Sexual Health Columnist
Pick a romcom. Any romcom. Now conjure up a sex scene from said romcom. I bet I can guess exactly what happens: a door is thrown open to show a heterosexual couple entering a darkened room, tearing each other’s clothes off and passionately gripping body parts before falling onto a bed. End scene.
Nothing about the reality of sexual encounters is shown. Hollywood sex is perfect sex, so when our sex doesn’t go as we imagine it would in a romcom, we’re disappointed and even embarrassed. Well I say no more; there is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed when sticky moments happen or when bodily functions occur. When I took a survey of my sexually-active friends, they said that the dreaded queef is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen when you’re getting hot and heavy. The term “queef” doesn’t sound that great, but the official term, vaginal flatulence, doesn’t sound that great either. But whatever you want to call it, it’s completely natural and involuntary. It occurs when air moves into the vagina and then is pushed out, usually during intercourse, but it can happen at other times too. Topics like these typically aren’t covered in sexual health classes and are generally swept under the rug and not discussed. In a society that creates unattainable standards of beauty and sexiness for women, this can create an unhealthy relationship with sex and an unrealistic standard for how “perfect” it should be.
When a queef first happened to me with my college hookup buddy, I was so embarrassed because nobody had ever told me that noise was even a possibility during sex and I wasn’t able to relax after that. After we were done, I sheepishly apologized, which confused him. “What do you have to be sorry for? It happens, it’s totally fine,” he told me. Even real flatulence isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. A friend of mine told me a story of when she was having sex doggy-style and was feeling particularly bloated. All the sudden, an audible fart escaped and she was absolutely mortified. Her partner assured her all was good and they laughed it off, even when it happened a second time. I love this story for a few reasons: one, you would never ever see this in a movie, but yet it happens more often than you think. The second reason is I’m glad they communicated; she told her partner she was embarrassed and they were able to talk about it and move past the incident.
Awkward moments are bound to happen during sexual encounters, and when they do, being able to laugh it off and communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling can help you create a healthier relationship with sex and you body image in general. If your partner is unfamiliar with queefing, for example, you can educate him or her on why they happen and maybe how to prevent them (don’t pull out as far during sex, because it allows air to get in). Accepting your body for everything it does, including queef, is so important in a world that doesn’t acknowledge the way that real bodies function.