aspects of the relationship,” according to Robert Duvall, DPT for Spine-Health. “Good communication is critical. Otherwise, one partner may mistakenly interpret a reluctance to engage in sexual activity as an excuse for not wanting to be close, which can lead to feelings of rejection and resentment.”
Otherwise, if you and your partner are looking to find the right positions for your bodies and their unique aches and pains, here are a few positions that might be the right fit.
For both receiving and penetrating partners, doggie-style can be a great way to maximize control over the angles you’re both in. For the penetrating partner, you can opt to be standing or kneeling (adjusting depending on where you might be experiencing strain). For the receiving partner, you can choose to be on your hands, elbows or over a wedge pillow for a bit more comfort.
This can be particularly useful if you feel strain bending forward or sitting.
A lazy person’s favorite position for myriad reasons, spooning is a low impact way to rut it out without anyone exerting themselves too much. If you allow the penetrating partner to enter from the rear (and you use your pillows, cushions at your disposal to make sure everyone feels as supported as need be), you can get some great grinding sensations and some deep penetration without over-extending anyone.
Another great beginner’s move that can be repurposed for sore bodies, missionary position is one of the easiest options for keeping a back supported. Using a pillow (particularly a nice sex-friendly lumbar support one) or a rolled up towel, you can offer a bit more support the lower back of the receiving partner. Keeping that lower back area supported and not flat against the bed can help reduce the amount of flexion at your back and reduce the pain.
(However, if your penetrating partner is the one with the back pain missionary may not be the move.)
This goes for just about any position you and your partners like — whether you’ve got back pain or not. You can and should modify a position to make it more comfortable. Consider how you move with your hips and your knees (rather than your spine) and be as attentive as possible to thing positions that activate any of your sore spots or those of your partner (ex: maybe go for more of a comfortable grind than a bounce when you’re on top).
And, finally: You can always, always find a way to access the areas you want and give and receive pleasure (even if it’s not through penetrative intercourse) and no orgasm is worth causing you any extra (unwanted) pain along the way.