What is the Butterfly Sex Position?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 07, 2023
4 min read

The butterfly is a sex position where the partner with a vagina lies on their back at the edge of the bed or other surface, and the partner with a penis stands or kneels in front and between the partner’s legs. The standing partner does most of the work. The partner lying down can move their legs for comfort and stimulation.

Known as “The Blossoming Position” in the ancient text the Kama Sutra, this position is considered very pleasurable because of deep penetration. Also, the clitoris can be manually stimulated in this position.

In the butterfly sex position, the receiving partner lies down and the partner with a penis stands in front so that the pelvis is a few inches above their partner’s pelvis. 

The butterfly is a very easy and versatile sex position that is comfortable for both partners. Many similar positions with slight differences are known by different names. Partners can try slight adjustments to see which options are most enjoyable for both. Below are several variations to this popular position.


The standing person leans forward into their partner’s legs, pushing the legs back toward the head.

Legs on One Shoulder

The partner that is lying down rests both legs on one shoulder of the person who is standing. This creates a tighter fit for penetration.


By crossing the legs and placing the left ankle on the left shoulder of the standing partner and the right ankle on the right shoulder, crisscross creates a smaller insertion point for the penis.

Right Angle

With the legs pointed directly at the ceiling, the partner lying down creates a 90-degree angle with their body.

Praying Mantis

While the partner with a penis is on their knees, the other person bends one leg outward, and their partner pushes down on that leg.


Similar to the praying mantis position, the sandwich is when the partner lying down bends both legs outward while the other person pushes down on both legs.

Launch Pad

The partner on their back squeezes their legs together and bends the knees up toward their chest, resting the heels on their partner’s chest.

Viennese Oyster

The standing partner pushes the other person’s legs straight back toward their head, eventually touching their toes to the surface they are lying on. This position should only be done if the partner who is lying down is very flexible.

It’s Only for Heterosexual Couples

The poses in the traditional Kama Sutra typically describe vaginal penetration by a male, but same-sex couples can do many of the moves, too.

It’s Uncomfortable for the Receiving Partner

Because the butterfly position allows for deep penetration, some receiving partners may find this uncomfortable. But just because deep penetration is possible doesn’t mean it has to happen. The partner with the penis can take care to go slowly and be considerate of their partner’s comfort and pleasure. Good communication is key to making this position work.

As with all aspects of sexual intercourse, communication between partners is essential. Make sure you both know what the position is and that you both feel comfortable. Sex is about playfulness, says Dr. David Yarian, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, in Oprah Magazine. He suggests limiting your expectations for what you want to achieve and focusing on pleasure and playfulness instead.

Talking to Your Partner About Trying the Butterfly

If this is a new position for you and your partner, you’ll want to discuss how you’ll try it and where. If you’re interested in trying variations, plan to communicate clearly when you’ll switch up the position. You can keep in mind a few ideas for keeping this position both comfortable and pleasurable:

  • You can use pillows or a cushion under the hips to help with the angle and leverage and to avoid overexertion or strained muscles.
  • If the butterfly is being performed from a kneeling position, a pillow can aid in elevation as well as comfort for the partner who’s on their knees.
  • In order for the penis to hit the G-spot, the lying-down partner’s hips should be higher  so the penis is thrusting in an upward motion. 
  • Keep adjusting the angles of penetration until you find one that works for you and your partner.

Possible Risks

The butterfly sex position allows for deep penetration, so you should use caution when attempting it.

Depending on the variation of the butterfly, the leg muscles can be strained or injured if not properly stretched beforehand. You should also use caution with the hips and pelvic muscles and ligaments.

Additionally, the upright partner must be cautious about applying too much weight when pushing down on their partner’s legs, especially in the anvil and Viennese oyster variations.