The phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" applies to sex, too. Going through all the same motions in the bedroom, time and time again, doesn't exactly help in the love department. Relationship experts recommend keeping things spontaneous, whether that means trying a different time, place, sex position, or just generally being more adventurous in bed. The goal is to avoid falling into a cycle of boring "duty" sex, but also to foster healthy habits in a long-term relationship.
We asked eight real women for their favorite sex moves, then consulted sex experts for their tips on how to upgrade your own go-to moves so they feel new and exciting. In short, it doesn't take a Kama Sutra master to have better sex, it's really about breaking from habit, exploring the unknown, and enhancing what already works.
Julia, 25, writer
Favorite position: My favorite is upright, from behind—think steamy shower, bent over one leg up on the edge of the tub.
What makes it so hot: The running water and upright position make it feel urgent (in a good way), the angle is just right for me, and it's perfect for spontaneous, quick and dirty sex or taking your time (falling into bed for round two afterwards all clean and warm feels great). Also, this position always pulled double-duty for me and my boyfriend when we were long distance. I have many sexy memories of seeing him again after a long separation and immediately hopping in the shower together to wash off the airplane grime and enjoy a sweet reunion.
Fun prop: I love a good unisex shower gel, like Neutrogena Rainbath. It's perfectly musky and great for lathering each other up.
Danielle, 26, photographer
Favorite position: We're in a spooning position, and he moves onto his knees behind me and continues thrusting from there.
What makes it so hot: Other than it making me come almost instantly, it's always a surprising move that helps us branch out from missionary. We often transition to doggy style or cowgirl after that.
Fun prop: A little vibrator like the Dame Fin, otherwise it's hard to reach my clit in this spot (it's usually not needed though).
Ana, 24, publicist
Favorite position: I'm straddling him, reverse-cowgirl style, while he's propped up on his back in the bathtub and I'm bracing myself against the sides or the wall.
What makes it so hot: I love it because I get to take charge and control the angle, and the warm water helps us relax. It's also a nice change of pace from the routine, so usually we'll try it when we're on vacation (since no one actually wants to clean their bathtub at home). The ambience is really sexy since everything's candlelit and the water and soap naturally get everything going down there.
Fun prop: Candles, bubbles, and bath oil. Just make sure you don't slip around too much when you're moving around (and prepare to get your knees a little bruised if you're trying it in a smaller space)!
Maya, 26, executive assistant
Favorite position: We're standing. I face my boyfriend and wrap my legs around his torso. He puts his hands beneath my butt and lifts me up and down while thrusting into me. I call it "The Claw."
What makes it so hot: I'm a very independent woman, but I occasionally love being dominated. My partner is in total control here—I don't have to do a thing! It may be a physically demanding position for him, but it makes me feel virtually weightless—and totally orgasmic.
Fun prop: The Claw is even more fun when you're greased up, so slick yourselves down with Johnson's Baby Oil Gel beforehand. But practice it dry a few times first so you don't get hurt!
Akynos, 24, internet sex columnist/model
Favorite position I'm flat on my back. He slides on top of me and—OK, I admit it! The position that always does it for me is missionary!
What makes it so hot: It may seem like a tame choice for a sex columnist, but I just love looking into a guy's eyes while we're having sex. And it's not like I just lie there—I love to grab his butt and draw him as deeply as I can inside of me so that I can feel every inch of him. I never get bored of climaxing like this. But men, be warned: If your mouth isn't all over my lips and neck, you're wasting my time!
Fun prop: Try a little fresh air! When I was a teenager, I got it on with a guy on a rooftop in our neighborhood. I was so naïve—I didn't think anyone would see us up there. But the news got back to my mother, and all hell broke loose. Still, it's a sexy thing to think back on...and I still love doing it outside.
Majesta, 28, nurse's assistant/nanny
Favorite position: I lie on my back with my legs over my boyfriend's shoulders. He leans forward with his chest resting on the backs of my thighs and plunges in and out of me. I tend to make a lot of noise, so we refer to it as "The Scream Machine."
What makes it so hot: It allows for deeper penetration than almost any other position—and definitely leads to the most intense orgasms.
Fun props: Strawberries, whipped cream, and champagne make for unbelievable foreplay. I suggest a hands-off policy while we eat, which my guy usually agrees to at first. But as he watches me sip champagne and pop cream-covered strawberries into my mouth, he goes crazy. By the time the last strawberry is gone, so are our clothes!
Afinity, 27, administrative coordinator
Favorite position: My fiancé, Allen, and I kneel on the floor with a couch or bed in front of us to brace ourselves. He's behind me, and I spread my legs a little wider than his for balance. He penetrates me from behind. I nicknamed this "The Reverse Allen," because it's a variation on another amazing position he came up with. He's very creative!
What makes it so hot: It makes me feel like the sexiest woman on earth, because it pushes my chest out and pulls my stomach in so my body looks fantastic. And there are endless variations. During one recent quickie, I led Allen's hand to my hair so he could tug on it. It was such a huge turn-on that I climaxed within seconds.
Fun props: I love sliding on stockings and sky-high heels before sex. Nothing looks hotter than when I'm wearing only these.
Rachel, 27, fitness coach
Favorite position: I'm riding him while his legs are draped over the side of the bed and I'm leaning back slightly and arching my back.
What makes it so hot: I feel like a rockstar because my entire body's on display and I'll admit that it's always more engaging for me when I'm making eye contact with my boyfriend. He likes to brace himself against my shoulder or grab my chest when we're in the thick of it.
Fun props: It's pretty simple, but I always go for a really lacy or sheer lingerie set, especially when we start out in this position. He either can't wait to get me out of them or I'll leave the top half rolled down around my waist for some peek-a-boo action.
How to Upgrade Classic Sex Positions
The Kama Sutra contains a nearly exhaustive (literally) selection of positions to choose from, but most of us stick to a few tried-and-true basics, says Tracey Cox, author of The Hot Sex Handbook. Below, she and Shindy Chen, author of erotica novel The First Time, recommend several sex tips for making the same-old routine feel anything but ordinary—especially if you happen to be more of a creature of habit than a sexual adventurer:
Cox: Place a pillow underneath your butt. Instead of simply lying back as he thrusts in and out of you, sit up halfway, lift your butt, and then slowly lean backward. Repeat until one of you climaxes.
Chen: For women who find it difficult to reach orgasm in the missionary position, I recommend helping yourself along to orgasm by stimulating your clitoris while he's on top. Just the visual alone of you touching yourself will be a feast for his eyes. During missionary your partner can leave just enough space in between your bodies so that you can slip your hand in between, reach down, and slowly stroke your own clitoral area (or C-spot) to the rhythm of his strokes, building yourself up to orgasm; with a little bit of practice it's a great way to time reaching your orgasms together.
Woman On Top
Cox: Move your body in small circles as you lift and lower your pelvis. Have him sit up, with his legs straight out in front of him. Lower yourself onto his penis and sit with your knees bent, facing him, with your feet flat on the floor.
Cox: Rather than kneel, lie facedown on the bed, with your legs spread. He lies on your back and penetrates you from behind. Try having him stand behind you while you gradually—and carefully!—lean forward until your hands touch the floor.
Chen: While on all fours, with your partner behind you, either instruct your partner to reach around, or guide your partner's hand around your hips. Qith a finger or two begin gently stroking your C-spot while you're being penetrated from behind. Done properly, slowly, and gently, you can build up to an explosive orgasm.
Cox: Grind your body against his penis, bending from the waist and moving your upper torso downward. Reach around to fondle him while he's moving in and out of you.
Chen: Grab him by the balls—he'll be happy you did. Just like a man has pleasure receptors in his anus, these same happy sensors extend to his testicles. If you find yourself on top or on bottom and you've got a free hand, slowly and softly grab and rub his balls while you're riding him. Or, if you're on bottom, reach for his balls as he's penetrating you during deeper strokes. Give them a gentle tug and notice his immediate pleasure receptors.
Flat Doggie Style
Put two-three pillows under your stomach and hips so you're elevated. Instead of putting your legs on either side of your partner, snake them between theirs so that they can enter you with your legs closed. Penetration is super deep, without being uncomfortable. This position keeps you and your partner super close, which makes for amazing skin-on-skin contact and deep make-outs.
Have your partner sit on the bed and climb onto their lap. Slide onto them, face-to-face. The classic lotus (seated face-to-face) is a tantric favorite because of its intensity. This position is both easy to do and very intimate. It allows for deep, passionate kissing and clitoral stimulation, either manually or with a toy. Instead of bouncing up and down on your partner, move your hips back and forth to get the most stimulation.
Spooning is a tried and true classic sex position, but it can be hard to get your clitoris involved when both of your legs are closed in front of you. Instead of having your partner lie directly behind you, have them lie beneath your legs while you lie on your back. They should be perpendicular to your body, creating a T-shape between the two of you. Drape your legs over their side and open your knees. You’ll have optimal clit access while keeping this lazy position intact. Everyone wins in this position. Everyone gets off, and no one gets exhausted.