On Positions for Couples with Big Bellies, and on Making a Choice

Roe McDermott

Roe McDermott is a journalist, arts critic, Fulbright awardee and sex columnist from Dublin. She lives in San Francisco, where she's completing an MA in Sexuality Studies.


Dear Roe,

I’m 26 and my boyfriend is 25. We’ve been together for a few months and neither of us was very sexually experienced before we got together. We’re both pretty overweight, with big bellies (both of us) and thighs (me). That itself isn’t the problem because I fancy the pants off my boyfriend, and he seems to feel the same about me! But some sexual positions that I’ve seen in films and in porn are a bit awkward or just don’t seem to work that well for us. I’m wondering if you had some advice for how any positions or ways we could make our sex life easy and fun? Thanks!

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted that you and your boyfriend are so into each other and want to make your sex life great. You’re right, sadly, in that so much of the sex we see in films and porn doesn’t often show overweight individuals, let alone couples, and so there’s less representation to act as a handy guide for sex positions.

But fear not, there are loads of positions and simple modifications to old classics that work perfectly for bigger couples. I’ll give you a few, but also look at this time as the best excuse to play around with new positions yourselves. You’re working with your own glorious bodies, so you get the write the rules of what works for you.

One of the two main modifications to positions that will make a difference to your sex life is to make sure your weight is being supported instead of resting on each other, and to also shift positions slightly so that your bellies and thighs don’t get in the way of satisfying penetration.

For classic missionary when your fella is on top, get him to kneel and also lean over and rest on his forearms. This can be great because you’ll be close, but his weight won’t be on you. He can also adjust how close his knees are to each other and adjust the bend in his knees so both accommodate your stomachs comfortably.

When you’re on top, try go reverse cowgirl so that you’re facing his toes. This position means you can lean forward and allow him to penetrate you deeply without your bellies getting in the way. You can also put pillows under your knees to give you a bit of elevation, which will allow you to move up and down on his dick easier. This position also lets you grasp his shins or ankles for extra support, and to help you get a bit of leverage.

Doggy style is also great for people with bigger bellies and thighs, and you can even play with this tried-and-tested position. If you want to kneel on the bed, letting him stand behind you might help him get deep, and he can also bend his knees and thrust upwards to try stimulate your G spot.

You can also turn this into a modified starfish position (where the woman lies face down on the bed and the man lies on top of her) by lying face down with your hips off the bed, butt up in the air. Your boyfriend can either stand between your legs and hold them up by his hips, or let your legs hang down and grip you by the butt or waist.

Also, get acquainted with the various surfaces in your home. Surfaces that support you and give you a bit of height are going to become your new best friends.

Of course, the trusty bed has its place – a great technique is to lie with your hips just hanging off the edge of the bed, with your man standing in front of you. By bringing your knees up or having him hold them straight by his shoulders, he should be able to enter you easily – again, pillows are great if you need to put them under your butt to get the height right.

Another one for the bed is a bit of literal twist on the position above – which might be why it’s commonly called “The Pretzel”. For a comfortable version of this, again lie on the bed with your hips on the edge. Turn slightly so you’re leaning on your side, with one leg hanging down towards the floor. Your boyfriend can straddle this leg so that he’s close to you, and hold your other leg up, or curling around him.

If you want to venture out into the kitchen, counters and tables are also a godsend. Lean over a counter or table, with one leg propped up on a chair, small stool, or even an open drawer (not the cutlery drawer – stabbing yourself in the toe with a fork has a way of ruining the mood). By propping up one leg, you’re allowing access for deeper penetration and oral. You can also sit on the table or counter, facing him, for the same reason.

Just, y’know, wipe down the counter before rustling up dinner.

Good luck!

***

Dear Roe,

I’m a 31-year-old cis, straight female, and I’ve been dating a man for two months (let’s call him John). I really like him. He’s kind and funny and smart and it’s been going really well. We chat every day, spend a couple of nights a week together, it all feels very solid. We haven’t talked about being exclusive, but I haven’t been sleeping with anyone else, and I don’t think he has either. (I’m not 100 percent certain obviously, but I really don’t think so.) I think if we keep seeing each other for another few weeks the conversation will probably come up, and I’d be happy to be his girlfriend – monogamously. (I know you’ve written about open relationships, but I couldn’t do that.)

My problem is that an old fuckbuddy who moved away from home is going to be back visiting in a week and texted me looking to hook up while he’s back (let’s call him Paul). I’m not interested in this Paul romantically, but the sex is great and we always have fun. I want to hook up with him while he’s in town and I feel like because me and John haven’t said we’re exclusive, it’s fine. But part of me still does feel like I’m kind of cheating because I do think me and John will end up together. I do think if I found out John slept with someone at this stage I’d be a bit hurt, though I wouldn’t feel like I could really give out to him about it because we’re not officially together. Am I allowed to sleep with Paul?

Dear Reader,

Are you allowed to?

Yes. You’re a grown woman who is officially single – you’re allowed to have consensual sex with whoever you like.

Should you?

Nah.

You’ve found a kind, funny, smart guy and you’re both emotionally invested in each other. You feel like you’re on the path to a relationship – and I have to say, the fact that you don’t seem worried about not having the label yet speaks volumes.

So many people who are dating-but-not-officially-together freak out at this stage, because they’re insecure and unsure and want to know where this is all going (oh, the drama). That you don’t seem fazed by the lack of label, and feel pretty certain that you and John will end up together is big, and important. It indicates that, as you say, what you two have is solid, and worthwhile.

What else tells me that what you have with John is solid and worthwhile? That you’re writing to me questioning the wisdom of sleeping with Paul. That you feel like you’d be cheating on John. That if John slept with someone else, part of you would feel cheated on.

And I agree with you – if John slept with someone else, you wouldn’t really have a right to give out to him. You could very understandably be upset and hurt, and I’d expect you to want a conversation with John about your feelings, and I’d support your right to do so – but could you rightfully get angry with him for having sex with someone else when you weren’t exclusive? No, not really. And so, likewise, if you have sex with Paul, John also doesn’t really have a right to get mad at you, because you’re allowed.

But you still shouldn’t really have sex with Paul. Because this isn’t about permission, or being allowed to do something. It’s about building a relationship with someone you really like, and someone who you already share a sense of loyalty to, and with.

You feel this because this man is obviously a decent guy who has become important to you, and who you like, and want to have a relationship with. You want a relationship with John, and not Paul, because you feel an emotional connection with John. And part of liking someone and building a relationship with them is giving yourself the space to let those feelings grow.

That can’t happen if you clutter that space with other emotional distractions – such as Paul. And you may tell me that your sex with Paul is emotion-free fuckbuddy sex – but that’s not true anymore. You might not feel any emotions about Paul himself, but you do already feel emotions about sex with Paul, and what sex with Paul means for you and John.

And John has emotions about it. And while according to “the rules” he doesn’t really have a right to get angry, he still might. People’s emotions rarely adhere to rules, and life doesn’t play out like a debate. If you sleep with Paul and John finds out, John might get angry, or just deeply hurt, and you might lose him. Being “right” about the rules of this scenario won’t matter an iota if he just leaves.

And look – I love sex. I love when other people have great, fun sex. I have SUCH a deep love for people who are great, respectful fuckbuddies – they are the unsung heroes of modern sexual life. So I’m not judging either way. If you want to go off and have some awesome sex with Paul, go enjoy.

But he – and other men – will always be available for commitment-free sex. Men who are kind and smart and decent and who you can see a future with? They’re rarer, and I think you know that. So embrace what you have.

Enjoy this dating stage, and knowing that it’s leading somewhere exciting, and fun, and important. Don’t sleep with another man right now. Not because you’re “not allowed” to, but because you and your boy are heading somewhere. Focus on keeping the road clear to see just how far you can go.


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Roe McDermott: Roe McDermott is a journalist, arts critic, Fulbright awardee and sex columnist from Dublin. She lives in San Francisco, where she's completing an MA in Sexuality Studies.

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