I'm five feet even, and married to a six footer. As a small person, I am all too familiar with having my face stuck in an armpit or squashed against a nipple while trying to get down. Here's what I've learned about being intimate when there's a significant height difference.
Title illustration by Tara Jacoby.
Change Your Definitions of Sex
Height differences are really only perceptible when you're doing something that requires your pelvises to be in approximately the same location. Fortunately, there are so many other fun things you can do when you're naked. You can't tell that someone towers over you physically when you're giving or receiving a hand job or oral sex, using a vibrator, masturbating together, or engaging in anal play. In a way, having huge height discrepancies can push some couples to expand their definitions of sex, which is something we could all benefit from anyways. P-in-V should not be the default!
Explore Lots of Positions
If you like having penetration of any kind, you'll have to get a bit creative about sex positions. I like scrolling through pictures and illustrations for inspiration. Two good resources are Bad Girl's Bible and SoFeminine. BGB is a bit cumbersome to navigate, and SF has cheesy illustrations, but both offer 100 or more positions. Unfortunately, both only depict heterosexual couples, but most of the positions are suitable for anal or for strap-on usage.
In general, you want to avoid positions where your torsos are pressed together or the larger person is resting their full weight on the smaller person. Here are some good bets:
- Receiving partner on top. When your bodies are perpendicular, height differences aren't noticeable.
- Another way to achieve perpendicular status is to have the penetrating partner kneel on the floor (a pillow under your knees will make this more comfortable). The receiving partner drapes over the edge of the bed, either on their stomach or on their back.
- You can also do a variation of the aforementioned position by having the receiving partner lie on a countertop or table, and the giving partner stand.
- Try receiving partner on top, with both partners sitting up. If the receiving partner is the smaller person, this can be a really intimate position. The larger partner essentially serves as a "booster seat", allowing for actual eye contact.
- If you really want to do Missionary (generally a one-way ticket to nipple land), try turning your bodies so you make a slight X shape.
- Starting from Missionary, have the penetrating partner sit back or up on their knees, while the receiving partner does a slight bridge position.
Each couple will have to find their own unique variations, but the exploration is half the fun!
Props are Your Friends
There are plenty of props that you can use to help make penetration easier. I don't recommend bundling up a bunch of pillows under your hips, since they have the tendency to slide around. Instead, try using a sturdier sofa cushion or bed rest that won't deflate on you. If you want to make a bit of an investment, Liberator has a large line of sex pillows and wedges that you can use to change the angles of your bodies. Their basic Wedge/Ramp Combo offers a number of combinations, and you can get an extra Lift for even more of a boost.
If you really want to go high-end, the Revel Essence Chair helps you get into positions where size isn't as much of an issue. The sofas and chairs you already have in your apartment can also be used as boosters to get your pelvises lined up at the same heights. If you like having sex while standing up, a simple stool or stepladder can help you get to the right level.
Have a Sense of Humour
If you and your partner are of significantly different heights, there are definitely going to be some awkward moments trying to get your limbs properly arranged. Sex can feel pretty damn goofy sometimes, but I actually think that's not such a bad thing. I've said before that people can take sex way too seriously. Trying to crane your neck far enough to make 69-ing work certainly brings some levity back into the bedroom!
Ultimately, the challenges you face as a differently-sized couple aren't that unique. It's all about figuring out how your bodies fit together, which is what any two people have to do when they start having sex. A lot of people are initially fearful about navigating the differences, but if Shaq can make it work, you and your partner can make it work.
Vanessa Marin is a licensed psychotherapist (#78931) specializing in sex therapy. It's her mission to take the intimidation out of sex therapy and bring the fun back into the bedroom.