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How to Perform the Standing 69 Sex Position Without Getting Hurt

Advice from an adult film star and a board-certified sexologist

According to a recent survey of 1,000 Americans and Europeans, the standing 69 is the most intimidating sex position, evoking fear in approximately 56 percent of women and 42 percent of men.

The position — for those who aren’t well-versed in the more acrobatic genres of pornography — involves being picked up (or picking up) your partner while performing oral sex on each other. According to some who’ve done it, the experience has the potential to be great: “He suddenly picked me up off the bed so I was hanging upside down facing his penis and he was facing my vagina. I freaked out a bit at first in case he dropped me (lol) but we continued with the standing 69 for a little while. That’s the first time I’ve ever had the standing 69. It would be nice to do it again,” one person wrote on Reddit’s r/sex recently.

Read next: How bad is oral sex for your neck?

This oral sex move is, understandably, a bit tricky, so we turned to adult film star Rahyndee James and board-certified sexologist Lanae St. John for advice. Because as Winston Churchill once said, “Fear should never get in the way of fantasy, especially when giving righteous upright head.” (We’re still fact-checking that one, but it sounds legit.)

Work Out Your Core

Before even considering to attempt this position, James recommends getting in tip-top shape. “The man (or holder) must have very strong core muscles to keep everything steady,” she explains. “Getting into position is the hardest part, though: Once you’re there, you just hold on and suck for dear life.”

To ensure you and your partner are fully prepared to perform the standing 69, St. John also suggests investing in gravity boots, fitness gadgets that allow you to hang upside down from a bar. Yes, just like Deuce Bigalow (or…Batman?)

Get in the Zone

Thinking outside the box is one way to ensure a more intimate experience, according to our experts. “I feel like a koala hanging upside down on a tree with a branch to suck on,” James explains. “I picture something more along the lines of the Spider-Man kiss-in-the-rain scene, but with genitals,” St. John adds.

Don’t Dismount Too Quickly

If getting up off the couch too quickly makes you light-headed, be especially cautious when dismounting from the standing 69. “Don’t flip back to your feet too quickly—you might pass out,” James warns.

St. John recommends taking more formal precautions: “Make sure you have a safety plan in place and an agreed upon safe word (or tap-out movement) you can use if you need to stop in a hurry,” she suggests. “Then plan out how you will help during any eventualities.”

St. John also suggests practice. “Make sure to orgasm in that position before attempting the standing 69, to ensure you have the strength to dismount,” she emphasizes. “Some people are left feeling a little weak after ‘the Big O,’ and your partner might not be prepared to help you down.”

Personally, it seems like you should surround yourself and your partner with a thick layer of pillows before assuming the position, but maybe that’s just me.

Consider the Alternatives

“Just because a standing 69 could be done in theory, doesn’t mean it needs to be done,” St. John points out. “I’m not so sure this position would provide the most connected sex if (1) you’re thinking about your spatial relation to the floor; (2) you’re focusing on how quickly your head is pounding; (3) you’re balancing while simultaneously trying to enjoy the pleasure things being done to you; and (4) you’re doing pleasurable things to your partner.”

“I’m also not sure how the partner in the upside-down position could derive much pleasure from the standing 69 when blood is literally moving away from their pleasure region and towards their skull,” St. John continues.

Looks like it’s the most distressing sex position for a reason.

But hey, knock yourself out!

Probably literally.