Preferred Sexual Positions Guide from ZAVA

preferred positions: a look at sexual favourites across Europe and the US

You’ve just come home from a great date, and things are finally getting hot and heavy between you and your partner. While you love the missionary position, you’re feeling particularly adventurous tonight.

Curious to see how imaginative sex can be, we asked 2,000 people from the U.K. and U.S. about their favourite sexual positions. We even asked what they’d like to try given the chance and how they learned their frisky moves. Are our respondents head-over-heels for 69? Or are they spinning for reverse cowgirl? Continue reading to find out.

Top Sexual Positions Overall

respondents favourite positions

When we looked at respondents’ favourite positions in bed, we found that a little over 35 percent preferred doggy style. Missionary position was also a fan favourite, with nearly 23 percent of survey takers picking this sexual position. What is it about doggy style that keeps the majority of respondents coming back for more?

Doggy style allows for deeper penetration, which means a better chance of reaching the coveted G-spot. Almost 20 percent of respondents admitted to having a soft spot for the cowgirl position. While this position also offers deeper penetration, it gives women a little more control over speed, depth, and rhythm of motion. Other preferred positions included 69, reverse cowgirl, and oral sex.

Top Sexual Positions, By Gender

respondents favourite positions by gender

Sex and sexual preferences aren’t the same for men and women. What feels good – or great – can vary significantly based on the position and who is in control. That being said, of the 2,000 people we surveyed, both genders agreed that doggy style was their favourite position.

However, men were more inclined toward the cowgirl position, while women picked the missionary position as their second favourite. Both positions allow for partners to watch each other during intercouse, which can help create a deeper, more emotional connection during sex.

The only positions men and women didn’t agree on at all were anal sex and the kneeling wheelbarrow. For women, pleasure during anal sex can be a hit or miss, causing discomfort that may lead them to tick it off their list. For men, kneeling wheelbarrow (while not as physically demanding as the standing version) can still be tricky to pull off and hard to maintain.

Top Sexual Positions, By Sexual Orientation

respondents favourite positions by sexual orientation

When it came to sexual orientation, our survey respondents were mostly inclined to agree on their favourite position– regardless of their gender preferences. Straight, bisexual, and gay participants all told us that doggy style was their favourite position over any other. They also identified missionary as a favored position and straight and bisexual respondents were both inclined to enjoy holding their partners legs up.

Anal was listed as a favourite by bisexual and gay respondents while 69 and oral only made the top-five positions by those who identified exclusively as gay or lesbian.

Sexual Geographic

respondents favourite positions by country

Breaking down favourite sex positions by country, we found that doggy style was popular in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Romania, and the United States. Cowgirl was popular in Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium, and holding legs up was a favourite in Hungary and Portugal. Only Poland listed spooning as a preferred position.

Sexual Desires

positions that respondents most want to try

While tabletop came in as the overall least prefered position listed by survey respondents, almost 20 percent told us it was the position they most wanted to try. The 69 standing up position, kneeling wheelbarrow, and anal sex also ranked as positions respondents wanted to test out.

While each of these may be more physically challenging than the missionary position or doggy style, research has shown that a robust sex life can have additional health benefits, like improved immunity, heart health, and better stress management.

Standard 69, holding legs up, and spooning were positions that respondents were least likely to want to try.

Sexual Desires, By Gender

positions that respondents most want to try by gender

When we asked respondents what new things they wanted to try in the bedroom, men most often voted for the 69 position while standing up. This position can be a bit tricky to pull off for some, but it is certainly one of the most intimate ways to provide oral sex. Men also listed anal as a position they wanted to try. At the same time, anal was not listed as a position that female respondents were interested in exploring.

Women surveyed were most interested in the tabletop position. As an elevated form of missionary, tabletop provides a unique take on a classic position. The kneeling wheelbarrow and 69 standing upwere also voted as positions women were desirous to explore.

Sexual Desires, By Orientation

positions that respondents most want to try by sexual orientation

Straight, bisexual, or gay, survey respondents were mostly curious about the same positions.

They agreed that tabletop, 69 standing up, kneeling wheelbarrow, and reverse cowgirl were escapades they most wanted to explore. Standing during intercourse was also voted by bisexual and gay respondents as particularly intriguing. No one ever said you needed the bed (or bedroom) for a successful physical connection.

Only those who identified as straight listed anal as a position they most wanted to try.

Sexual Desires, By Country

positions that respondents most want to try by country

Keeping it simple, survey respondents from the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Portugal all voted the tabletop position as one they’d most like to try. Respondents from Spain and the Netherlands were a bit more daring, listing 69 standing up as their pick. Participants from Austria and Switzerland, on the other hand, told us anal was the sexual experience they were most interested in attempting (despite being much more popular with men than women).

Romanians listed sex while holding legs up as the most coveted position, while the Polish were curious about 69.

Sex Ed

where do respondents learn about new positions

Pornography may not be the only thing on the internet, but it does make up a pretty big percentage of it. Over 30 percent of all data transferred across the internet is used for porn. Unsurprisingly, when we asked men where they learned about new sex positions, over 53 percent cited porn as their inspiration. A majority of female survey takers told us they learned new positions from a partner.

With sex-positivity becoming a major movement in recent years, and as public conversations about sex and sexual health become more mainstream, both men and women picked up positions from online sites that weren’t pornographic (these can even include publications like Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan).

Who Asks Who?

who usually wants to try a new position

Who is usually up for trying a new experience in bed first? Over 75 percent of men said they are the ones more like to want to try a new position, while nearly 59 percent of women admitted that their partners usually initiate a change.

Regardless of who initiates the new moves, keeping things exciting in the bedroom can help promote a healthy sex life between you and your partner – which can be good for more than just orgasms. Keeping physical intimacy going can help maturing relationships feel fresh and new.

Fear of the Unknown

respondents biggest fears when trying a new position

Looking at respondents’ biggest fears in bed, nearly 38 percent of men acknowledged they were most afraid of hurting their partners. Considering that men were more interested in positions like 69 standing up and anal, it would make sense that discomfort might be at the top of their list. However, men were much less concerned about hurting themselves – less than 9 percent listed it as a concern.

While some women (just over 23 percent) said they were worried about hurting themselves during a new position, over 31 percent were worried about not being flexible enough. Considering the acrobatic nature of positions like the kneeling wheelbarrow, flexibility can be the difference between just getting through it and enjoying yourself. Almost 21 percent of women even said they were afraid that they might be too heavy or big for a new position.


Sex is supposed to be fun, but sometimes, doing the same positions over and over (even when orgasms are involved) can become a bit dull. We discovered that positions like 69 standing up, kneeling wheelbarrow, and tabletop were extremely popular with both men and women, that men were largely more interested in trying new positions, and that they were picking up most of their new moves from porn.

If these sexual escapades sound like fun, but you’re concerned about something more serious than flexibility, ZAVA is here for you. Don’t let symptoms, like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, get in the way when you’re looking to explore something new. ZAVA is an online doctor that can provide complete confidentiality and free, fast delivery to get you back in the bedroom (or wherever the evening may take you).

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