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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

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The 21st century is rife with companies rebranding to become more inclusive. But it’s not just brands undergoing rebrands… it’s sex positions, too!

Gone are the days when reverse cowgirl was known only as such. These days, the position is known by less-gendered terms. For example, some use “reverse cow-human,” “reverse rider on top,” or simply “reverse rider.”

No matter what you call it, here are some tips for making reverse rider — formerly known as reverse cowgirl — even better.

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Reverse rider is a derivative of rider-on-top, which entails one partner on top of another, facing them.

“For reverse rider, the partner on top is in the opposite direction so that they’re looking at their partner’s feet, and their partner is looking at their butt and back,” explains Dr. Sadie Allison, author of “Ride ’Em Cowgirl! Sex Position Secrets for Better Bucking” and founder of, an online sex toy boutique.

There are several variations of this configuration that switch up where and in what direction the top partner places their feet and knees.

What remains the same is that there is a partner on top, placed in such a way that eye contact isn’t feasible.

Typically, reverse rider is a penetrative sex position that involves the person on top being vaginally or anally penetrated by the person on bottom (via penis or strap-on).

But, depending on preferences, flexibility, and/or body shapes and sizes, reverse rider can also be modified for:


Experiment with angle

“Figuring out which angle enhances the experience for you and your partner will take some trial and error,” Sadie says.

That’s because what feels good will vary based on a wide variety of factors, including:

  • current hydration levels
  • recent activity and sleep levels
  • the shape of the receiver’s vaginal or anal canal
  • the size and angle of the penis or dildo
  • how well lubricated the receiver is
  • all partners’ stress levels

One way to explore angles is to try different reverse rider variations:

  • Crab. The partner on top repositions their feet to be beside their partner’s knees and leans back onto their hands.
  • Cat-cow. The rider plants their knees on either side of their partner’s hips and slides onto the shaft. Next, they lean forward into a tabletop position and experiment with arching their back.
  • Chair. The bottom sits in a chair, feet planted on the ground. The top can sit on their lap, slowly easing down the shaft, before moving at a rhythm that feels best.

If there’s a penis, consider its angle

PSA: Not every penis is angled the same way.

“Some penis owners have cocks that, when erect, go straight up to their belly button,” Sadie says. “Other people have penises that curl towards the right or left.”

This information can help you figure out what angle(s) the top can try without causing the bottom partner pain.

Observation can be a powerful indicator here, but you can also invite your partner to share this information:

  • “Are there any angles that cause you pain?”
  • “Can you shift my hips with your hands to show me how far forward I can go before it hurts you?”
  • “How does this feel on your cock?”
  • “What angle works best for you here?”

Remember: It takes two to tango

Contrary to popular belief, the rider doesn’t have to do all the work.

The bottom partner can help by holding their partner’s hips and help establish a rocking or thrusting pattern that’s enjoyable for both. They can also thrust up from the bottom.

“Having both partners be fully involved in finding the right rhythm can establish a sense of intimacy as you find shared pleasure,” Sadie says.

Put on music

“Having music play in the background can help you both find your rhythm,” says Texas-based sex educator Goody Howard, instructor of Rideology, an erotic fitness class dedicated to building stamina, increasing confidence, and adding control to being on top.

That’s why she recommends either singing a song in your head while you thrust, or firing up your favorite playlist.

“What songs are best will vary based on your preferences, but ideally you’ll pick something that makes you feel powerful,” she says.

Actually, height isn’t usually an issue here.

So long as the rider’s legs are long enough that they can straddle the bottom partner, the position will work.

Howard notes that the position also works well for partners with body size differences.

“With th
e right props, you can find a way to make it work with a top of almost any size,” she says.

Yep — pillows, pillows, and more pillows.

“Pillows can easily be used to pad the rider’s knees, to prop up the bottom’s hips, and to support the bottom’s neck,” Howard says.

Regular ol’ sleeping pillows will work fine, but a pillow specifically made for sex, like the Dame Pillo and Liberator Wedge, are sturdier.

“The deepest penetration is going to be when the shaft and top are all standing straight up,” Sadie says, so that the top and bottom are perpendicular to each other.

So, if penetration is too deep, don’t do that. Instead, have the top lean in one direction or another.

The bottom can also wear a penis bumper (like the Ohnut), or a strap-on with a shorter dildo (like the Fun Factory Limba Flex S).

Seated up and down on the shaft and still craving more depth?

One option is to prop a positioning tool under the bottom’s hips.

“Putting a pillow under the bottom’s hips can help the receiver eliminate any unused part of the cock or dildo,” Howard says.

Another option is to have the bottom wear a penis extender (like the OptiMALE PPA Extender) or a strap-on with a longer dildo (like the Vixskin Slim Dildo).

One of the best parts about the reverse rider is that there are so (!) many (!) opportunities (!) for incorporating additional stimulation into the mix.

Depending on the reverse rider variation, “the top can probably reach down and play with their clit or penis,” Sadie says.

In fact, because the top is facing away from their partner’s eyes, “reverse rider is a great position for people who want or need to play with their clit during sex… but who typically feel self-conscious about doing,” she says.

If hands (or hands with lube) do the trick, great!

Otherwise, Howard recommends using a stroker or vibrator. “A finger vibrator is an especially good pick because you don’t have to hold onto it,” she says.

If the position is being used for vaginal penetration, another option is to incorporate anal play. Options include:

  • the top wearing a butt plug
  • the bottom teasing the top’s anus with finger and lube
  • the bottom inserting and exerting a string of anal beads

Also possible!

“If the bottom has a penis, wearing a cock ring can help increase pleasure by increasing blood flow to the penis,” Sadie says.

A vibrating cock ring (like the Lelo Tor 2), which does so while simultaneously administering a pleasurable buzz, may work even better.

“The top can also reach down and stroke the bottom’s taint and/or balls,” she says.

If the bottom is strapping on, one option is to swap the dildo out for a vibrating dildo, or swap the harness out for one with a bullet vibrator pocket.

And again, there’s always anal play vis-à-vis a butt plug.

There’s no such thing as a Universally Pleasurable Sex Position. So, if reverse rider isn’t one you find pleasurable, don’t sweat it.

Instead, take what you learned about yourself from trying reverse rider to find a position you’ll like.

For example, if you liked having the receiver on top but hated the no-eye-contact thing, you might try regular ol’ rider.

If you enjoyed not being able to make eye contact with your partner but didn’t enjoy having the receiver be on top, try doggy style.

As William Shakespeare once said (or maybe not), “A reverse cowgirl by any other name can be just as pleasurable.” You just need to find a way to make it work for you!

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.