Positions and practices to try if you hate going on top

Words by Hannah Cole

Find sexual empowerment, no matter your preferences.

Let’s face it, some of us just aren’t that into being on top. It might make you feel empowered and confident, or it might bring up the exact opposite feelings. We are complicated and unique beings, defined by our personal preferences and ever-changing emotions.

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Despite what almost every portrayal of sex on TV ever would have you believe, it’s really not that big a deal if don’t want to be on top. According to sex coach Georgia Grace, a lot of us out there have similar hesitations, and there are plenty of alternative positions and practices to try instead.

Why do I hate going on top?

While the media makes going on top look extremely pleasurable, desirable and sexy, for some of us, it just isn’t. As Georgia tells me, it’s very common. “People may feel self-conscious about the way they look, it may be too vulnerable knowing someone can see them, they may not like how their body is moving,” she offers.

“It could also be about sensation: it may feel uncomfortable, painful, boring, or they may just not like it.” This may be a one-off occurrence – maybe it’s simply not right in that moment – or something that you generally don’t want to do. Whichever it is, it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed about. 

Gaining self-confidence in sex

For those of us who struggle with self-confidence in sex, Georgia reminds us that even the most sexually confident people feel self-conscious at times. “We need to normalise this,” she shares.  

To help overcome these feelings within intimate relationships, Georgia suggests speaking to your partner as a starting point. “Let them know how you feel and if there’s anything they can do to support you,” she says, adding it’s important that you feel comfortable.

“Then there’ll be a bit of solo work, examining and challenging the values you have about sex that are no longer serving you. I.e. ‘I don’t deserve pleasure because I don’t look a certain way’ or ‘I can’t have sex when I look like this’.”

Additionally, Georgia recommends culling any sex-negative messages. “Unfollow anyone who makes you feel like shit and start following sex-positive accounts that celebrate human sexuality,” she suggests. Discuss these thoughts with your friends, don’t be afraid to seek professional support if needed or consider other learning avenues (like this online course by Normal). 

Alternatives to going on top

Entangled with the act of going on top is the perception of empowerment and control. Understandably, that’s something many of us want to achieve and feel in our sex lives. While Georgia recommends that we each explore what makes us feel both good and comfortable, she does highlight a few ways to increase self-confidence and bring a similar confidence into the bedroom. 

Firstly, save those sex-positive affirmations. Screenshot and set them as a background when you’re not feeling it, almost as a mini pep talk and mood booster. Georgia has some great ones available for your visual and sexual pleasure on her Instagram. My favourite? “I am really fucking sexy”, complete with a psychedelic backdrop.

She also suggests we keep a sex journal. “Process, write and reflect on how you’re feeling about your body, [getting it] out of your head and onto paper,” she notes.

Another approach is to engage in exercises that familiarise yourself with your sexual cues, as a way to better understand your body and desires, and explore your sexuality. 

Remember, building your body confidence involves lots of small, gradual shifts over time. As you start to develop your confidence, Georgia suggests asking your partner not to look at certain parts. “It’s a process,” she says, “and often an ongoing inquiry.” 

Let’s get physical

In terms of practical actions, she also shared the following tips.

  • Try using a blindfold or starting on top with the lights off.
  • Explore seated sex using a chair or the edge of the bed.
  • Doggy style, “or anything from behind lying down or on your side.”
  • Remember, it’s not just about penetration. Use toys while on top, play around with grinding, dry humping or oral on top.
  • Mutual masturbation.
  • Close missionary, keeping your bodies touching.
  • Practising eye contact, trying any position that helps you maintain it. 

Importantly, Georgia reminds us that you should never push through something you aren’t comfortable with. “Consent is essential in all sexual experiences,” she says. Use this as a time of personal discovery and, most importantly, remember to have fun with it.

For more on having better sex, head here.

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