On the heels of comparable guidelines for men, part two of the first-ever study documenting how the spine moves during sex has released recommendations for women on how to put the pleasure back in lovemaking.
The team that hails from Waterloo University says it depends on the kind of back pain afflicting the patient.
Women who experience pain upon stretching to touch their toes or after extended periods of sitting are considered flexion-intolerant, and the researchers recommend they try spooning or doggy-style sex in which the woman supports herself with her hands rather than elbows.
On the contrary, women who are extension-intolerant, meaning that they experience pain upon arching their backs or lying on their stomachs, should stick to the missionary position and place a pillow under their spine for support.
Spooning was once recommended for the extension-intolerant, but the Waterloo study has disproved this since the first wave of its findings was revealed, recommending doggy-style sex for men looking to avoid back pain.
"Traditionally, spooning was recommended by physicians to all individuals with back pain because it was thought to reduce nerve tension and load on the tissues," says Natalie Sidorkewicz, a PhD candidate at Waterloo who led the study. "But when we examined spine motion and muscle activity, we found that spooning can actually be one of the worst positions for certain types of back pain."
Ten healthy males and females performed coitus in five pre-established positions, including doggy-style while supporting the body with the elbows and again supporting the body with the hands.
They also performed two variations of the missionary position, one of which required increased flexion at the hips and knees. The final position observed was spooning, deemed "sidelying" by the researchers.
Both infrared and electromagnetic motion capture systems were used to assess how subjects moved their spines during intercourse.
They did not take note of fators such as condom use or hormone-based birth control that could have affected genital sensitivity and therefore movement during lovemaking.
The study was published in the European Spine Journal.
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