It’s no secret that sex makes you happier—in fact, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder found that people who had sex at least once a week were 44 percent more likely to be happy than people who didn’t get down at all. No shocker there, right?
And like getting fit or climbing the career ladder, a better sex life does actually take some work. But it’s worth it: Couples who put effort into their sex lives have stronger relationships, new research from the University of Toronto suggests.
So add these 12 bomb sex positions to your to-do list for the next year. Challenge yourself to try one each month. We promise it’ll be the smartest resolution you’ve ever made.
1. The Cat
Why it’s awesome: This twist on missionary position increases clitoral stimulation for you, says sex researcher Nicole Prause, Ph.D. In fact, past research has found that women who had trouble reaching orgasm during the missionary position were more likely to orgasm while using the coital alignment technique.
How to try it: Start in the missionary position and have him shift his body up and over to one side. He should rock forward and back instead of thrusting up and down to help him maintain direct contact with your clitoris, says Prause.
2. The Ottoman Empire
Why it’s awesome: It’s versatile, says sex counsellor Eric M. Garrison, author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex. You get to control the depth and speed, but it allows him to thrust at the same time, which can be hard to do with a bed fully underneath him, he says. Plus, both of his hands are totally free, so he can tease your erogenous zones or incorporate a sex toy. (Try out this vibrating ring if you want to go that route—it fits perfectly against your clitoris.)
How to try it: Have your man lie back on an ottoman (without wheels!) so it supports his entire back. Then straddle him, so you can move up and down. If he has a strong core, he can move half way down the ottoman, which gives him more freedom to thrust.
For a twist, kneel between his legs and perform oral sex, or straddle his face while he performs oral on you.
3. The Chair
Why it’s awesome: If you haven’t mastered standing positions, ease into them with this one. Plus, it provides intense and deep penetration for you, says Garrison.
How to try it: He should lean his back against the wall as though he's doing a wall sit. His legs should be bent almost to a right angle, but close enough that you can straddle him, says Garrison.
While it might take more concentration for him to keep his balance, his hands are free to rest on your hips, play with your breasts, or stroke your back as he thrusts. Depending on your height, your feet might not touch the floor. If it gets too tiring for him, form a tripod by dropping one of your feet to the floor, which makes it easier on his legs.
4. The Maypole
Why it’s awesome: It’s a bit wild and the challenge can feel really exhilarating, says Garrison. Plus, your clitoris will rub against his pubic bone, making it extra pleasurable for you.
How to try it: Starting from the chair position, wrap your legs around him. Then, lean back. With his hands beneath your butt, he can lift you up and move to an almost-standing position. Have him lift you up and down on his shaft. Hint: Keeping his legs bent will help him maintain his energy.
5. The Twist and Shout
Why it’s awesome: This position is slow and encourages deeper penetration. It’s also super intimate because you’re able to see his body while maintaining eye contact, says Garrison.
How to try it: Have him lie on his back as if he's ready to do a sit-up, but with one leg extended out and the other bent. Then, straddle one of his legs. You'll be able to move up and down his penis, controlling the depth and speed. Depending on which side his penis naturally curves, you can sit and grind against him in the opposite direction of the curve, which should feel great for both of you.
6. Cradled Cowgirl
Why it’s awesome: This position is great for when you want clitoral stimulation while still maintaining the closeness and intimacy other face-to-face positions bring, says sex researcher Jessica Wood, Ph.D.
How to try it: Instead of assuming the traditional sitting-up cowgirl position, lie forward so that your face is cradled into his neck. This can help align your bodies to provide more direct clitoral stimulation.
This will leave his hands free to hold your hips. For added pleasure, he can reach around and stimulate your butt, if you're into that, says Wood. If not, here are nine other secret erogenous zones you can suggest that he touch.
7. Backdoor Oral
Why it’s awesome: “This can be a different sensation than typical oral sex positions, as you are coming at it from behind rather than in front,” says Wood.
How to try it: With your knees bent, lie on your stomach and place a pillow under your hips, which will help lift your butt up so he will have easier access to your vulva, says Wood. This also leaves his hands free to insert a finger or two into your vagina for some internal stimulation at the same time.
8. Doggy Angle
Why it’s awesome: It’s a great twist on the classic doggy style position, but it doesn’t require as much strength or flexibility from both of you, says Moushumi Ghose, a licensed marriage therapist and author of Classic Positions Reinvented. Plus, from this angle, it’s a bit easier for you or him to manually stimulate your clitoris.
How to try it: Lie face down with your butt raised in the air for easy access. His legs should be close together inside yours. For more support, you can place a pillow under your stomach or prop yourself up with your forearms. To make it more intense, have him place his hands on his back or hips so he can thrust with more force.
9. The Double Decker
Why it’s awesome: This is an easy transition from any woman-on-top position, says Ghose. Plus, this angle lets your man see your body react to his thrusting and his hands are free to roam your whole body—from your breasts all the way down to your clitoris.
How to try it: Start in reverse cowgirl. Lean back until you're propped on your elbows, with your back on his chest and your arms supporting your body weight. Have him hold you at your waist to maintain more control over the rhythm of the thrusting.
10. The Galley
Why it’s awesome: Watching you take charge can be thrilling for him, says Ghose. Plus, if you're into anal play, he can use his fingers from this position. This also gives you an opportunity to use a sex toy on your clitoris.
How to try it: This is a variation of reverse cowgirl. Have him sit with his legs forward and lean back on his arms. Then you will lie facedown on his legs with your head near his feet and straddle him at the hips, using your arms for support. Your legs should be stretched out behind you, but can be bent at the knees for more support. He can place his hands on your butt and push you back and forth here, suggests Ghose.
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11. The Twisted Spoon
Why it’s awesome: This spooning variation provides deep penetration but isn’t physically taxing like doggy style, says Robin Milhausen, Ph.D., a professor of human sexuality at the University of Guelph in Canada. Plus, it creates more tension in both of your bodies, which easily amps up arousal, she says.
How to try it: Both of you will lie on your sides with you facing away from him. Raise your top leg in the air. You should hold on to your raised leg’s ankle while he thrust from behind. To really get going, your man can stimulate your breasts or clitoris or use a sex toy while he thrusts.
12. The Duet
Why it’s awesome: “Masturbation is one of the best ways to get to know your own body, how you experience pleasure, and ultimately how a partner can satisfy you. This is a fast track to teaching your partner what works best for you and feels great at the same time,” says Amie Harwick, Ph.D., a California-based marriage and family therapist and author of The New Sex Bible for Women.
How to try it: Ask your partner to touch himself while you touch yourself, says Harwick. If he's shy at first, sit in front of him and lean your back into his chest to make it more comfortable and less invasive feeling.
You can start by touching his body as his masturbates and gradually start touching yourself, so you both end up engaging in masturbation.
This article appeared on Women's Health US