Problems with your hips are not just for people who need hip replacements.
While hip replacement is common as we age (1.5 percent of people over 65 have one, over 3 percent of people over 75 have had one) there are many other issues which can plague this body part.
Muscle strains and pulls can affect this region and be mistakenly attributed to other body parts (e.g., groin pulls, gluteal muscle injuries).
Hip issues can also be precipitated by decreases in bone density, decrease in flexibility, or athletic injury.
Understanding hip pain
Hip pain can develop at any point in your life. It may present as a deep ache or stiffness, groin pain, swelling, tenderness, or limping.
When an injury is the cause of hip pain, it is often recognized and diagnosed quickly.
Other causes of hip pain, such as misalignment of the spine or chronic overuse, may take longer to figure out.
The hip is composed of the pelvis and a socket joint for the femur (the long upper leg bone). The bursa, a fluid-filled sac in this joint, provides cushioning.
The bursa can become inflamed, causing chronic hip pain (often misattributed to the lower back).
The muscles and tendons which support this joint can experience tares, inflammation, overuse, and strain. Arthritis is a common issue for this joint as you age.
The most common treatments for hip pain are over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g. Aleve).
For strain and inflammation, ice packs applied a few times a day for 15 minutes can be helpful.
For muscle overuse, heating pads or warm baths may help with the pain.
Hips and sex
Hips are very involved in sex. You engage in hip thrusting and movement for any type of penetrative sex. The genitals are located in this region and moving about, getting into various positions, and any form of laying or sitting down will involve a lot of use of your hips. This means, when your hips hurt, it can be difficult or painful to have sex.
Luckily, there are positions and adjustments you can take to reduce or alleviate hip pain during sex.
- In general, you want to avoid positions which require turning outward of the thigh or entire leg.
- Avoid movements and positions which require you to flex your hips backward (such as the cobra pose in yoga).
- Avoid any position which requires turning at the waist.
- Also avoid positions which require your legs open at more than a 30-degree angle (e.g., spread-eagle).
Take a pain killer BEFORE sex
An ounce of prevention goes a long way here.
If you have regular hip pain, taking a pain killer before you engage in sexy time can reduce or even eliminate your pain.
Most over-the-counter pain medications take 30 to 45 minutes to take full effect.
Taking a pain pill about a half an hour before you plan to engage in sex will mean you are at peak pain relief levels when you and a partner are having fun.
If you are on prescriptions which are affected by over-the-counter medications, check with your healthcare provider first.
If you are on an aspirin regimen to reduce heart attack and stroke risk, you may not be able to take an over-the-counter pain killer or you may experience stomach upset when taking additional pain medication.
If you are already on a prescription NSAID (like Meloxicam), you should not add additional NSAIDs to your medication.
Stretch or ice first
If you have arthritis or other forms of joint swelling which impact your hip, gentle stretching or icing (or both) prior to having sex can really help!
To ice, apply a ice pack to your hip and ice for 10 to 15 minutes. For stretching, try these options to help prepare your body for sexy fun and reduce your hip pain.
Knee to Chest stretch
For this stretch, lie on your back with both legs extended. Bring one knee up toward your chest. Use your arms or a yoga strap to gently pull your leg and knee up toward your upper chest. Hold for 15 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.
Reclining Angle Pose
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Let both knees fall open and toward the floor. Turn your feet sideways to put the soles of your feet together.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Kneel on the floor. Extend the foot of the upright leg forward about six inches. Lean forward from your hips stretching your hip flexor and upper thigh. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Repeat with the opposite leg.
Seated Hip Rotator Stretch
Sit in a chair. Cross one leg over the knee of the other, placing your ankle on the opposite knee. Hold onto the shin of the crossed leg and gently lean forward. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.
Best sex positions for bad hips
This position is great for people with hip issues because it does not require a large range of motion to enjoy sex.
Lie on the side which does not have/has less hip pain. Your partner spoons you (or you spoon them) with your knees gently bent. The penetrating partner is the “big spoon.”
This position works for both vaginal and anal penetration. The penetrating partner can also reach over their partner’s body to stimulate their genitals, nipples, or stroke them gently.
This also works well for people who enjoy having their neck kissed/kissing their partner’s neck during sex.
Missionary position is good if the person on top is the one with hip issues.
This position allows the person on top to avoid overextending the hip and they do not have to open their thighs much or rotate their hips in this position.
After hip replacement surgery, missionary is safe for both partners.
If the person with a vagina is the one on top, this position may be a bit more difficult in the first six to eight weeks post-surgery but will become comfortable over time.
In this position, the partner receiving penetration lies face down and their partner enters them from behind. If the partner on the bottom is the one with bad hips, they can keep their legs together.
Using a pillow or sex wedge under your hips will raise your bottom and can make penetration easier.
If the partner on top has the bad hips, the partner on the bottom can open their legs in a “V” shape allowing the person with bad hips to keep their legs together and enter them from behind.
The person on the bottom may want to lie on a sex wedge with the narrow end under their abdomen to raise their upper body to make breathing easier.
This should not be done if the person on the bottom has bad hips as it will over-extend your hips during sex.
Standing, Facing the Wall
For this position, the receiving partner stands facing the wall and uses their arms to brace themselves. The other partner can enter them from behind.
This takes the pressure off all the joints except the ankles for the receiving partner.
The penetrating partner has some pressure on the ankles and feet, and possibly hands and wrists if they use these to brace against the wall. For people with hip and lower back arthritis, this is a great choice for both partners.
If there is a large height difference between you and a partner, use a sturdy box or exercise step to raise up the shorter partner.
Avoid using step stools or step ladders to give the shorter partner more height because this can make the shorter partner unstable and more likely to fall during sex.
Invest in a Few Good Sex Toys
Sex toys are happy little helpers in bed and not your competitor. Investing in the right sex toys can make sex more comfortable, help both of you climax more regularly, and increase the amount of time you enjoy sex in one session.
Wand-style vibrators are great toys! These versatile toys can be used by people of all genders on many body parts. Additionally, they make great massage tools for any achy body part.
Wand vibrators come in many sizes from small travel-sized to upward of 15 inches long.
You want to choose a wand which will be comfortable for you to hold for up to 10 minutes at a time. Your personal hand size and strength will help determine which wand you will want to buy. For a guide on selecting the right wand for you, check out this post on Love Letters To A Unicorn.
Wand vibrators are great for using on a clitoris. They provide various levels and patterns of vibrations which help many people reach climax. The head of the wand also feels good when used underneath the testicles and on the shaft of a penis.
Most people with penises find they prefer a very light vibration in these areas, so start of the lowest setting when trying a wand in these areas.
Some people enjoy using the wand on the area between the genitals and anus. Wands with a deeper vibration or strong vibration pattern can be used here to stimulate the G-spot or prostate from outside the body.
If you do use the vibrator in this area, make sure you clean it with warm, soapy water before using it on a clitoris to prevent a urinary tract infection.
If your partner enjoys intense nipple stimulation, using the wand on their nipples directly or on nipple clips attached to their nipples will provide a new and interesting sensation.
Many wand models also have various attachments which can be used for a variety of types of stimulation.
If you or a partner enjoys penetration and G-spot stimulation, insertable attachments like the Doxy G-Spot attachment. If you or your partner have a difficult time providing a hand job for a person with a penis, a masturbation sleeve attachment can be very helpful.
Make sure to add lubricant to the sleeve to improve the sensation and prevent the sleeve from tugging on skin while being used.
Remote-Controlled and App-Based Toys
There is an enormous selection of remote-controlled and app-based toys for all genders. These toys can be controlled with a small, handheld remote or through an app on a cell phone.
Wearable sex toys and most remote controlled cock rings can be worn without any pain on the hips whatsoever.
Toys for Penises
Vibrating Cock Rings & Butt Plugs
Cock rings fit over the shaft of the penis and rest at its base. They can help people keep erections by assisting to keep the blood in an erection longer than it would stay without one.
Additionally, vibrating options can help increase stimulation and assist with orgasm.
Models like the We-Vibe Bond can be controlled by a phone app. This allows someone to control their own toy with their phone, a partner can control the toy during play, and people can log in remotely and stimulate a partner from anywhere in the world.
This is especially useful for people who are in long-distance relationships or may not currently be with a partner.
Some cock rings come with an additional butt plug. These toys fit around the shaft of the penis at the base and then the plug is inserted into the anus. Remote controlled options like the B-Vibe Snug and Tug provide the benefits of a cock ring with the additional benefit of prostate stimulation.
Because people with arthritis often have co-occurring conditions like heart disease or diabetes which can impact sexual function, a cock ring and prostate stimulator can be very helpful in assisting in getting an erection and reaching climax without adding other medications.
Toys for Vaginas
For people with vaginas, stimulating the clitoris or G-spot is often necessary in order to reach orgasm. If you have difficulty stimulating your own clitoris or a partner’s remote controlled and app based toys are a great option.
There are many remote and app-controlled toys designed to assist in stimulating the G-Spot.
Toys like the We-Vibe Rave G-Spot Stimulator is an app-controlled toy. The vibrator is inserted into the vagina and positioned to touch the G-spot.
The app is then used to control the intensity and pattern of the vibrations. Like many app-controlled items, this toy can be controlled by the wearer, a partner, or someone in a distant location.
Other toys offer a wearable option. These toys fit in the vagina and wrap around to reach the clitoris. These toys can be worn while doing other things, like having a romantic dinner. The We-Vibe Chorus is a great example of this type of wearable toy. The app allows separate control over the G-spot and clitoral vibrations. This allows you to customize the type of stimulation you enjoy the most.
Oral sex is a great option if you or a partner has hip problems. The person receiving oral sex can choose any of a wide range of positions which is comfortable for them.
This may include lying on their back with their knees bent and feet on the bed; on their back with their knees bent and raised toward their chest, seated on a chair, or standing.
The person performing oral sex also has a wide range of position options.
They can lie on their stomach between their partner’s legs; lie underneath their partner while the receiver straddles their face; kneel at the foot of the bed or a chair; or sit at the edge of a bed or chair while their partner stands.
The most comfortable positions for oral sex if both partner’s have bad hips:
Receiver Standing - Giver Seated
This is a very safe and comfortable position if both of you have hip problems. The giver sits on the edge of a bed or comfortable chair. The receiver stands in front of them.
The giver can support the receiver by placing their hands on their partner’s lower back or bottom during oral sex.
For this position, the receiving partner lies on their back with their legs open a bit. The giver lies on their stomach between their partner’s legs. Either partner may want to use pillows to help support themselves to make this more comfortable.
This position is easily maintained by both partners for an extended period of time.
Hot Tub or shower Sex
If warm water helps reduce your hip pain, consider having sex in the shower or a hot tub.
If you have a hot tub you can have sex in, enjoy the warm bubbles until your pain starts to reside. If you have a penis, sit on one of the seats in the tub. Have your partner straddle you and ride.
Warm water can wash away natural lubrication. Using a hybrid-base or silicone lube (if you are enjoying anal sex) can make sex much more comfortable in a hot tub. For vaginal sex, try MOJO Anal Relaxing Water as an option for anal sex. Sliquid Organics Natural is a great option for vaginal sex.
Shower sex sounds great in theory, but many people find it disappointing. Here are a few options that really work.
Facing the Wall Away from the Water
For this position, the receptive partner faces the wall opposite of the shower head. They use their hands and forearms to brace against the tile. The penetrating partner stands behind them and enters them. This position works because both partners have a lot of balance support with the wall. The water can run over the back of the entering partner and they in turn can help keep the receptive partner warm.
This is a version of the triceratops position. If you or your partner find the water annoying or have balance issues, start by warming up with some sexy kissing and touching in the shower. The warm water will help loosen stiff joints.
Then, turn off the water and get out of the tub. The receiving partner stands, facing the edge of the tub and bends forward, supporting themselves with their hands on the edge of the tub. The penetrating partner stands behind them and enters them. This takes pressure off of the hips of both partners. It is especially good if both partners have arthritis, as the warm water will help relax stiff joints.
Invest in Sex Furniture
Sex wedges and pillows are very useful if you have hip problems. You can use these pillows to support your body, to help keep your knees or hips in a comfortable position, and provide extra cushioning.
Sex wedges and pillows are firmer than most throw pillows and the ones you use for sleeping.
Buying sex accessories like the Pillo by Dame will provide the additional support you need to be comfortable during sex.
Hip problems are common as we age. They do not have to end your sex life.
With a few adjustments to your positions and purchasing an accessory or toy, you can continue to have great sex well into late life.
About the author
Rebecca Blanton, aka Auntie Vice, is a writer and kink educator. She holds a Ph.D. (abd) in Political Psychology and a BA in Psychology.
Their work focuses on gender, power, and kink//BDSM. She runs the award-winning blog LoveLettersToAUnicorn.com and has published several books, including The Big Workbook for Submissives, a finalist for the 2018 Golden Flogger Award. She has taught about kink and submission for the past seven years.
She regularly performs stand-up and storytelling. Prior to turning her attention to kink education and writing, she served as the Executive Director for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and worked as a Senior Policy Analyst for the California Research Bureau.