The Best Sex Positions For Arthritis & Joint Pain

As a sufferer of chronic pain and also clearly someone who loves sex, finding positions that reduce inflammation and provide support to sore joints have been a big part of my life for the last few years. 

As part of this guide, I spoke to leading sexual health experts, doctors and sex therapists to outline, definitely, what the best (and safest) sex positions are for anyone suffering from arthritis or more broader joint pain. 



The Best Sex Positions For Arthritis and Joint Pain (according to experts)



Chair Support 

For those with arthritis in their upper extremities, have your partner sit on a chair or end of the bed and then sit gently on them while they support you.
This position allows you to adjust your body to your comfort level and to find what feels good to you without any potentially painful weight on you or your tender joints. Your partner can assist in raising and lowering you, as needed, taking additional stress off of your lower body. 



For those with more widespread and lower body arthritis, I would recommend the missionary position (lying down with partner above you) with pillows under your hips and to support your body as needed.
Let your partner know which areas may be tender, so he/she/they can avoid causing any pain. This position allows for a great deal of room to adjust so you can be comfortable without causing stress to your body. While you start simply by lying on your back, you can also easily roll on your side if you need to adjust.
If you do not want your partner to lie on you or put any pressure on your body, they can support themselves on their hands and knees above you or by standing beside the bed. This position is also wonderful for connectivity and intimacy with your partner.
Antonia Hall Author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life and Sexy Little Guides 

Face Down Bottoms Up

Unfortunately, having sex with arthritis can be painful, especially during positions with prolonged crouching, kneeling, or squatting. So, to ensure you have a healthy sex life even with the disease.The best sex position for people with arthritis is ‘Face Down Bottoms Up’.
The receiving partner lays on the bed facing down with a pillow below the hips to offer relief and prop the butt. The giving partner creeps from behind. Penetrating from behind is much easier because the receiver’s butt is propped up and quick to access. In addition, the giving partner uses less energy that when sliding face to face.
Regardless of the partner who’s in pain, this sex position takes away strenuous moves, allowing both of you to enjoy the experience without stretching your hips, lower back, and knees.
Rachel Sommer, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and co-founder of My Sex Toy Guide

Wall Stand 

I recommend this position because it takes pressure off the receiver. The bottom partner hugs themselves with their forearms or hands and faces the wall. Then, the giver gets in from behind. The position enables the receiving partner to put less stress on the pelvic region and shoulders. Additionally, the giver can provide extra support to the receiver.

Both partners will have an easy time when either thrusting or using toys. Suppose the two have different heights, the shorter one can stand on a stable raised surface for more convenience.

Barbara Santini, Psychologist, Sex Therapist and Relationship Adviser at


Bed Support (seated)

When it comes to safe and comfortable sex positions for people with arthritis, it will depend on which joints are inflamed.
Commonly, people with arthritis have problems with their knees and hips. If this is you, avoiding excessive pressure on these joints will make sex much more comfortable and enjoyable.. Try sitting on the edge of a bed with your feet on the floor.
In this position the person seated can comfortably give oral sex. If you lie back, receiving oral sex in this position is also very comfortable. If you find added back support is desired, try sitting in a chair which puts you at face-level with your partner’s pelvis for the most comfortable experience.
joint pain image 1


Will these sex positions help to reduce pain e.g. joint pain, knee pain or general inflammation? 

These positions are not to be used as a means of treating particularly bad inflammation occurrences, rather they are to be used to not actively increase inflammation in relation to other sex positions. 


Is the weight of a straddling or ‘top’ position bad for joints? Could this lead to a flare-up? 

Generally, you’re going to want to opt for positions that reduce joint stress as much as possible. Any top positions which are not supported will cause greater joint stress than those which are not supported. We’ve provided supported alternatives to more common positions in this guide so that you can aim for a safer alternative to your favorite position. 


Should I ride on top if I have arthritis in my knees? 

Based on the expert feedback in this guide and my own experiences with poor knee health, a supported option is recommended in lieu of complete weight compression. Opting for a ‘standard’ riding position can lead to greater stress on your knees if they’re already inflamed. 


Can I get on top if I have upper body joint pain e.g. neck and shoulders? 

You can, but again you need to explore the alternatives in this guide and do your own research in terms of what will work for you. It’s imperative that you listen to your body, and that you do not force-through any pain. Please also ensure you speak to your doctor if you have any concerns whatsoever, or if either supported or non-supported sex positions lead to a greater increase in pain. 

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