The Best (and Worst!) Sex Positions, According to a Chiropractor

Grant Kratzer/Thrillist (Edited)
Grant Kratzer/Thrillist (Edited)

The last thing you're thinking about when in the throes of passion is throwing out your back. But the truth is you don’t have to go full Cirque du Soleil in the bedroom in order to do some pretty gnarly damage to your bod. So which positions do the most damage? We got ahold of Dr. Dean Larit, an actual chiropractor with a practice in North Hollywood, to give us his take on how to bone without hurting yours.

Grant Kratzer/Thrillist

Getting rear-ended is good for you

The boys are going to love this one. Dr. Larit says that many popular rear-entry positions provide optimal stability and safety to your bones and joints. So this covers your standard doggy style and what I’m terming the “Naughty Secretary,” which could be any position in which the female partner is bent over, say, a table or sofa. For the woman, “She’s in a pretty good position to protect the lumbar spine,” or lower back, Dr. Larit says. A slight arching motion pretty much imitates the natural curvature of that part of the body. So as long as we ladies don’t hyper-extend, the doc says we’re in pretty good shape. For the fellas, these sorts of positions provide “great pelvic flection and extension,” and that rocking back and forth is “really good for lower-back pain.” So as it turns out, doing it from the back is actually good for your back. Thank you Dr. Dean! 

Mission accomplished

While it may be the most vanilla of sex positions, the tried-and-true missionary position is as good for you as you’d expect. No major risks (or excitement) for any of the parties involved. But Dr. Larit does recommend that the woman wrap her legs around her partner, you know, to prevent from spreading her hips too wide.

Sex, pain pills, and rock ‘n’ roll

Perhaps a little selfishly, I asked the doc what he thought of the “rock ‘n’ roll” position, aka the “Deep Stick,” which is when the man is on his knees on top of the woman, and her legs are straddled over his shoulders. Turns out the worst thing about this position is probably those ridiculous names. This position presents no issues for the dudes; however, women may want to exercise slight caution. Ladies will want to make sure their lower back is flat on some sort of cushioned surface or being supported in their partner’s thigh area. And for those of you into heavy metal, mind how hard and fast you’re keeping the beat. If a woman’s back isn’t being properly supported, “all that hard back and forth won’t be good,” Dr. Larit says.

Grant Kratzer/Thrillist

Easy there, cowgirl

While having the woman on top is great for easy and consistent G-spot stimulation, her hips and back may be screaming out for their own stimulation the morning after. Fan favorites like cowgirl and reverse cowgirl can be tricky, especially “if the guy has some size to him, as in the space from the left side to the right side of his body,” warns Dr. Larit. Most sex-related injuries are sustained by women from “sitting on top straddling [too wide].”

"Fight Fire" and feel the burn

The "Fight Fire" position is one you’ve probably done without realizing. In this position the woman lays on her side, raises one of her legs and rests it on her partner’s shoulders while he straddles the other leg on his knees. It’s exciting without getting too acrobatic. Only problem is this kind of screwing can really screw up a girl’s alignment. “When [the male partner] is pumping, he is going to hit her ischial tuberosity, which is the bone that you sit on,” explains Dr. Larit. Ouch. You’re also “torquing the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joint.” Yikes.

Don’t show me the money

Standing at 5’11”, I cannot express the overwhelming and relatively rare sense of joy that comes when a guy literally swoops me off my feet for a perfect Jerry Maguire reenactment. Even if the sex itself is just blah, there’s something about getting picked up off the ground that will cause any woman to remember that partner fondly. Unfortunately, Dr. Larit discourages anything of the sort given the dangers it presents to a man’s lower back. If you just can’t help yourself, he advises you to “lift from your legs and hips, and make sure she’s not... in your weight class.”

So as a chiropractor, does Dr. Larit keep all his medical knowledge in mind when he’s in the act? “Absolutely,” he says, but he “[tries] to change positions quite a bit-- variety is the safest thing you can do.” So mix it up! Doctor’s orders.

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Julia Reiss is a writer and stand-up comedian whose favorite sex position is the one where the guy texts back. Follow her on Twitter: @thereisspiece.