Our bodies are immensely intricate and filled with hardworking, life-sustaining systems that function all on their own. But having one can also be a pretty humorous—and humbling—experience. For example, one second, you're wrapped up in the throes of steamy lovemaking, and then the very next second, you involuntary fart…from your vagina.
The way the very common act of queefing affects people varies, but it's not unusual to feel embarrassed or frozen in the moment as you try to understand how it happened. I mean, what do you do or say? Should you feel ashamed? (Never!) Do they only happen during sex?
We'll answer these questions and more, but here's the first thing to note: Air escapes our bodies in a multitude of ways, and it's important to remember that it's all normal, even if slightly uncomfortable at times.
What is queefing?
Queefing—aka vaginal farts or flatulence, or "vaginal flatus," as it's known medically—is the rapid release of trapped air from inside the vagina that results in a fart-like sound. But "unlike actual flatulence," says Amy Roskin, M.D., an OB/GYN and chief medical officer of The Pill Club, "queefing has nothing to do with your digestion and, in most cases, is odorless."
Because the passageway of your vaginal canal has ridges, curves, and grooves, air doesn't always seamlessly enter and exit. That means queefs can happen "in any situation where air is pushed or trapped in the vagina and is expelled," explains Roskin, "like when an object is inserted in the vagina and removed or when the body changes positions."
Although it can happen by yourself, the most common occurrence of queefing is during penetrative sex, according to Marla Renee Stewart, M.A., a sex educator and expert for Lovers sexual wellness brand and retailer. "When a person with a vagina is aroused, the vagina expands like a balloon," which she says causes air to sometimes get sucked in by the vagina. "Imagine doing a Kegel exercise—expansion—and then bearing down—like [contracting]."
But that's not the only time you might experience a queef. Roskin says air can easily get trapped and escape during activities like yoga and stretching, "where the vagina might be more open." She also says anything inserted into the vagina, including tampons, menstrual cups, and dildos, can also cause queefing.
Is it normal?
Queefing is as normal as drinking water, breathing, eating, using the bathroom, and everything else we do without a second thought. In every instance that it's possible to queef, you have nothing to be sorry or feel self-conscious about.
Now, there are different types of vaginas, which means some vagina owners might experience queefing more or less than others. "Some people are more anatomically prone to queefing based on the shape and length of their vagina," explains Roskin. Even the lubrication of your vagina can cause queefing, but she advises against trying to dry out your vagina in an effort to avoid it.
Besides that, the structure of your pelvic floor can also factor into the occurrence of queefing. "Some report an increased frequency during pregnancy and menopause, as well as at certain phases in their cycle—such as [ovulation]—when the pelvic floor may be weaker."
There's nothing wrong with queefing a lot. "If you have other accompanying symptoms, such as a bad odor, pain, or irritation," says Roskin, "you should consult your gynecologist or a medical professional." Otherwise, you can queef in peace knowing it poses no gynecological risks and shouldn't be a cause for concern.
What can you do about it?
So, how do you stop queefing, and what can you do about this funny noise your body makes?
Honestly, not much. But here's one thing: Roskin warns that this method isn't proven to be entirely effective, but you might find it helps to stick to sex positions that can help make the vagina less open—like traditional missionary position—and avoiding positions like doggy style or reverse cowgirl where the person with a vagina is on top.
However, Roskin reminds us that "the best thing to do is to accept that queefing is normal and natural, and try not to worry about it!"
Stewart agrees. While it may be possible to prevent or reduce queefing by being choosy about your sex positions, she says doing so "would take you into your mind and out of your body's pleasure, so I don't recommend thinking about what your vagina is or isn't doing."
The bottom line.
Queefing is an unavoidable and typical part of life. Don't let yourself or anyone else make you feel ashamed or embarrassed when it happens—in fact, a great way to react is to laugh and keep it movin'.
It might take some time to build up this response when it happens during sex, but Stewart says, "As long as your vagina is experiencing fun, that's all you should be worrying about." Co-sign.
Farrah Daniel is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a bachelor's degree in Digital Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her work has been published at The Penny Hoarder, The Write Life, and elsewhere. Daniel manages and creates content for small businesses, nonprofits, and lifestyle publications. With five years of professional writing under her belt, her diverse portfolio includes topics such as wellness, personal finance, sales and marketing, shared micromobility and equity, and more.