From the dreaded urinary tract infection to queefing, find out which of your bizarre bedroom issues is actually a completely common part of intercourse
Whether you’ve had one sexual partner or so many you’ve lost track over the years, the ins and outs of intercourse are pretty easy to wrap your head around. You know what parts go where, what you like, and what you don’t. But no matter how advanced your skill set between the sheets, there are still things that occur that may make you raise an eyebrow. That's precisely why we’ve rounded up some of the most common (yet still bizarre) things that happen to your body while getting busy. (When it comes to sex, women worry about a whole host of issues, including these 8 Sex-Related Problems Women Stress Over.)
We’ve all been there: You’re in the middle of sex, totally savoring the moment, when your vagina lets out a noise that sounds shockingly like a fart. Queefing—also called varting—is the result of a trapped pocket of air getting pushed out of your vagina, and the sound that follows often resembles having gas, explains Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout.
The good news: It’s completely normal and something that happens to many women (even if it’s not talked about openly). What can you do to silence the sound? “Some women find that it only happens to them with lots of in-and-out thrusting,” says Herbenick. So switching to gentler sex or a position where the penis doesn't come entirely out of the vagina with each thrust can help, she notes.
Whether you’re squirting or experiencing female ejaculation, both are natural side effects of having sex and shouldn't be a source of anxiety. So how do you know which is which? While some sexperts argue they’re interchangeable, the data begs to differ.
Research shows that female ejaculate—which is different than the lubrication produced when you’re turned on—is a small amount of whitish fluid that occurs just before you climax and has all the characteristics of prostate plasma (i.e. it’s not straight urine). In fact, in a separate study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine researchers tested women’s fluids post-climax and found the gushing liquid was partially urine, but the majority was this prostate plasma. (Find out more in Female Ejaculation: Myth or Reality?)
Can’t seem to muster the energy for round two? Join the club. “During sexual arousal, the body becomes its own chemistry lab,” says Erin Basler-Francis, content and brand manager at The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, a non-profit sexuality education and advocacy organization in Rhode Island. But it’s not until after you get off that your brain busts out the chemicals that promote stress relief, relaxation, and ultimately sleep.
The two culprits responsible for your post-coitus crash? “Vasopressin, while trying to return the body to homeostasis, is the hormone that causes the foggy afterglow of an orgasm and is thought to reduce stress,” says Basler-Francis. While the hormone prolactin causes the refractory period after your orgasm as well as an onset of drowsiness, she explains. (Outside the bedroom, though, exhaustion is another story. Find out 6 Surprising Things That Make You Tired.)
UTIs after sex are extremely common in women. It’s believed that the friction of vaginal intercourse makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder via your urethra. “Additionally, the opening to the urethra is close to the vagina and anus, which makes it easier for bugs from those areas to get into your urinary tract,” says Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of The Hormone Cure.
Your risk of bladder infection with sex—sometimes called honeymoon cystitis—also rises with more frequent sex, pregnancy, use of diaphragms, as well as the use of spermicides with or without condoms, notes Gottfried. Your plan of attack for UTI prevention: If you have anal sex, never go from the anus to the vagina (i.e. wash in between!), always urinate before and after sex to wash away bacteria, and stay hydrated to help your urinary tract stay free of bacteria, says Jen Landa, M.D., an ob-gyn and hormone specialist. (Check out these other 4 Surprising Causes of Urinary Tract Infections.)
New research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 30 percent of women experience pain during vaginal sex, and the majority of them experience this discomfort inside their vagina or around the vaginal entrance. The pain could be caused by a number of things, from not being wet enough to having vigorous, thrusting sex, says Herbenick, a co-author of the study.
If the pain doesn’t stem from an underlying issue—such as a yeast infection or vulvodynia—the fix may be relatively simple. “If something really hurts, speak up and take a break from sex,” says Herbenick. A water-based lubricant or switching positions could also be a fix, she says. (New to lube? Check out The Best Lube for Any Sex Scenario.)