Dear MKE SEX,
My girlfriends and I were discussing queefing and I was super surprised to find out that one of my friends can control it and even “do it on demand.” I, unfortunately, don’t have any control and often find myself totally embarrassed when it happens unexpectedly. One example is while exercising or doing yoga. So why is my body so different than hers, and is there any way to learn to control it?
For anyone who doesn’t know, a queef is the discharge of air from the vagina. Queefs can sound a lot like farts, but they’re actually quite different. Farts originate inside our bodies and are the expulsion of gas, a natural byproduct of our digestive systems. They work themselves down through the GI tract and out of our bodies. They can be smelly (as anyone can attest), and they are often indicators that something bigger (a poo) is on the way. The air that is released during queefing originated outside of the body but got trapped in there, usually during sex or exercise. Because of this, they don’t smell and they are unrelated to your fiber intake.
While we tend to think of the vagina as a hole, it’s actually more like potential space. In its resting state, the walls of the vagina typically touch each other. During sexual penetration (with fingers, sex toys, or a penis), those walls are pushed apart with each thrust. Those thrusts also push air into the vagina. And when we exercise (especially yoga or other activities that involve stretching), the opening of the vagina can be pulled open a little, which also allows air to enter the vaginal canal. Regardless of how the air gets in, it has to come out again. That’s just the way bodies work.
Interestingly, we often worry that copious queefing is a sign of poor pelvic or vaginal muscle tone when the opposite is actually true! If your body is pushing that air out with enough force that it becomes audible, that’s usually a sign that your tone is quite good. The fact that your friend can queef “on demand” indicates that she likely has very strong pelvic floor muscles. It’s far more common to be at the mercy of the queef like you are. While a lot of folks can squeeze their anal sphincter to delay a fart, that’s not really possible with queefs because there’s not a vaginal sphincter. For most of us with vaginas, when the queef is ready, it’s coming on out!
You can try to figure out what sexual positions or yoga postures induce the most queefing, and then work to avoid those if it would make you feel better. But if it’s possible for you to become comfortable with queefing, you’ll get to have sex in any position that works for you and your partners, and you’ll get to exercise in all the ways that make your body strongest.
I want to emphasize that while queefing is just a normal part of having a vagina, sometimes a similar phenomenon occurs when there’s an opening between the vagina and the rectum. If you have any of the following symptoms, please consult with your healthcare provider right away.
- Pass gas, stool, or pus from your vagina
- Have a foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Get recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections
- Experience irritation or pain in the vulva, vagina, or area between the vagina and anus
- Regularly feel pain during sexual intercourse
Lucky Tomaszek, LM, CPM, knows that Black lives matter.