In Prince's song "Get Off," the lyrics go, "Twenty-three positions in a one-night stand." Unfortunately, that number is incorrect because according to an article in The Cut, there are actually only six sex positions.
Gabriella Paiella writes, "When it comes to heterosexual penetrative penis-in-vagina sex, there is only a handful of actual positions that everyone uses regularly." All those other positions are just variations on a theme. This isn't to say that you shouldn't be creative and use toys, dirty talk and experiment, just that the basic sex positions are limited.
Once you have those basic moves down, there are any number of modifications and adaptions you can do, just like with art. You can't write a musical if you don't know the notes first, and so it goes with sex positions. You're probably familiar with the six positions, but let's refresh.
The most basic of the basic positions.
The woman is on top facing the man in this one.
This position is the woman on top, facing away from the man. A good sense of balance is helpful for this position.
The man enters the woman from behind, and they're either on all fours or lying on their stomachs. Pillows can be helpful with this position.
Like doggy-style, the man enters the woman from behind, but they are lying on their sides. An argument could be made that this is just doggy-style modified, but it seems like lying on your sides makes it different enough.
All images: Alex Citrin
This one is self-explanatory. Everybody tries it and hardly anyone admits, it's not really that enjoyable.
You may be asking, "What about the pile driver position? Shouldn't that be included?" The Pile Driver requires a lot of skill and flexibility, and even then it can be extremely uncomfortable for both partners.
In the Pile Driver, the woman lies on the bed and lifts her legs up in the air. Her partner grabs the back of her ankles and pushes them toward her head. The man then must keep the woman steady while penetrating her. This position is reserved for professional porn stars and perhaps contortionists, but not for everyday people, so it's not included in the list.
Paiella says, "One exception to the theory [that there are only six sex positions] is the delicately named Pile Driver, but scientists say that nobody has ever tried this off of a porn set. (One non-professional couple is rumoured to have given it a shot; they both died immediately.)"