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What Is the Full Nelson Sex Position?

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 16, 2020

Some sex positions likely should only be tried by very athletic partners with excellent communication skills. The full nelson, which resembles the wrestling move after which it is named, is one such position. Martial arts experience may also help a person accomplish the move safely.

The full nelson sex position requires strong communication and lots of trust, and even then, it can be risky. Some vulva-owners who appreciate variety may enjoy this position as a transition from reverse cowgirl. It’s best performed at short intervals, though, because it can be tiring and uncomfortable even for well-practiced partners.

If you’re unfamiliar with this position, use extreme caution and be sure to consider with your partner all the risks, which can include difficulty breathing and risk of severe neck injury for the partner on top.

How Does It Work?

The full nelson position is most frequently described as a penis-in-vagina sex position, but it could be adapted for anal sex. It could also be adapted for use between women using a strap-on dildo.

The full nelson is easiest to get into from reverse cowgirl. From there the person on top lies back and puts their legs up into a V. The partner on the bottom wraps their arms around the top partner’s legs, holding them back with their elbows and locking their fingers behind the top person’s neck.

What Is the Difference Between the Full Nelson and Nelson’s Sandwich?

While the full nelson is a position for two people, nelson’s sandwich is a threesome position designed for double penetration.

Myths About the Full Nelson Sex Position

Because of the visual it creates, the full nelson position is popular in pornography, but its difficulty and potential danger means that it is less common between real couples.

How to Try the Full Nelson Sex Position Safely

This move requires a certain height differential, great flexibility from the person on top, and perfect control from the person on bottom. Both partners must also have a strong core and good balance.

Talking to Your Partner

If you are interested in trying the position, make sure to discuss it fully with your partner beforehand. You might even practice getting into the position before adding the element of penetration.

Possible Risks

There are several potential dangers of the full nelson sex position. These include:

Reduced Breath

Because the bottom person bears the entire weight of the top person, it can be a little difficult to breathe. The neck position of the top person will also result in shallower breathing.

Penis Injury

While the angle should not create a problem for the penis, the precarious balance might. If you start to wobble, communicate with your partner to avoid a sudden wrench to the side.

Pulled Muscles

If you’re going to try this position, warm up first. The person on top has to stretch quite a bit.

Neck Injury

The biggest danger is to the neck of the person on top. The person on bottom has to be incredibly careful not to push too hard on the neck. In fact, the full nelson wrestling move is illegal in amateur wrestling due to the risk of injury. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

All Star Sex Positions: “Do NOT Use the Full Nelson Sex Position Unless She Does This...”

The American Journal of Sports Medicine: “Injuries of Wrestling.”

Romancoholic: “How To Perform The Full Nelson Sex Position.”

Sexual Positions Free: “The Full Nelson Sex Position.”

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