Contrary to what the pages of Cosmopolitan would have you believe, you can put a number on how many viable sex positions are out there. According to one editor's analysis, featured in The Cut, there are just six sexual positions that go down with any regularity during penetrative heterosexual intercourse: missionary, cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, doggy style, spooning, and standing. All others—including those plastered across the pages of men's magazines—are usually just a spin on one of these six classics.
"Despite what the sex-position-industrial complex would have you believe, there is not an endless number of ways to get it on," writes editor Gabriella Paiella. "This isn't to say that anyone attempting to make sex more interesting is wasting their time. There are innumerable ways to get creative in bed that don't involve consulting a manual and doing hamstring stretches in preparation."
In other words, your hesitation to embark on the mental and physical journey that is the "Erotic Accordion" doesn't mean you're inexperienced, prude, or worse, missing out in bed. If anything, sticking to the basics likely means that you and your partner—like many other couples—have found consistent pleasure in the six major sexual positions known to humankind. While variety is undoubtedly the spice of life, Paiella's research indicates that you may not be missing out on much—aside from leg cramps and muscle aches—should you and your partner never attempt to contort yourselves into the figures depicted in a Kama Sutra manual.
Want more? Shop the woman's guide to sexual myths, and let us know if you think there's a sexual position Paiella missed!