What Is the Coital Alignment Technique?

Emily Jamea, Ph.D.., is a sex therapist, author and podcast host. You can find her here every month to share her latest thoughts on sex.

If you read a book about sexual positions, even the most flexible and fit person will probably be intimidated by images depicting bodies twisted into pretzel shapes in the name of sexual pleasure. If you have to read the fine print (or flip the book) to understand the mechanics of a sex position, let me save you some time: it’s probably not worth it.

We know that sexual variety is one of the keys to long-term passion, but I promise: it doesn’t have to be complex. After all, most couples resort to a few positions that bring them pleasure. But there’s one twist to the missionary position that doesn’t get enough attention, and it’s what I want to highlight in today’s column: the coital alignment technique.

What is the coital alignment technique?


The coital alignment technique, or CAT for short, is one of the best ways for heterosexual couples to experience physical pleasure and deep emotional intimacy simultaneously.

The position is simple: the female partner lies on her back while the male partner inserts himself. Once inserted, he moves your body slightly upward so that your pubic bones are aligned. Depending on your height, your head may be slightly above hers so that your head is more in line with your chest. Then, and here’s the secret, instead of pushing in and out, the couples rhythmically rub each other.

Let’s explore why the coital alignment technique is so pleasurable.

  1. Enhanced clitoral stimulation. Most women need external clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. Traditionally, this is achieved through manual stimulation of the clitoris or oral sex. The coital alignment technique, however, offers clitoral stimulation through pressure on the male partner’s pubic bone. This is especially wonderful for women for whom pressure on just the tip of the clitoris is too much. The pubic bone offers a broader plane of pressure and stimulation that many women find especially pleasurable.
  2. Control of male ejaculation. Men usually reach orgasm within two to ten minutes after rapid stimulation. Since the coital alignment technique is slow and reduces sensation in the head of the penis because the male partner moves slowly instead of thrusting in and out quickly, many men find that they can last longer before reaching orgasm.
  3. Reduce orgasm gap. Many heterosexual couples get caught in what is known as the “orgasm gap,” or the difference in the time it takes for men and women to climax. Since CAT extends the time before the male partner climaxes while focusing on stimulation of the female partner’s clitoris, partners are more likely to reach orgasm at around the same time.
  4. Mutual pleasure. Unlike other sexual positions that may prioritize one partner’s pleasure over another’s, CAT is designed to be mutually pleasurable. Synchronized movements create a shared experience, fostering a deeper connection between partners. The emphasis on mutual pleasure can lead to a more satisfying sexual relationship, as well as greater emotional intimacy.
  5. Intimacy and Connection. The coital alignment technique encourages couples to be more in tune with each other’s bodies and sexual cues. The intentional focus on timing and alignment fosters a sense of connection and intimacy. Additionally, being face-to-face allows for eye contact, which significantly deepens the emotional connection.
  6. Prolonged sexual relations. Couples are often guilty of rushing into sex, which can lead to unsatisfying encounters. The coital alignment technique offers slower, more deliberate movements, which can lead to longer-lasting sexual intercourse. This gives couples more time to explore each other sexually, which also encourages emotional intimacy.
  7. Accessibility and Comfort. You don’t have to be a contortionist to enjoy the coital alignment technique. In fact, it is known for its accessibility and comfort, making it suitable for people of all body types and people with physical limitations. The coital alignment technique allows couples to focus on connection rather than the distraction of impractical maneuvers.

The coital alignment technique is one of the simplest yet profound ways to enhance pleasure and foster emotional intimacy at the same time. By prioritizing clitoral stimulation while reducing friction on the head of the penis, the coital alignment technique reduces the orgasm gap and allows couples to generate pleasure for each other.

Through synchronized movements, the coital alignment technique invites couples to pay closer attention to other, more subtle sexual cues that serve to enhance arousal and build connection. Couples who are open to exploring new avenues toward intimacy may find that incorporating the coital alignment technique creates a renewed sense of connection, pleasure, and overall satisfaction—without any of the acrobatics.

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