5 manageable sex positions that are great for people with breathing problems

5 manageable sex positions that are great for people with breathing problems
Sex positions that involve both people lying down can be better for breathing.jhorrocks/Getty Images
  • Lying on your side during penetrative sex is a good position for two people with breathing problems.
  • The person with breathing issues can penetrate their partner in standing doggy without too much cardio work.

If you have a breathing issue like asthma or emphysema, it can be hard to find a sex position that won't trigger your symptoms.

But there are a few positions you can try that help by avoiding overexertion and keeping pressure off of your chest.

Here are five sex positions that are ideal for people with breathing problems.

1. Lying on your side

"Having sex in positions that are less strenuous can be helpful for those with breathing issues," says Rachel Needle, a psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.

The lying on your side position is especially good if both partners struggle with breathing, because neither partner needs to support their own weight or bounce up and down.


To do this position, follow these steps:

1. Both partners lie down on their sides on a surface like a bed, facing one another.

2. The receiving partner places their top leg onto the penetrating partner's top hip.

3. The penetrating partner slides forward so that their hips are on top of the receiving partner's bottom leg.

Quick tip: "To make it even easier to breathe, you can add a pillow between your legs and make sure your head is elevated," Needle says.


2. Cowgirl/boy

"Cowgirl or cowboy position can work well if the partner on the bottom is the one with the breathing issue and does not exert too much energy," Needle says.

Cowgirl/boy is also a great option because your faces are not too close to one another.

This "allows for more deep breathing and mouth exhale, which is required by some people with breathing issues," says Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, a professor of sexual communication at California State University, Fullerton.

To do cowgirl/boy position:

1. The penetrating partner lies on their back on a bed or other surface.


2. The receiving partner kneels over them, with their knees on each side of the penetrating partner's hips.

If the person on the bottom has breathing issues — It's important that "the person on top is careful not to put too much pressure on the bottom partner, specifically their chest," Needle says.

If the person on top has breathing issues, it's important to avoid overexertion. Cowgirl/boy is more about moving the hips back and forth than squatting up and down, which tends to make you more out of breath, Suwinyattichaiporn says.

3. Spooning

The spooning position is another great option to save your energy and avoid getting too out of breath.

It's "great for people with breathing issues because it requires small movements and less cardio," Suwinyattichaiporn says.


Spooning may also be a good option because you and your partner won't be breathing into each others' faces, which can make deep breathing more difficult.

To get into the spooning position, follow these steps:

1. Both partners lie down on their sides on a bed or other surface.

2. Both partners should face the same direction, so the penetrating partner faces the receiving partner's back.

3. The receiving partner can lift one leg and place it onto the penetrating partner's top leg, or prop it up with a pillow.


4. The penetrating partner can then thrust from behind.

This position works especially well if the receiving partner has breathing issues, as their chest isn't compressed in any way and they don't need to move too much.

Quick tip: If the penetrating partner has breathing issues, they should be careful not to press their chest too hard into their partner's back, as this may inhibit breathing.

4. Standing doggy

Standing doggy position is similar to the classic doggy style, but it works better for people with breathing issues.

This is a good position if the penetrator has breathing issues, because they have plenty of open breathing space and don't need to move too much.


You can get into standing doggy following these steps:

1. The receiving partner stands in front of a raised surface like a counter or high bed.

2. The receiver then bends all the way forward and rests their palms or forearms on the surface.

3. The penetrating partner stands behind and penetrates them from this position.

4. If one partner is much shorter than the other, they can stand on a thick pillow for better alignment.


Quick tip: If you're the receiver and have breathing issues, "keep your head up because most people get stuffy noses when they face down for a long time," Suwinyattichaiporn says.

5. Non-penetrative sex

It's important to remember that traditional penetrative sex is not your only sexual option.

For example, fingering and mutual masturbation can be great sexual experiences, Suwinyattichaiporn says — "they both require low energy and can be a connecting experience."

It may take some trial and error to find sexual practices that don't exacerbate your symptoms, especially if your breathing problems are severe. Experimenting with different types of sex can help you find what works for you and your partner.

"Sex can still be passionate and wonderful in many ways that don't include intense cardio and breathing directly into the person's face," Suwinyattichaiporn says.


Insider's takeaway

If you, your partner, or both struggle with breathing issues like asthma, it's important to find sex positions that feel good and encourage easy breathing.

Lower energy positions that don't compress your chest like standing doggy and spooning can be good options to try.

"Try to find positions that minimize energy and stress on the body, will not exacerbate symptoms, and that keep your airways relaxed," Needle says.

Most importantly, "pay attention to your own body and communicate with your partner(s)," Needle says.