Confession: My Love-Hate Relationship with the 69 Position

Our contributor Jewely Hoxie studies Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz (read her blog here). She has this to say about the pros and cons of the 69 position…

I will, with ease and without shame, say that 69 is a profoundly silly position. Sure, it sounds great upon first listen. We both get pleasure at the same time! What’s not to like? But let’s take a moment here. Really think about that. Think about what it takes to make your partner feel crazy good in bed. Think about how you feel when your partner makes you feel crazy good in bed. Let’s not even go into how there’s no way your muscle control is that powerful or how your mind would even handle that! So let’s weigh up the pros and cons…


1. It Never Lives Up to Its Reputation
The expectation of what 69 will feel like can be a let down to the actual physical pleasure conceived from 69.

2. It Makes Giving Less Pleasurable
As it turns out, despite always hearing people say “I give to receive,” performing oral sex makes up my most fond sexy-time affairs. I enjoy building up a rhythm, mixing in different techniques, and basically using my whole body to get the job done. The positioning required for 69 is both physically limiting (e.g., stroking the frenulum while deep throating is nearly impossible at this angle) and mentally distracting.

3. It’s Seriously Distracting
It is important to focus on your own pleasure and tune into your body. For me, this idea is especially true when it comes to oral sex. I need to work a lot harder to have oral stimulation work for me. The simultaneous nature of 69, wanting to make my partner feel good and wanting to appreciate my partner’s techniques at the same time, ends up being too much of a conflict of interest and terribly distracting to be able to really get lost in my own pleasure.

4. It’s Hard to Coordinate
Can you saw awkward anti-rhythm?

5. The View
If you’re of a delicate constitution and are easily taken by surprise: Depending on your positioning and the state of your relationship, 69 has been known to offer you that special first butthole glance with a partner.


1. The Contortions Can Be Fun
69 is also a really silly position in a kind of great way, too. It definitely wins for being the position that elicits the most laughs in my sex life, and I consider that a serious plus — 69 has the beautiful potential of bringing you closer to your partner and easing any anxieties about getting too stuffy and serious about the sex you two are having.

2. The Vulnerability Can Bring You Closer
I suggest waiting to experiment with 69 until you and your partner are really comfortable with one another. Remember, all your undercarriage is going to be full frontal in your partner’s face. I’m not trying to encourage feeling insecure about this (although it’s good manners to please wash all your bits), I’m simply saying that the position does have the possibility of bringing out vulnerable feelings. And I happen to think that’s a good thing!

3. The Sexy Feedback Loop
This is one of the greatest little gifts 69 has to offer: That moment when one partner is breathing/moaning over your genitals — a great response to a job well done, while also being a superb teasing oral sex technique.

4. The View!
If you’re into this: Depending on your positioning and the state of your relationship, 69 has been known to offer you that special first butthole glance with a partner.



  1. Eh. 69’s great! Most people just completely, absolutely, 100% miss the point.

    Look. If I told most anyone who reads this blog that the goal of intercourse was simultaneous orgasms I’d get an earful about old-school that was and how it was a recipe for disappointment, failure, etc. Right? Of course I would! (If nothing else I’d say it myself in comments!)


    Why assume 69 is an automatic failure because ditto?

    Should I stop there? I think I’m going to stop there. I could go on, and on, just like I would if the topic as simultaneous PIV orgasms. Instead I’m going to invite folks to extrapolate: what other possible benefits might there be. (Hint: “erotic” isn’t a synonym for “orgasmic.” See also “foreplay.”)

    Also, about positions. When I was growing up all the sex books listed two choices — man on top or woman on top. Well, only one choice actually — woman on top because men might thrust uncontrollably or something. But back then the only generally accepted positions for intercourse were… man on top missionary (ok if he thrusted) or woman on top missionary. So it was just easier for the often-prim authors to imagine just turning one of the partners around and calling it “soixante-neuf.”

    When I was younger a partner and I discovered instead that you can lie on your sides with bottom knee bent so each partner can pillow their head on the other’s out-turned thigh. And we discovered that in that position one can comfortably lean in to lick or out to talk or watch what the other is doing. We also discovered that by raising or lowering that lower leg our (considerable, I’m tall!) differences in height stopped mattering. We also discovered that while it’s possible to glance at each other’s buttholes (if you lean your heads way in) it’s also possible to get a lovely, new perspective on each other’s genitals. And since side by side is an almost leisurely position you can lazily stimulate each other, together or in turn, for a remarkably long time. Which, the rainy Sunday morning we discovered it, we had plenty of.

    Anyway, I totally get why Jewely and lots of other perfectly sensible people would dislike porn- and sex-manual style “sixty nine.” I don’t much like it that way either. But if you haven’t tried it my way? You seriously don’t know what you’re missing. Put it in your event calendar for next “date night” with your significant other or FWP. (Block out plenty of time. You might use all of it. And for goodness sake don’t ruin it by trying to choreograph “simultaneous orgasms!”)


  2. 69 IS THE WORST. It’s only even semi-comfortable when you and your partner are exactly the same height (otherwise you’re either reaching or crunched-neck contorting) and it’s just way too distracting on one end to really get into it on the other end.

    I still maintain it was only invented to make schoolkids giggle at that one part of the “99 bottles of beer on the wall” song.

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