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Cory Silverberg

Sex Question of the Week: Farting During Sex

By October 22, 2010

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"When I orgasm, I fart uncontrollably. (I am not talking about queefing here). It's totally embarrassing to me, and I am nervous about it happening before it even does. Now I don't even enjoy orgasms as much. Is there a way to stop it?"

The other day I was facilitating a workshop, and we were talking about what words or phrases come to mind when we think of the word sex. One of the participants immediately said "comedy of errors." He went on at length about how, no matter what your feelings or thoughts or intentions are, sex (or at least sexual activity) always has the potential for ridiculousness because we're never in complete control of our bodies. Whenever you try to put two (or more) bodies together, the result could be comedic.

I know this doesn't help in a moment of embarrassment, but I start with it to point out that while there may be something physical you can do to reduce the chances of farting during an orgasm, there are never guarantees, and we'd probably all do better in the long run if we expanded our ways of thinking about sex, instead of narrowing our physical options (alternatively as my fellow Guide to IBS points out, we could all benefit from a less socially screwed up construction of bowels, bladders, and the like).

First we should distinguish what you're describing, which is farting or flatulence during an orgasm, with another body response that people are often embarrassed about -- what some refer to as vaginal farting, which happens when air is released from the vagina during sex. When that happens, it can sound like anal flatulence, but it isn't. I take it that you've already figured out that the air is coming from the anus.

The first general change you could try to make is with diet. There are gassy foods which are known to increase farting, and avoiding these may have an impact.

Another option is offered from a colleague, Talli Rosenbaum, P.T., MSc., who is a physiotherapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation and an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists-certified sexuality counselor.

Talli suggests that you may be bearing down during orgasm, which can increase your intra-abdominal pressure. There's actually a term for this response, it's called a Valsalva maneuver. When the abdominal pressure pushes on your rectum, you may not be maintaining sufficient anal sphincter pressure to counter it. The result is both orgasm and farting.

Talli's first advice is to see if you can re-frame the situation as something funny, or at least a side effect of having a very good time. She wants to remind you that there's nothing wrong with a body responding this way, it's just that some of us do and some of us don't.

She also says you can do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the external sphincter muscles, and learn to try to contract them during the orgasm." However, she adds that having to think about contracting during an orgasm can sometimes be inhibiting, and if it interferes with your ability to have pleasure (and your partner is unconcerned about the farting), try not to worry about it.

I'll add that if you are now in a position where you are anticipating it and it's getting in the way of having an orgasm, you may want to consider talking with a professional. It might be a physiotherapist who specializes in the pelvic floor (they are certainly the best people to show you how to do pelvic floor exercises properly), a sex therapist or counselor. This information may also be enough. A professional isn't necessary, but they are available to help you with this issue -- and they won't find your question or situation odd.

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Comments
October 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm
(1) John Smith says:

This is a really informative material.

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