Stephanie Hallett
April 19, 2018 10:44 am
Anna Buckley/HelloGiggles

You’ve got embarrassing, tricky, bizarre, and otherwise unusual life questions, we’ve got answers. Welcome to Is This Normal? — a no-nonsense, no-judgment advice column from HelloGiggles. Send your questions to isthisnormal@hellogiggles.com and we’ll track down expert advice you can trust.

Dear Is This Normal?,

I started having sex with guys a few months ago for the first time in my life (I’d only ever had sex with women before) and now I queef every single time I have sex! Is this normal?? Can I stop it? Help!

— Queefing in Quebec

Dear Queefing,

I know you’re probably feeling pretty red-faced right now, but what you’re experiencing is definitely normal. Queefing — also known as vaginal farting, vaginal flatulence, and “flatus vaginalis” in Latin, if you’re fancy — happens when air gets pushed into your vagina and decides to make its way out with the subtlety of a brass band at a swing dance party.

A queef is not the same as fart — there’s no fermentation involved — so this puff of air won’t smell bad. But the noise can be pretty loud, and obviously it sounds like a fart, so there’s some understandable social discomfort attached to queefing.

There isn’t a ton of scientific research on the ~prevalence~ of queefing, but a 2012 study of 18- to 80-year-old Iranian women found that 20% had experienced “vaginal flatus,” with 54% of those women reporting that their queefs happened during sex.

Honestly, though, that seems pretty low. Especially since an informal survey of the women around me revealed that literally all of them had queefed at one time or another.

But regardless, vaginal toots aren’t harmful. (And BTW, they can happen during same-sex intercourse, too!)

They may be a sign of pelvic floor weakness, but women who have given birth, had surgery, or experienced a trauma, and even certain types of athletes — runners, for instance — are more likely to have weak pelvic floors. So no stress.

The only time chronic vaginal flatulence might be a sign of a health issue is in the case of a vaginal fistula, explains women’s health expert Dr. Jennifer Wider. That’s an “abnormal opening that connects your vagina to another organ,” according to the Mayo Clinic. So if you notice you’re queefing day in, day out, see your doctor. If you don’t have a fistula or other major health issue going on, your doctor may just recommend you use tampons to prevent air from entering your vagina.

Otherwise, as far as queefing during sex is concerned, it’s all good.

“It’s much harder to hold in the air that passes through and out the vaginal canal than a fart because the muscles in the anus, including the sphincter, are much stronger,” explains Dr. Wider.

So there you have it, Queefing in Quebec. Nothing to worry about. If this happens again, Dr. Wider recommends you “try to have a sense of humor.” Laugh it off, and just try to enjoy the moment.

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