Because of fetishism and Western exoticism surrounding the manuscript, the Kama Sutra, written by Indian philosopher Vatsyayana, has garnered a lot of attention for its detail of what seems like every sex position ever (some waaaay more adventurous than others). But that’s entirely not the point of it.
“It originally had very little to do with sex,” says Gigi Engle, a certified sex coach. “Sex has become very much equated with the Kama Sutra, but really, it’s a spiritual book.” In fact, the guide is all about sustaining relationships—with only one section dedicated to actual positions.
That said, the section is a hefty one. It’s packed with A TON of sex positions that promote emotional intimacy between partners by way of touch and physical connection. The ancient text even teaches that men should prioritise a woman’s pleasure over their own (hear hear!), by focusing on making sure she climaxes before even thinking about their own orgasm.
And while the next-level positions are intriguing, Engle wouldn’t recommend most of them...unless you are super agile and athletically inclined. The ones that are worth focusing on (if you count yourself among us unflexibles), she says, are the simpler moves that don’t involve crazy backbends or put you at risk of pulling a hammy.
“It’s not so much about going in and being able to do all of these different positions; it’s more about finding ones that you can adapt,” Engle says. It's more important that you come into the night (or morning, or bathroom quickie) with enthusiasm, as “that’s what sets apart good sex from great sex,” she assures. At the end of the day, experimentation is all about being present with your partner and showing each other that you’re willing to give it your best shot.
Now that you know that...ready to give these 10 Kama Sutra sex positions a whirl?
1. The Om
Called Padmasana or Lotus in the original Kama Sutra text, this passionate position is one that, according to Engle, is best done by grinding against your partner for clitoral stimulation, rather than bouncing up and down. If you're on top of your partner you can lower yourself onto their penis or a dildo, or if penetration's not your thing, you can rub up against them for outercourse.
Do It: Your partner sits cross-legged (yoga-/pretzel-style); you sit in their lap facing them. Wrap your legs around them and hug each other for support.
This is a good choice if you and your partner aren't especially flexible since the move only requires that you can bend at the waist. And "if you have a height difference, you can put a couple of pillows underneath the other person, or you can utilise a sex pillow," says Engle.
Do It: With your partner sitting on their knees, lie back with your legs resting on each of your partner's shoulders.
3. Magic Mountain
While this scissoring-type move lends itself to penetration, it's also a great one for girl-on-girl sex, where partners can manually stimulate each other with either a toy or their hands.
Do It: Your partner sits, legs bent, leaning back on their hands and forearms. You do the same and then inch toward them until you make contact.
4. The Chairman
This is another sex position where you might think bouncing is the right move, but, again, grinding is definitely the way to go. The Chairman is a great starter move for deep penetration, having your partner kiss your shoulders and your neck, and for nipple play, too.
Wanna take things up a notch? Bring in a sex toy and have your partner reach around you for manual stimulation.
Do It: Your partner sits on the edge of the bed and you sit on them, facing away.
"Missionary is one of the most underrated positions," says Engle. Yes, as "basic" as it is, it's a Kama Sutra sex position: "There are so many different variations," and it's v intimate (all that close eye contact = all the feels).
Try stacking pillows underneath your pelvis so that your partner on top can thrust in an upward diagonal direction, grinding against your clitoris.
Do It: Lie on your back while your partner lies facedown on top of you.
6. The Pinball Wizard
This is a primo Kama Sutra move for deep penetration, says Engle. However, if you can't hold a bridge position, or your partner can't support your lower body with their arms, maybe move on to something else (because over-exertion is not sexy).
Do It: You get into a partial bridge position (like a pinball machine), with your weight resting on your shoulders. Your partner enters you from a kneeling position.
7. Reverse Cowgirl
This one's a little more of a challenge, says Engle, since the natural curve of most penises or strap-ons don't really accommodate this position, but it's doable. (No wonder women tend to hate on this sex position.) Once you get your groove, it's a good time.
Pro tip: To up your range of movement when you're on top, Engle suggests putting a pillow under each knee.
Do It: Your partner lies on their back; you straddle them, facing their feet.
8. Stand and Deliver
If you're feeling especially adventurous, try the Stand and Deliver. It's a Kama Sutra–approved move that's good for shallow penetration as is. If you're looking for deeper penetration, you can take it down to your knees instead—an adaptation which, Engle says, is a great way to compensate for a height difference.
And if you're the person on the receiving end and you're worried about falling when things get sweaty, Engle says to lean on a table or a chair for support.
Do It: With both of you standing, you bend over at the waist; they enter you from behind.
9. Ballet Dancer
If balance starts to get tough while you and your partner are going at it in this sex position, don't get frustrated, says Engle. Instead, pivot. "Drop to your knees, and you can give that person a blow job or cunnilingus, or vice versa." The important thing is that you gave it a go.
Do It: Standing on one foot, face your partner and wrap your other leg around their waist while they help support you.
10. The Good Ex
This intimate position is easier than it looks, says Engle. "It's a great opportunity to bring in something like a wand vibrator" for you to use on yourself at the same time. And whoever is in the seated position, rocking back and forth, might also consider using a butt plug for added stimulation.
Do It: Sit on the bed facing each other with legs forward. Lift your partner's right leg over your left and lift your right leg over their left. Come together so they can enter you. Now, both of you lie back, your legs forming an X. Slow, leisurely gyrations replace thrusting. Hello, intimacy!
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.