What Are the Best Intercourse Positions for Shallow Penetration to Avoid Cervical Pain?

This week, a reader wants to know what the best positions for shallow penetration are. Got your own sex or relationship question? Send it to us here and we’ll do our very best to answer it!

Hi Em & Lo,

So me and my boyfriend have been struggling to figure out positions to where he stops hitting my cervix. My cervix opening is only about 3 inches into my vagina and it’s making intercourse very tricky. I do not have a tilted uterus or anything and I got a Paraguard IUD inserted about 3 months ago and my gyno never said anything, except there were complications with my cervix during the procedure. Do you know any tips or positions that might reduce him hitting a shallow cervix? Thank you very much for your time!

— Prob-positioned

Dear P,

First thing’s first: if this cervical discomfort started happening only after you got your IUD, you should definitely speak with your gynecologist about possible IUD-related complications.

Assuming everything’s A-OK with your IUD, let’s move on to the wonderful world of positions:

Not every heterosexual couple fits together perfectly. She might be petite and his penis might be bigger than average. She might be tall and his penis might be smaller than average. One might be slim and the other husky. He might love doggy style but she hates G-spot stimulation. All hetero couples need to work together to find sexual techniques and intercourse positions that they both enjoy comfortably. This requires communication and compromise, things that may not come naturally for people brought up on romance (when it’s right, the sex will be magical) and/or porn (tricky positions produce squirting money shots on demand!).

Obviously, you want to avoid the positions that provide deep penetration. These are often the standard go-to position for guys that usually feel great for them and thus make a lot of appearances in porn: the missionary position (especially with the woman’s legs up and out, or over his shoulders, or bent and back, maybe even as far as her ears!) and doggy style. These are two positions that allow him to thrust away without much restraint, which means your cervix can get a real pounding.

Instead, think of positions that do at least one of two things:

1) Put you in control of the motion.
2) Limit his mobility.

Any position where you’re on top will help you control the thrusting motion, speed and depth. And talk with him about trying to resist bucking up against you like a bronco. You might find Reverse Cowgirl especially effective, since the angle is a little trickier than forward-facing Cowgirl and you can put some weight on his legs with your hands, arms or torso.

But you’ll have the most versatility with positions for shallow penetration in which you’re both lying down fairly flat with your own legs fairly close together. We’re talking:

The Coital Alignment Technique (C.A.T.): read up on it here.

The Reverse Coital Alignment Technique: read up on it here.

Spooning sex: you’re both lying on your sides and he comes in from behind. Keep your legs together for less depth.

Overlapping legs: One of you is on the bottom, the other on top, in a sorted shifted missionary where one of your legs is between your partner’s legs and your other is outside theirs. This means penetration will be aimed off to one side, rather than straight for the cervix.

Perpendicular sex: He’s on his side, you lie on your back perpendicular to him, with your legs over his hips so your genitals line up. This may not work for you, but it’s worth a try.

Lazy doggy: you’re both fairly flat and his legs are on either side of yours.

You can also try Standing-Up sex — it’s the same idea as most of the  above: you’re both flat against each other with an angle of penetration that prevents deep penetration. Just resist the temptation to jump up and wrap your legs around him!

Now, while we’re all for encouraging you to try lots of different positions, we’re also big fans of NOT equating sex with intercourse, especially since so many women have trouble climaxing from intercourse alone. There are many routes to orgasm, and despite conventional wisdom (thanks Freud!), intercourse is not the best/most mature/ideal/only one. Stop thinking of intercourse as the end game of all sexual encounters, and a whole new playing field of sexual possibilities opens up: handwork, oral, sex toys, mutual masturbation, anal play… As long as you both end up at the destination of Pleasured and Satisfied, who cares how you get there?

Striking a pose,
Em & Lo

P.S. Thank you for debunking the myth that all straight women automatically want 7 inches or more in the bedroom.

Rethink intercourse:
8 Ideas for Improving the Old In-Out


  1. please i want to know if it is good to have doggy sex style while you had cervix surgery?

    1. No, doggy style allows for DEEP penetration, which you won’t want if you’ve had cervical surgery. In fact, if you’ve had surgery on your cervix, we’d suggest avoiding intercourse all together for a while to give yourself time to heal. There are plenty of other things you can do sexually that don’t include vaginal penetration.

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