Queefing. Vagina flatulance. Fanny farts.
They’re every girl’s worst nightmare. Whether you’re in the middle of a particularly energetic sex session or have your bum in the air trying to perfect the downward dog, chances are at one point or other your vagina has let out a little pfft of air that sounds suspiciously like you had too much cabbage for dinner.
And you want to die of embarrassment.
But, queefing is something that happens to everyone who has a vagina and it’s utterly normal. Don’t believe us? We contacted a down-there expert to help us get to the (front) bottom of fanny farts.
Starting with the fact that they’re not actually farts…
A queef is not a fanny fart
Though they may sound uncannily similar, a vagina fart is not actually a fart at all. That’s because of one major difference: Queefs don’t smell!
Bottom burps are actually the result of bacteria breaking down and being released as a gas during digestion. But queefs come about as a result of air sneaking out of your nether regions in a sudden, unexpected burst.
“Vaginal farts occur when air is displaced or forced from the vagina,” explains sex and relationship expert Annabelle Knight.
“The walls of the vagina all touch – team this with your natural lubrication and a sort of vacuum is formed which encourages air up and into your vagina.”
When do queefs occur?
Though technically a queef can happen at any time, there are certain times when you’re more at risk of that unmistakable pfft pfft sound.
“Most women find that queefing occurs during sex or exercises such as yoga or Pilates,” says Annabelle Knight.
According to experts, that’s because air is easily pushed up during those activities.
“[Queefs] are especially common during sex because fingers, penises, or sex toys can easily push air up there,” Dr Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs at Planned Parenthood told Cosmopolitan.
“Your vagina also expands when you’re turned on, which makes more room for air. And vaginal moistness, which increases during sex, helps make that ‘poot poot poot’ sound.”
What can you do to recover from a queef?
There’s nothing quite like that awks pft sound to kill the moment, but while queefing mid-sex sesh can be a little bit of a pash killer, it can also be an ice-breaker.
“This can be embarrassing but it’s completely normal and happens to us all,” reassures Annabelle Knight.
“In fact, a well-timed queef can certainly cause some giggles and can sometimes help break the tension,” explains Knight. “However, if you’re truly tense in the bedroom with someone, perhaps relying on a vaginal fart isn’t the best way to ease into the swing of things.”
Instead, she recommends trying to embrace the fact that it is a totally normal part of intercourse.
“In my view, you have two options: whack some music on and hope that the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye cover the sound, or acknowledge it and don’t let it affect your lovemaking.”
Is there anything you can do to prevent them?
Sadly, there is no surefire way to prevent queefs escaping from your vagina. Short of refraining from sex, stretching, pilates or yoga.
“Sadly, as queefing is a natural function there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it,” Annabelle Knight explains. “My advice is to square with the fact that it happens and don’t let it spoil your fun.
“In saying that, sometimes a good stretching session before intercourse can dispel most of the air and minimise the likelihood of queefing during foreplay. But, once you start having penetrative sex you’re back to square one.”
Annabelle has her own range of sex toys with Lovehoney, Britain’s biggest online sex toy retailer.
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