Although the Bible does not mention sexual positions, from the 6th to 16th centuries, some Church authorities taught that intercourse should be face-to-face, man-on-top, primarily because they believed that semen flows with gravity, leading to conception. With the penis inside the woman's vagina, the man can control the force, depth, pace, and rhythm of thrusts , and can also control to some extent the female partner's movements. During sexual intercourse in the missionary position, the penis is in preferential contact with the anterior wall of the vagina and the tip of the penis reaches the anterior fornix , while in the rear-entry position it is in preferential contact with the posterior wall of the vagina and probably reaches the posterior fornix. When the woman's vagina is sufficiently lubricated, which may involve fingering her vulva or clitoris in particular, the man will level his erect penis with her vagina for penetration , and may use fingers to open the woman's labia and guide the penis in.
At times, a woman can achieve orgasm after the man has ceased thrusting by contracting her vaginal muscles and with pelvic movements, or the couple may change to another position that enables the woman to continue thrusting until she has reached orgasm, such as a woman on top position. With the man's weight on the woman, especially on her pelvis, the man has control of the rhythm and depth of his thrusts, in the most sexually sensitive part of her body. Alternatively, the woman may either arch her back or raise her torso onto her elbows or arms to reduce the angle and enhance clitoral stimulation. Beds existed, yet not as we know them today, and men married girls 14 or 15 years of age, which created a height differential. While many states formerly outlawed oral sex , anal sex , buggery , or other "unnatural" acts, no US law has banned dorso-ventral heterosexual sex, or specified which partner needed to be on top. The woman can rest her legs on the man or he can hold them or separate them. However, this increases vaginal friction and makes thrusting more difficult. The woman can move her body freely. The images illustrate the very natural fit of the male and female genitals in [the missionary] position. This section needs additional citations for verification. Some are flexible enough to cross the legs behind their heads. He mentioned that the position was learned from "white traders, planters, or officials", but does not discuss missionaries. It is often regarded as a romantic position because the two partners face each other and may maintain eye contact; there is potentially a greater amount of skin-to-skin contact than in any other position; and the couple can hold each other in their arms, which can easily segue into cuddling when sex is over. Alternatively, her partner may hold her legs up. Muscles of the pelvic floor are more relaxed if, initially, the missionary position is chosen and a couple of pillows are arranged under the woman's bottom so her hips are tilted upwards. She can dangle her legs over the edge or raise them to any height or manner mentioned above. The penis has the shape of a boomerang—one third of its length consists of the root of the penis—and the vaginal walls wrap snugly around it. During sexual intercourse, most women experience involuntary vaginal contractions. Some men try to control their orgasm until their female partner also orgasms, but this is not always achieved. When the woman's vagina is sufficiently lubricated, which may involve fingering her vulva or clitoris in particular, the man will level his erect penis with her vagina for penetration , and may use fingers to open the woman's labia and guide the penis in. After a man has achieved orgasm, he will normally collapse onto the woman and will normally not be capable of further thrusting. Variations in the positions may vary the angle and depth of penile penetration. According to John Bancroft's Human Sexuality and Its Problems, Thomas Aquinas believed that crimes against nature included intercourse in "unnatural" ways. Finally, Malinowski wrote that he saw an engaged Trobriand couple holding hands and leaning against each other, which the natives described as misinari si bubunela—the missionary fashion. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A woman's legs can remain flat or raised toward her chest, or wrapped around the penetrating partner at various heights:
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