Google queefing (loosely known as a vaginal fart), and among the top results are articles that question if queefing is normal, suggest ways to make it stop, and get men to spill the beans on what they think about women letting it rip. That search left me unsettled – why is a little noise from down there shrouded in such negativity?
I’m going to put it out there – queefing is not a bad thing.
Let’s start with the basics. Queefing is so much more than its rep as a vaginal fart. Air enters the vagina whenever we expand and contract our pelvic floor muscles, and that air is released when there’s a sudden change in the body’s position. This happens most commonly during sex, but it can also occur during workouts – especially those that exercise your pelvic floor muscles, like pilates or yoga.
Some women queef more than others, especially if those muscles are more lax (this means women who’ve had kids or some kind of vaginal surgery) or if they enjoy certain sex positions like doggystyle, which allows more air into the vagina. “When the pelvic floor muscle is weak, an increase in abdominal pressure (during straining and physical activity) will trigger the release of vaginal wind,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr James Lee from Astra Women’s Specialists, which is part of the Singapore Medical Group.
I’ll admit that the first time it happened between the sheets, I was mortified, and hoped my partner wouldn’t pick up on it. A quick poll among my friends revealed that many of them felt the same. “I usually just ignore it – at most, I’d giggle,” one said. But props to my guy – instead of being grossed out, he was tickled. “At least it shows I’m doing something right,” he said. Later, I realised he had a point.
Queefing is nothing to be embarrassed about. At the end of the day, it’s an ordinary bodily function that’s just part of being a woman. So if you don’t stress out when you sneeze during sex, a meeting, or a yoga class, why should it be any different with queefing?
Still, there’s no harm in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles – the same ones that support your womb, bladder and bowels. Get on with your kegels. For the uninitiated, the next time you’re in the loo, stop mid-pee. Those muscles are the ones you want to exercise – even while sitting at your desk. Contract them, hold for five seconds, and release. Aim for three sets of 10 reps every day. It can only do you good.
As for me, I don’t say sorry anymore when I queef. Neither do I laugh it off or feel a flush of embarrassment. I just get on with life.
This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of Her World magazine.