Here’s Why You Queef During Sex. (Don’t Be Embarrassed, It’s Normal.)

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Originally Published May 30, 2019 on huffpost | By Kelsey Borresen

 

Queefing, as anyone with a vagina will tell you, can happen at some inopportune times: while you’re having sex, in the middle of a yoga class or during a visit to the gynecologist.

You may have heard some people refer to queefs as “vaginal farts” (charming). But while queefs do produce a toot-like sound, we can assure you that queefing is not the same as passing gas.

We talked to gynecologists and sex therapists to learn more about what causes queefs, some of the misconceptions about them and why they shouldn’t be as mortifying as we make them out to be.

What makes you queef, anyway?

Queefing is an involuntary bodily function that occurs when air is pushed into the vagina, gets temporarily trapped in the folds of the vaginal canal (called rugae) and is then released.

“Queefing happens when a penis, fingers or sex toy go in and out of the vagina bringing additional air along with it,” Sherry A. Ross, an OB-GYN in Santa Monica, California and the author of “She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health,” told HuffPost. “Sex can involve a lot of thrusting of the penis in and out of the vagina, typically pushing extra air into a dead-end space.”

 
 
Queefing during sex or physical activities like yoga is common and nothing to be ashamed of. 

Certain sex positions, like doggy style where your pelvis is titled upwards, or abruptly switching from one position to another, may increase the likelihood of queefing. Even non-sexual activities, like putting in a tampon or menstrual cup, practicing yoga (like when you move out of an inversion pose) or your gyno inserting a speculum can lead to queefing.

“From my experience as an OB-GYN, almost every woman has experienced at least one episode of queefing some time during her life, sometimes even during a pelvic exam,” said Diana Hoppe, an OB-GYN in Encinitas, California.

While the gas that comes out of your rectum may have a foul odor (a result of bacterial activity in the gut), queefs are odorless, Hoppe added.

Can you prevent a queef?

There’s not much you can do to stop a queef in its tracks. You can’t just “hold it in” like you would a fart.

And as OB-GYN Sheila Loanzon told Cosmopolitan, “If you try to contract the vaginal canal to prevent air from coming in, it can cause sex to be more painful.”

Women who have previously given birth, in particular, may be more prone to queefing because pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. By strengthening those muscles via exercises like Kegels, you may be able to reduce your odds of queefing, Hoppe said.

“Also, when doing any abdominal exercises or weight-bearing exercise, it is important to squeeze the pelvic floor while holding the core abdominal muscles tight,” Hoppe said. “Many women squeeze abdominal muscles but do not activate the pelvic floor at the same time, thus allowing the pelvic floor to sag, increasing the likelihood of air entering into vaginal canal.”

During sex, keeping the penis, fingers or sex toy inside you while you change positions could lessen your chances of queefing because it “gives air less of an opportunity to get into the vagina,” Jamil Abdur-Rahman, an OB-GYN and the chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vista Health System in Waukegan, Illinois, told Self.

And in theory, you could just avoid certain sex or yoga positions altogether. But what’s the fun in that?

When queefing does happen, don’t sweat it.

So why does this very normal bodily function feel so embarrassing in the moment, be it during doggy-style or downward dog? It really just comes down to that pesky noise, Hoppe said.

“The stigma is due to lack of understanding the difference between release of air from the vagina and flatulence,” she said. “The sound effects may be the same though, so culturally there may be a stigma or embarrassment due to this occurring ‘down there.’”

Sex therapist Vanessa Marin underscored the fact that queefing is normal, common and “not anything to be ashamed of.” Embracing the awkwardness of the moment can even make sex more enjoyable for both partners.

“Our bodies make funny noises sometimes, and that’s OK!” she said. “Plus, there are plenty of other goofy things about sex, like getting sweaty, slipping out, getting into awkward positions and so on. The more we can laugh about these kinds of things, the more fun we’ll have during sex.”

When a queef slips out mid-coitus, you have two choices: ignore that deflating balloon sound completely or quickly acknowledge it and move on. Marin prefers the latter route.

“It’s a personal preference, but I think it’s better to just quickly acknowledge it and laugh it off,” she said. “That way you don’t have to sit there thinking about it, anxiously wondering whether or not your partner heard it.”

Is queefing ever cause for concern?

Generally, queefing is nothing to be worried about. While rare, if queefing is accompanied by pain or a bad smell, you should make an appointment with a doctor to rule out any more serious issues.

“If queefing is associated with a foul odor, it may be an indication of a vaginal infection or possible fistula, an [abnormal] connection between rectum and vagina due to previous radiation treatment or surgery that causes stool or feces to come out of the vagina,” Hoppe said.

But for the most part, queefing is a normal, if slightly awkward, fact of life. So let’s not get so hung up on it, OK?

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups is a series tackling everything you didn’t learn about sex in school — beyond the birds and the bees. Keep checking back for more expert-based articles and personal stories.

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