The 69 Sex Position: What to Know

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on January 10, 2024
6 min read

photo of Sixty nine (69)

The 69 position, also known as sixty-nine, is a sex position in which two people perform oral sex on each other at the same time. There are several variations to this position.

It gets its name because the body positions of the two people involved look like the numbers 6 and 9. People of any gender or sexual orientation can use this position.

The 69 position requires coordination. You should be in sync, focusing on pleasure for yourself and your partner.

To begin, one partner lies down on their back or side. The other person turns around and straddles their partner’s head with genitals above the partner's face. Each partner then leans forward and starts oral sex on the other person.

There are several variations to the 69 sexual pose. Each brings a slightly different style, angle, and level of difficulty.

Classic 69

The bigger or heavier person is usually on the bottom. In opposite-sex couples, this is often the male. The bottom position is also suitable for some people with physical disabilities. 

The partner on top uses their knees and hands or elbows to help support their weight. A pillow under the head, knees, or butt of the bottom partner may make this position more comfortable.

Inverted 69

The bigger or heavier person is on top, which gives them more control over movement and positioning. The bottom partner can use their hands to help control speed or depth while giving oral sex. 

Sideways 69

Both partners lie on their sides while they give each other oral sex. This is less strenuous than the standard and inverted variations and can accommodate a range of body shapes and sizes. The sideways 69 may work better than other variations when one partner is much taller than the other. It can also be comfortable for people with disabilities.   

Squatting 69

Both partners face the same direction, one standing and one sitting. With buttocks in front of the sitting person’s face, the standing partner bends over at the waist and lowers their head down to their partner’s genitals. This gives the sitting partner access to the standing partner's butt for additional stimulation. 

Standing 69 

One partner stands. (For safety reasons, it should be the stronger of the two people.) Facing their partner, they pick them up and flip them upside down. Each partner positions their body so their genitals are near the other person’s face.

Penetrative 69

One or both partners inserts a sex toy like a dildo, vibrator, or butt plug into their partner while in the 69 position.

Analingus 69

One or both partners focus their efforts on their partner’s anus. This one can be combined with any of the other variations.

Threesome 69

A third partner joins the encounter. Participants lie on their sides, make a triangle formation, and proceed as in the sideways 69 position. One person brings their mouth to the second person’s genitals, the second person does the same to the third person, and the third person follows suit on the first person.

Swinging 69 position

This requires a sex toy called a sex swing, which hangs from the ceiling or a frame. One person leans back in the swing, using the swing's straps to secure their body in position. The other partner stands and bends over them to form a 69 position. 

If you don't have a sex swing, you can do a similar variation on a bed. One partner lies down with their head near the edge of the bed. The other stands beside the bed and leans over them. 

Not taking turns is too tiring

Many sex positions allow one partner to be in charge or doing more of the work. The 69 position requires enthusiastic participation from both partners the whole time, and the angles can get tiring. But partners can give their mouths a break and use their hands instead. If the genitals become too sensitive, a partner can use their mouth on other body parts.

Neither partner will achieve orgasm

Everyone’s different, but timing can be difficult when both partners are focused on each other. Still, reaching orgasm doesn’t need to be the main goal of the 69 position. Some people use it during foreplay before they move into other sexual positions.

If you want to try the 69 position with your partner, first have a discussion about how you’d like to position yourselves and what activities you’re comfortable with.

Talking to your partner about trying the 69 position

Communication is key when experimenting with new sexual positions. Speak openly and honestly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Talk through some of the different variations, especially those that expand the 69 position beyond oral-only sex, such as the penetrative or anal-play versions. Be sure you have your partner’s enthusiastic consent before you proceed.

It’s a good idea to talk through your plan before you start having sex, and outline how you’ll let your partner know if you’d like them to stop or want to do something different.

Possible risks

Height and weight variations between partners can be a significant factor in the 69 position.  The bigger or taller partner can be on the bottom for safety and comfort. 

Because of the opposite body positioning in 69, one partner’s legs and knees will be near the other’s face. Take care not to accidentally kick or knee your partner. You can try varying the position to find more control.

While there's no risk of pregnancy with oral sex, there's a chance it could spread sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like:

  • Chlamydia
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • HIV

To protect yourself and your partner, use a barrier such as a condom, plastic wrap, or dental dam when you have oral sex, especially if you're not in a monogamous relationship.

Experiment with who’s on top and who’s on bottom

You and your partner may want to try different variations to see if you have a preference for which of you is on top. Take into account each person's size, physical strength, and flexibility, as well as what feels most pleasurable.

Remember that the partner on top generally has more control of the action. So it's a good idea to switch it up from time to time, if that's physically feasible.

Protect your neck 

if the 69 position gives you neck pain, use a pillow (a special sex pillow or a regular one) to raise your head to reach your partner's genitals. The sideways 69 can also reduce neck pain.

Sex toys

Some people find that sex toys, such as dildos, penis rings, vibrators, and butt plugs, enhance the 69 experience.  When you're face-to-face with your partner's privates, it's easy to use toys to stimulate them. 

You can continue giving them oral sex while using a toy, or give your mouth a break while you do so. Using a toy can also be helpful for those who find it difficult to orgasm while focusing on giving oral sex.

Lubes can also help, especially if you have trouble making enough saliva. And don't forget that you can also use your hands to further stimulate your partner while you're in the 69 position.

How can you modify the move to account for body size difference?

Sideways 69 is doable for some partners of different sizes as well as many with disabilities.

A taller partner can be on the bottom and place pillows, blankets, or a wedge under their hips to help the other partner reach their genitals. The larger partner could lie on a bed with their head near the edge while the other person stands beside the bed, then leans over them. Or one partner can use a long-handled sex toy on the other while receiving oral sex.

A sex swing or sex positioning chair can also be helpful to those with differing body sizes and/or physical abilities. 

Orgasm doesn't have to be the goal

The 69 sex pose requires concentration and coordination. It may take time to find what works for both partners. And not everyone will be able to reach orgasm in this position. 

Instead of focusing mainly on orgasms, think of it as a way for you and your partner to enjoy each other's bodies and practice giving and receiving pleasure.

The 69 position is a sex position in which partners perform oral sex on each other at the same time. It has many variations and can be done by people of any gender or sexual orientation. Because it can be difficult to talk while you're in 69 position, it can be helpful to discuss it with your partner before you try it.