October 1, 2023

Untimely Toots: Why You Fart During Sex

It’s perfectly normal for gas pockets to ‘evacuate’ during the motions of sex

person covering face in bed in embarrassment

You may find it hilarious. You may find it humiliating. Either way, occasionally releasing gas during sex — in the form of a fart or a queef — is normal. It’s a physiological response to the combination of pressure and muscle relaxation that makes sex, well … sex.

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Our anatomy virtually guarantees that sexy time will occasionally turn into awkward time. But can it happen too much? And is it something you can prevent or control?

Women’s health specialists Linda Bradley, MD, and Margaret McKenzie, MD, have the answers you’re looking for, plus tips for reducing the likelihood of passing gas in a passionate moment.

Is farting during sex normal?

Yes, farting during sex is completely normal.

According to Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie, we all have gas in our digestive tract at all times, and the motions of sex can sometimes push that gas out through your anus or vagina.

During penetrative sexual intercourse, the sliding motion (whether from a penis, finger or sex toy) causes pressure on your anus. In the case of anal sex, that pressure is direct. In vaginal penetrative sex, it’s because your anus lies next to the vaginal wall. In either case, that extra pressure can cause the muscles (sphincters) that hold gas in your rectum to get tired or malfunction.

“While farting during sex is normal, excessive flatulence can be a sign of an underlying medical condition,” Dr. Bradley says. “Don’t hesitate to contact your provider if you notice that you’re passing gas more than 23 times a day.”

Is queefing during sex normal?

Vaginal gas (aka queefing or vaginal flatulence) is also normal. “Air can become trapped in the vagina,” Dr. McKenzie explains. “So, when a penis, finger or sex toy is removed, the muscles around your genitals relax and allow a little gas to escape.” This same phenomenon can happen when you insert or remove tampons.

Queefs can be loud like farts, but they aren’t smelly. That’s because they aren’t the product of the digestive process. “They’re just trapped air making its way back out of your body” Dr. Bradley further explains. She also notes that vaginal flatulence may be more common if you’re pregnant, have weakened pelvic floor muscles or exercise frequently.

While queefing during sex is to be expected, Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie recommend speaking to your healthcare provider if you have chronic vaginal gas that isn’t related to sex, or if you’re experiencing pain during sex. It’s important to make sure that you don’t have an underlying condition, like a vaginal fistula, that can sometimes increase vaginal flatulence.

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5 ways to prevent it from happening

Unfortunately, there’s no tried-and-true way to prevent farting any time, much less during sex. Queefing’s even harder to avoid because it has nothing to do with digestion. Sex is what’s trapping the air that queefing releases. Still, you can try to stack the deck in favor of a flatulence-free rendezvous.

(Keep in mind that, with the exception of tip #5, all of these recommendations are specific to farting.)

1. Watch what you eat

If you know that you’re going to be intimate later, try to plan your meals accordingly.

There are certain foods that our bodies struggle to digest, like beans, fiber, dairy products, starchy foods, cruciferous veggies, high-sulfur foods and sugar alcohols. You might not be able to steer clear of all those categories, but every little bit helps.

And be sure to avoid any foods you have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to.

2. Cut out carbonation

We all know that bubbly, carbonated drinks generate gas — after all, they make us burp! What you might not realize, Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie say, is that they also lead you to take in a lot more air than usual. And what you don’t burp out will settle into your digestive tract, causing bloating and — eventually — a toot or two.

3. Take an OTC medication

If you notice that you tend to be particularly gassy during sex — or if you’re feeling bloated after a meal — Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie recommend taking an over-the-counter gas medication ahead of time.

4. Let ’er rip beforehand

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. Make time for a pre-party potty trip. Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie note that having a bowel movement or letting a few farts fly before things get hot and heavy will significantly improve your chances of getting through the act flatus free.

5. Know which positions are most likely to cause flatulence

There’s no fool-proof position that can keep you from farting or queefing during sex, but there are definitely certain positions that make a gas attack more likely.

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If your stomach’s been acting up, and you’re worried about farting, you might want to take the following positions off the menu until you feel better:

  • Positions that require a lot of bending, stretching or pressure on your abdomen. Farting during yoga class is a cliché for a reason: Bending, twisting and spreading your legs wide apart pushes gas farther down your digestive tract.
  • Anal sex. When you have anal sex, you’re putting direct pressure on your rectum, while relaxing your anal muscles at the same time. That means “holding the fart in” isn’t really an option.

Because queefing is a natural consequence of sex, it’s difficult to avoid. That said, if you’re feeling self-conscious about queefing (or causing it), consider avoiding “doggy style” penetrative sex or any position that mimics a fetal position. “Those positions force air into the vaginal canal, which will have to be expressed eventually,” Dr. McKenzie explains.

But keep in mind that no matter how many changes you make to your sexual habits, you can still expect the occasional fart or queef to squeak its way into your bedroom from time to time — because you’re a human being. You shouldn’t feel obligated to stop doing something that feels good just because it occasionally causes an awkward moment.

Don’t be shy: Talk to your doctor

It’s typical to fart somewhere between 14 and 23 times a day. If you’re finding that your tally’s a little (or a lot) higher, Dr. Bradley and Dr. McKenzie advise speaking to a healthcare provider. There may be a physical cause that can be addressed, like a food intolerance, a digestive disorder or pelvic floor dysfunction.

The same goes for excessive vaginal flatulence, meaning vaginal flatulence that doesn’t occur during sex, exercise or other kinds of vaginal penetration, like during a pelvic exam.

And remember, even if you’re well within that 14 to 23 fart range — and even if you’re only queefing occasionally — it’s always a good idea to tell your doctor if something’s bothering you. Sex is an important part of life for many people, and your peace of mind is well worth an awkward conversation or two.

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