6 Reasons Why 69-Ing May Not Be The Best Sex Position For You

Somewhere down the line, every person is introduced to the 69 position. In most cases, they hear about it first and, depending on your age and sexual experience, the mere idea of it can be perplexing. We're talking about a position in which two people are facing opposing directions — as in head-to-toes — and giving each other oral sex at the same time. Why? Who came up with this? As if it weren't hard enough to garner the necessary stamina and confidence to be on top, let alone this. 

Like a lot of sex positions, this one goes way back. It appears in the Kama Sutra, which was written somewhere between 400 BCE and 200 CE, and is explained as "When a man and woman lie down in an inverted order, with the head of one toward the feet of the other, and carry on this congress, it is called the Congress of a Crow." But how the name evolved from "congress of a cow" to 69 can be attributed to, of course, the French — leave it to the French to come up with a pretty term for anything sex-related. At the beginning of the French Revolution a sex manual entitled "The Whore's Catechisms" was published and in it, this notorious position was renamed "soixante-neuf," the French translation for sixty-nine. And the name stuck.

Although there are those who love 69-ing, for many it's not a great position for a slew of reasons. If you don't love, or even like 69-ing, you're not alone.

Height differences

It's pretty rare that you come across a couple who are the exact same height, especially in cishet relationships. However, if two people want to pull off a 69 and make it enjoyable enough to be an almost-perfect situation, then being the same height is key. Granted, a couple of inches in height differentiation aren't a big deal, but if you're five-foot and your partner is six-two, that's quite a disparity and 69 isn't likely to be the best fit for you two.

"69'ing is not actually 'nice,'" a Reddit user wrote. "If both partners aren't well-matched in how tall they are, it just doesn't work well ... One person lies on the bottom and is kind of crushed. If you don't orgasm simultaneously, it's just awkward."

Although there's the debate that if you perform 69 on your sides, there's no crushing involved even if the two partners aren't remotely close in height, it can still be tricky. If you and your partner have a mismatched height situation, then skip 69.

It involves too much multi-tasking

Some people aren't multitaskers. They don't have it in their DNA and that's fine! If the world were full of only multitaskers, far too much would be accomplished and, honestly, we don't really need that. The 69 position is multitasking and then some. Just think about the position and what it entails from both partners: attention to detail, being totally present, and trying to offer up some really great oral sex while also trying to focus on your own pleasure. 

"Female perspective: There's too much going on at once," wrote a Reddit user. "It's almost impossible to concentrate if the other person is doing a good job. If the other person isn't doing a good job then why bother with bells and whistles for them if they are just lapping at you like a thirsty dog drinking water ... It's a totally overhyped sex position."

Contrary to the belief that cis men are into 69-ing, this Reddit comment got a very apropos response: "Male here and I 100% agree with you," wrote the Reddit user. "I can't speak to fellatio, but I know cunnilingus takes some concentration to be done well. So 69 is like doing math problems while on a roller coaster: you won't enjoy the coaster and you'll f*** up the math. It's better for everyone involved to just take turns ... I put 69 in the same category as shower sex and beach sex. They sound nice on paper but are typically disappointing in practice." There's no sense in giving and receiving mediocre oral sex when you can give and receive fantastic oral when you subtract multitasking from the scenario. 

It's not orgasm-friendly

As the Reddit users pointed out, with all that's going on, concentration goes out the window. When that happens, having an orgasm is hard for both partners — no matter if they're penis owners or vulva owners. Even if your end game in 69 isn't focused on climaxing, your brain is still immersed in things that you normally wouldn't be thinking about if you and your partner partook in oral sex one at a time. 

For example, there's all that lovely face-smothering that can make breathing a bit of a challenge. Then there's that distracting lapping and sucking sound that, when oral is performed on each person one at a time, isn't as noticeable because there are things like moaning and being able to lose yourself in the moment fully. During 69, you can become overly aware of things you wouldn't normally even notice. For those with a vulva, trying to orgasm is often difficult enough. 

"[The media] has been guilty of telling women how orgasms are supposed to happen," clinical psychologist and sex educator Lawrence Siegel told Healthline. "To have an orgasm you have to be able to let go and allow it to happen, which is an issue for a lot of people ... People wonder if they're pleasing their partner enough, or they get self-conscious about their own bodies in certain positions. Porn is a big misconception about how people are 'supposed' to look, feel, and react during sex. And a lot of that is fake." If you're someone who struggles to orgasm with a partner or without one and want to orgasm with your oral sex, then 69 probably isn't for you.

You can't communicate

According to a 2018 study published in Sex and Marital Therapy, ultimate sexual satisfaction is directly linked to communication — this includes both verbal and non-verbal. But when you're 69-ing, you can't verbally communicate (for obvious reasons), nor can you non-verbally communicate, again, for obvious reasons. It's not exactly the most forgiving position when it comes to movement that would let you non-verbally communicate to your partner that you're enjoying a technique, disliking something they're doing, or if they moved their tongue a little to left, things would feel much better. You're sort of trapped in a locked-in position, both mouths full of genitals, and minimal ability to communicate what you want to tell them.

People who like to talk during sex and feel comfortable expressing what they're experiencing, giving direction, or are open to receiving direction, aren't likely to find satisfaction in 69. Sure, you can "uh-huh" with your throat, but that's about it — especially if your bodies are really close and you have a penis in your mouth that you have to struggle to get out of your mouth to say even one word. Also, if you're not awkward about dirty talk and are really into it while being intimate, it's definitely not happening during 69.

It can actually leave you with some pain

Two words: neck pain. Anyone who's ever tried 69 laying down, either one on top of the other or side-by-side knows that neck pain, if you hold the position too long, is a given. Certain parts of the body aren't made to be held in specific positions for extended periods of time, so when these areas are pushed to the limit, pain inevitably follows. 

According to a survey of over 1000 Europeans and Americans by Superdrug Online Doctor, 62% of people reported experiencing sex-related injuries at some point in their life. Although doggy style appears to be the most dangerous for those with vulvas and missionary the most precarious for penis owners, 69 is also on the list. As the survey found 2.6% of penis owners and 1.4% of vulva owners have been victims of 69ing gone awry. While the survey didn't say how these injuries occurred or what they were, they still happened. There's also the risk of an over-excited person wielding their penis in a way that can get a little aggressive.

"It's not uncommon for an enthusiastic penis-haver to press down a bit too far into their partner's mouth, restricting airflow and causing a bit of discomfort," sex and relationships therapist Stefani Goerlich, LMSW-Clinical, LISW told Insider. If you're accident-prone, already have some aches and pains that you'd prefer not to add to, or you're a big fan of breathing while engaging in sexual activity, then maybe look toward other sex positions instead of 69.

It's not conducive to summer weather

As you've probably noticed, people get horny in the summer. We have the sun, more skin showing, holidays, and just a general upbeat attitude about life as a whole. So, naturally, sex is on the brain for a lot of people — and research proves it. According to a 2013 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a five-year-long analysis found that once summer rolls around, Google searches for porn, prostitution, and online dating skyrocket. The study noted that the findings further prove that seasonal trends around STIs, condom sales, and abortions increasing as well. But while many people may be in the mood to get it on, there's one position you shouldn't get into when things are hot and sweaty.

"The 69 position is best avoided because it obviously means bodies are super-close together, rubbing down," sex expert Ruby Payne told LadBible. "And even if you do it on the side, there's more contact with the bed fabrics ... Stick to the 'unmutual' kind of oral in a heatwave."

That's right; a sex expert has actually advised against summer 69-ing. If July and August are your months to sexually shine before Labor Day, then 69 isn't for you. But guess what? That's totally okay! Despite what we see in porn, most people aren't 69-ing all the time. In fact, a 2015 survey by Uncovering Intimacy found that only 17% of people favor the 69 position for oral sex, while 46% prefer laying on their back with their partner between their legs. So there you go — you're not alone and there are many of us, so you're in fabulous company.