What Is the Eagle Sex Position?

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

The eagle sex position is sometimes called the spread eagle position. It is a two-person position designed to accommodate sexual penetration, manual stimulation, or oral sex. 

In this position, the person on top traditionally does most of the work while the person on the bottom maintains a static position that allows for access and deep penetration. 

The eagle is very popular in both pornography and sex advice columns. At one point, after a reality TV star confessed that it was their favorite position, internet searches for the position caused a sex site to crash.

The eagle sex position is traditionally described as a penis-in-vagina position, but it can also be used with a dildo or during grinding or anal sex. The bottom person’s position can also be maintained while receiving oral sex, but this use makes the eagle-shaped outline of the joined bodies less prominent.

In the eagle position, the person on the bottom lies back, lifts and spreads their legs wide in the shape of a V. For added stability and stretch, they may grab their ankles if capable of it.

This position can be entered prior to genital contact or after it. One popular entry is from the missionary position. An additional psychological and/or physical element can be added to this position by cuffing the bottom person’s ankles to their wrists. Doing so heightens the power dynamic and increases the spread person’s vulnerability.

In a slight variation on the eagle, the person on the bottom with spread legs can rest at the edge of a counter or bed while their partner penetrates them from a standing position. This adaptation may particularly benefit partners of significant height differences.

While eagle and spread eagle are the same position, the others are variations or, in the case of exposed eagle, different positions altogether. 

Reverse Spread Eagle

In this position, the person with spread legs is face down rather than face up. It requires either more flexibility or better balance than the original position, depending on whether the person intends to lie flat against the surface or hover above it.

Standing or Sofa Spread Eagle

These positions use the spread legs of the original eagle but adapt it to a standing position. In the standing eagle, the person with spread legs is pinned against the wall and/or only has one leg spread, standing on the other one.

The sofa spread eagle does not necessarily require a sofa. The person spreading their legs either stands on the edge of a bed or couch or balances on two chairs. They then squat slightly, opening their hips to allow for standing penetration.

Exposed Eagle

The exposed eagle is substantially more difficult. Designed for penis-in-vagina sex, it requires that the person on top have a lot of flexibility.

From a cowgirl position, the person on top tucks their feet under their butt and leans back until their back rests on their partner’s legs. While they are doing so, the person on bottom sits up to allow for continued penetration.

The myth associated with this position is that the person on the bottom with spread legs has to be incredibly flexible. While flexibility can certainly be an asset in the eagle position, allowing for deeper penetration, the eagle only requires that the legs be spread out to the sides. If you can’t grab your ankles, try grabbing the insides of your calves, knees, or thighs to stabilize the position.

The eagle position can be tried by most people of average health and fitness. 

Talking to Your Partner about Trying the Eagle Sex Position

Clear communication is always important when it comes to sex. It leads to greater sexual satisfaction and satisfaction within relationships. If you would like to discuss a new position, it’s best to talk it over with your partner. 

However, because the position only requires the person on bottom to spread their legs to the sides from a missionary position, it is a good option for people who are still a little shy about discussing sex. They can spread their legs to the side without any danger to their partner resulting from the element of surprise.

Possible Risks

Be careful not to overstretch when trying the eagle sex position as it may lead to muscle strain. In addition, any thrusting position can aggravate weak or damaged back muscles of the person thrusting, particularly if they are susceptible to lower back pain.