Why You Can't Stop Farting During Sex

Here's the reason for those bedroom gas attacks, plus what to do in the heat of the moment when you're about to let one rip.

Among all the humiliating things that can happen during sex, farting might just top the list. It's inevitable, really. Sex involves all sorts of sounds: grunts, moans, squeaks, squeals, slaps, smacks—and yep, even farts.

So why do farts tend to strike in the throes of passion? “It’s normal for people to pass gas 10 to 20 times per day, and your colon isn’t really concerned with what else may be going on. It can happen at inopportune times,” Elizabeth Blaney, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, tells Health.

It doesn't help that the vagina and rectum are basically neighbors, she explains. “The upper part of the vagina is near the lower part of the rectum, so during sex, any thrusting and banging against this lower part of the rectum can lead to gas being expelled."

Dr. Blaney also adds that gas and stool are controlled by two sphincters. There’s “an internal one that’s automatic, and an external one that you can voluntarily squeeze and relax,” she says, adding that the internal sphincter does 85% of the work for you automatically. (Otherwise, you’d likely still be in diapers.)

“Fortunately, most of the time, the rectum will hold its contents—including gas—during sex with no problem. But any muscle in the body can get fatigued and fail to do its job. The anal sphincter is no exception, though it’s a potentially embarrassing situation if it lets you down,” she says.

What if you're farting during sex often?

It's one thing to have the occasional gas attack in the sack. But what's going on if you find that you're farting a lot during your sex sessions? One possibility: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is more common in women (two-thirds of those with IBS are female). Interestingly, women with IBS are twice as likely to say they have trouble relaxing and enjoying sex compared to women without the condition, notes Dr. Blaney.

Seeing a gastroenterologist can help you figure out if IBS or another digestive culprit is causing your frequent farting. Outside of the bedroom, if you have other red flag symptoms like a sudden onset of diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain and/or distention, weight loss, or blood in the stool, see your doctor and get it checked out.

How to prevent a gas attack

You can try to poop before sex, suggests Dr. Blaney, which will usually nix that feeling of having to let one rip. And if you sense a fart is coming yet you're in the middle of doing the deed, consider switching to a position (such as missionary) that allows you to keep your butt clenched and isn't too bendy, which can make you lose control.

It's also a good idea to avoid fart trigger foods that you know make you gassy, such as onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and wheat, in the hours before you're planning to get busy. Sip liquids slowly; gulping them down can cause you to take in excess air, which can make you cut the cheese later. Avoid carbonated drinks, too, because the bubbles can lead to flatulence.

And if one gets past you, remember: “You can’t always prevent passing gas during sex, and the majority of the time, it doesn’t indicate something is wrong. So try to let it go without too much embarrassment or worry,” says Dr. Blaney.

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