For a brief period in my otherwise sofa-based life, I used to go running. Stop laughing at the back. My boyfriend at the time was really into his running, and his enthusiasm for this activity infected me to the point where roughly three times per week I would put on my trainers and gamely wheeze my way along a river while he ran gracefully in front. It was absolutely horrible. Still. Occasionally – VERY occasionally – I managed to get into stride. For a few brief seconds, I’d bounce lightly on my feet, propel myself with power, and breath like a normal person. During those times I got a teeny flash of joy, and a revelation – this is what it must feel like to be GOOD at this! I got the same feeling recently, when going on top during a shag. The perfect rhythm, the right amount of bounce, and a sense that this is what it must feel like to be GOOD at this.
There’s nothing particularly special about my technique for going on top: I am not suggesting it to you as The Greatest Way To Blow Your Partner’s Mind In Bed or what have you, but I wanted to talk a little bit about it because
- it made me feel good, and if it makes some of you feel good too then that is a massive win for me.
- riding cowgirl often looks easy in porn, where the people who are doing it are literally professional sexers, and so I feel I can be helpful here by managing some expectations.
Going on top is really fucking hard
I didn’t realise, until I started pegging people, just how much difference there was – in terms of effort and ease – between the bouncing motion of going on top when you’re riding a dick and the in-and-out motion of going on top when you’re wielding one. I’m not saying ‘in and out’ is easy, just that it’s easier.
When I went on top, I would usually do a combination of grinding and bouncing. And let me tell you: grinding is easier. For me, at least. It is much, much easier. It is also significantly more pleasurable. I get to have a cock inside me, and I also get to grind my clit against someone’s pubic area, thus giving me deliciously satisfying penetration as well as clit stim. I could achieve clit stim when bouncing, sure, but I would have to use either my hand or his – and it’s tricky to do that when you’re bouncing up and down all over the place. Sometimes I accidentally stab my clit with my fingernails, and most of the time he is unable to keep the stimulation exactly where I need it, because I am bouncing up and down like a rubber ball in an earthquake.
So. For me to come when I am on top, I usually need to grind: not bounce. Grinding is the best way for me to get the stimulation I need in order to have the kind of orgasms that make me pull a weird face. This may not be the case for you, but it is the case for me, and it’s important that I get that out of the way. Not only is bouncing more difficult, it is also less pleasurable for me.
And yet. And yet. For many many years, I believed that the ‘correct’ technique for going on top involved bouncing instead of grinding. That ‘grinding’ was but a poor shadow of the ‘better’ version of sex, and I tried very hard to bounce, even though it was less fun for me. Why?
Guys want me to bounce
That is the boring, simple answer. Guys want me to bounce. They are – as a general rule, based on the ones I have fucked – less interested in watching me grind out an orgasm while I ride their dicks as they are interested in me bouncing up and down as fast as I can, essentially using my cunt as a masturbation sheath with which to wank them off.
Don’t get me wrong, the latter is a satisfying and fun thing to do sometimes, but it is a little bit one-sided. It is a little bit… less fun for me than having a good old grind. The best solution – and the one that I tend to use more now that I understand I am allowed to ask for sexual pleasure myself – is to grind first, ideally while wanking myself off with a Doxy Number 3 or something, and then when I am done and have allowed my post-orgasmic-jelly-legs to subside, I can bounce away for a while until he spaffs.
But there is still a nagging idea in the back of my mind that grinding is ‘somehow a less good version of bouncing.’ I think this idea often comes from porn.
Going on top if you are a porn performer
Porn performers are being paid to have sex on a professional basis, so they will likely have had more practise/be more skilled than amateurs like me, who would only ever get paid for it if I messed it up so badly I got £250 from You’ve Been Framed. I have known people – good people, kind people, generally-not-arseholes-people – who have laboured under the mistaken belief that bouncing is pretty easy, and have pointed at porn in which people do it and said ‘look! Just do it like that!’ I think many of them are labouring under the belief that because they can achieve a certain speed with their ‘in and out’ motion, the exact same speed should be achievable when you bounce (which isn’t true, and if you don’t believe me please feel free to stick a suction dildo to your coffee table and count your bounce-per-minute, then compare to the thrust-per-minute you could achieve by pretending to fuck the sofa cushions).
Porn performers can achieve some truly incredible speeds/rhythms/angles when bouncing, it is true. But along with the fact that performers will likely have had more practice, etc, there also comes the key point that porn is performance. Positions and techniques are not always chosen based on what is most pleasurable but on what looks good on camera (though there are some pornographers who would prioritise pleasure of the performers over visuals, it is not common in mainstream porn). It is a simple point of fact that you see more dick, more cunt, more arse, more ‘in and out’ from bouncing than you do from grinding: bouncing is the obvious choice from a visual point of view.
That’s not to say that no one should bounce: if you enjoy it, by all means go for it! My issue is with presenting this like it’s the only way to ride dick. We’re not all porn performers, and in fact most of us are far less athletic than your average porn star. Many of us also have physical limitations that make bouncing impossible – whether larger bodies (ours or our partners), pain conditions, lack of stamina, permanent or non-permanent injuries, other physical disabilities, etc etc. There are plenty of reasons why the average person might not want – or be able – to bounce.
Going on top if you’re not a porn performer
Onto the thing I promised: my trick for bouncing if you’re going on top. The delightful burst of joy I had recently when I realised I’d worked out a going-on-top trick that worked for me.
Firstly, find a hard surface (like a floor). For me, it is so much easier doing this when you’re on a hard surface because bouncy soft bedding doesn’t make for the best thing against which to brace your feet.
Secondly, make sure that there is something within arms reach that you can hold onto, at about shoulder height. I used the sofa in my living room. I lay my partner down on the floor by the sofa, and grabbed onto the arm of the sofa with one hand.
Third, place your feet flat on the floor (not kneeling – you get more bounce/swing if you’ve got your feet firmly on the floor). So you’re basically squatting over them rather than kneeling. Then, use your feet/thighs to push yourself up so you’re at the top of the stroke, and pull back on the sofa arm on the down-stroke. So you’re basically using your arm to both support some of your weight and also allow you to balance. Lean your body/shoulders back a little and shuffle your feet forward slightly – you get a much smoother (and more targeted) stroke if you have your arm outstretched to its full in front of you. You’re going for more of a ‘swing’ (listing yourself up and back a little) than a ‘bounce’ (directly up and down). Your arm is helping to take on some of the work, and also helping you direct where you’re going to land, so you can achieve a longer stroke and a little more speed than you can if you’re kneeling.
There you have it. Some of you may know this already, and be like ‘OMG GOTN I cannot believe it’s taken you so long to learn this trick, you are thirty-three actual human years old!’ To which I will reply ‘yeah, I’ve been busy grinding.’ What’s more, I have spent far too much of my life on my knees riding cock on a soft thing like a bed or the sofa itself, or getting annoyed as impatient men grab my hips and try to make me break the laws of physics by riding their dick as fast as they could wank themselves off with their own fair hands. As with other things in life, I have taken longer to work out how best to do a thing because helpful men have been getting in my way.
Grinding versus bouncing
Whether you enjoy riding cock or having your cock ridden, you will probably have a preference between one or other of these. Even with my new technique I prefer a mix because – I’ll say it again in case you missed it the first time – grinding is infinitely more pleasurable for me. I’ve known one or two guys who just outright don’t enjoy it, which is fine, I wouldn’t grind on a man who didn’t want me to. But most of the men I’ve been with just have a ‘strong preference’ for bouncing, and ideally bouncing fast and accurately enough that it mimics the speed and rhythm of a wank. That’s a problem, I think. Not only because it’s fucking difficult-slash-impossible for many of us, but also because unless you are a ninja with your fingers, someone who requires a bit of clit stim/grinding action is going to be mightily fucked off if every time they go on top they have to accept that they’re not going to come.
I was thinking on this recently, because Miss Jezzebella wrote an interesting blog post about learning to orgasm every time she had sex with a man. It’s focused on cishet sex, and one of the points she made really struck home for me:
“We are taught that the male orgasm is an unchangeable part of, or worse, the whole point of, sexual intercourse. The female orgasm is secondary, and not as important. Furthermore, women are sexually objectified: they are objects there to bring men pleasure. … What we’ve ended up with is this weird (and unfounded) perception that the female orgasm is this mysterious and difficult to achieve entity. Whereas the male orgasm is easy to achieve and is to be expected at every sexual encounter that involves a penis. Men who do focus on the pleasure of their female partners often think they are god like (and deserve praise as such) for being able to make her come. But no one thinks that a woman is a magical sex god when a man orgasms while having sex with her. Bizarrely, the man will still takes the credit for his orgasm too. He can “make her come” and then use her body to make himself come? Something’s not quite right there.”
She goes on to talk about how focusing on ‘how to use his body to get me off’ helped her have more orgasms during sex. It’s a really interesting piece and although I don’t agree with every point (I don’t think it is necessarily possible for everyone to achieve orgasm through penetration, for example), I do think it’s a fascinating way to change perspective a little and consider what is actually happening in a lot of sexual encounters. I think it’s especially true of going on top.
I’ve spent a fairly large chunk of my life feeling like my technique is inadequate: that I’m not putting enough energy and athleticism into going on top. Or that I’m being selfish by focusing a little of my time on the grinding that I enjoy more. But in reality, what I’ve been doing is kicking myself for either
- not being able to do what they do in porn or
- not being able to get the speed someone could get if they were fucking me via a much easier ‘in and out’ movement or
- not being able to achieve the speed and rhythm that someone could achieve when they were wanking.
Number one involves holding myself to a set of standards I never signed up to, all of them involve demanding something of my body that is difficult at the best of times and almost impossible at the worst. And I have been doing all of this partly because I’ve internalised the idea that being ‘good’ at going on top is all about pleasing my partner, rather than making sure we have a good time together. I’ve been expending the maximum amount of effort, without ever considering the validity of the goal I was aiming for.
As a result of this, I tended not to enjoy going on top that much. I mean, obviously I still enjoyed it, because I was squirming about on top of a cock and that’s well within my happiness zone. But I enjoy it much more now that I have a slightly easier bouncing technique, and I understand I can use it as part of a shag, not the sole important thing.
Bouncing on top can be fun, but if it is all about performance and not about pleasure, it can leave the person on top feeling less like a sexy cowgirl from a western and more like the Little Red Hen.