Most people have a go-to position. That ol’ faithful sex move that pretty much ensures you’re going to get off and wrap up in time to watch Wheel. But what happens when suddenly cowgirl or doggy or reverse-standing-jackhammer stops working for you? Your sex drive isn’t dead, and the spark isn’t necessarily gone from your relationship. There are a lot of factors that could make your favorite position suddenly feel like you’re shoving a hairbrush into a tube of sandpaper.
“Take a personal inventory to consider that perhaps changes have occurred,” says Dr. Jane Greer, New York City marriage and sex therapist and author of What About Me: Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Anything from short-term stress at work to boredom to pregnancy or a new medication or surgery can affect how your body responds to classic p-in-v standbys. “For some people, as testosterone and estrogen levels change, these physiological changes can impact the body’s response. So what might have worked effortlessly suddenly becomes tedious,” explains Dr. Greer.
Some of those emotional changes can’t be prevented. As Elizabeth Kavaler, an urologist at New York Urological Associates, explains, most people have sex drives that “wax and wane.” There are so many things impacting your body at any given time, you might not even realize that that job interview next week is making doggy style feel less exciting. A month or two later, things may be back to normal without you ever figuring out why.
The change can be physical, too. Every couple has their own, specific set of angles that work best for sex because of how their genitals fit together. New York City sex therapist Dr. Stephen Snyder calls this “coital alignment.” In men, the position and angle of the penis and balls changes slowly as you age. If you once loved being right over your partner in missionary, you might find that sitting up feels better a year later. Women’s genitals change position and angle slightly, too, so that old go-to position might not stimulate your clitoris as well as it used to a couple years in. “As time goes by, you may discover new positions that give you better coital alignment,” says Snyder.
But sometimes it’s just a matter of getting back to basics for a while. “Sex should be fundamentally relaxing, and most people don’t realize this,” says Snyder. “Missionary is a good position, but it isn’t relaxing because your bodies aren’t supported well.” If you’re freaking out about why your favorite kinky position stopped working for you, you may have just stopped being able to lose yourself in the moment. Try going back to simple positions that are easy to relax in, like sex in a spooning position.
Whatever the cause, Dr. Greene says you should try new positions before pursuing medication or other treatments. Having the coping skills to get over your hump (pun absolutely intended) will prove useful down the road when your bodies change and you hit emotional bumps. Don’t stress that your vagina is dead forever; this is just an excuse to bust out some new moves and have a good time.