9 Totally Normal And Not Gross Things That Happen During Sex We Promise It’s Normal

Feature image of Free-Spiiirit in Alien-Pass!on.


Sex: sometimes it is weird or gross or embarrassing or everything at once. You shouldn’t let those moments ruin it though — they happen to almost everyone, and being able to laugh and move on is an art that is easy to learn and essential to keeping queer sex fun. Here are some of those things, and why it’s okay to stop being worrying about them.


1. Vagina Farts

Vaginas sometimes make fart noises during sex. This is called queefing and it’s a result of air being pushed into a small wet space and then being pushed out, either because you move or because something is inside of you or both. It’s totally fine and normal:

“You’re doing everything right. Before you go dissing your toots, hear this: the hotter, harder and more playful positions you get in, the more likely you are to queef. Now, a queef is caused by the air that gets sucked into a place that usually doesn’t have any. Your vagina is not a wind tunnel, you know? When you change your body position, a gap in your own gap can cause your vagina to vacuum up air. When something besides the air … wants to take up space inside you, well, it pushes the air out and that’s the funky sound you hear.”

2. Farts, Period

During sex, you are moving around. (Or you are in a kinky situation and emphatically not moving around.) Maybe someone else is. Maybe you’re tense. Maybe you ate food at any point in your life. Everyone farts sometimes, and you can choose to either laugh and keep going or have it ruin a sexy moment, which hopefully is not a difficult choice to make:

“I do find that laughter helps to remedy most situations like these, assuming something’s not seriously askew with your digestive tract. Besides, farts are easy to laugh at because they are funny. It’s a trumpety sound coming from your butt! In a Salon article by Tracy Clark-Flory, poignantly titled ‘Farting in Love,’ author Beth Lisick wrote that she jokes about farting … by saying things like, ‘That sounded like it came from the ’80s.'”

3. Not Being Able To Get Your Skinny Jeans Off (Or Not Being Able To Get Her Skinny Jeans Off)

It’s hard to feel hot when you’re awkwardly taking off skinny jeans. You can remove them in the bathroom or something, but you can also just embrace removing them in front of your activity partner. Under your jeans is a naked person your activity partner is excited to see, it’s gonna be fine and it happens to everyone:

“Super-tight straight leg pants, worn notably by sex symbols and rebellious icons Elvis Presley and James Dean, made it big in the 1970s underground punk scene. The pants’ popularity stayed alive through the decades, persisting largely through other music scenes. And although skinny jeans were once — and still are — the choice pants of rock stars and those looking to fight The Man, they have now joined the ranks of the lesbian subculture so that we, too, can experience the awkwardness of trying to hook up, having trouble getting your skinny jeans off, having to hop around the room removing them from your ankles, and finally end up with a pair of inside-out skinny jeans on the floor. Holla.”

4. Feeling Ridiculous In A Strap-On Harness

The nice thing about underwear harnesses is that they’re easy to use and easy to wash and at no point do you have to worry about a buckle coming undone or catching on your activity partner or riding up or doing any of the annoying things that classic leather strap-on harnesses with actual straps do. In their guide to taking butch (but really any lady) cock seriously, Sinclair Sexsmith writes:

“When you’ve seen that gleam in her eye and it’s time for you to strap it on, don’t be embarrassed, apologetic, or shy. At that point, she’s gotta wait for you to disrobe (possibly) and re-buckle, test the weight between your legs, get comfortable. Don’t rush.”

Their cock commandments are about the obvious rather than about the harness it goes in, but also apply – Sexsmith suggests wearing it around until you get used to it, playing with it by yourself and pretending you feel great about it until you do:

“But what if you just don’t feel it, don’t feel connected to it? Well, for now, I suggest you just fake it. Don’t lie about it — but make up in your head what it would feel like if you could feel it, and go from there. Experiment. Channel your favorite porn star and the way they drive their beautiful tool with such grace and ease and respect. (Don’t have a favorite porn star who straps on and plays? Maybe you should do some research, and find one!) Really feel into it and see what kind of sensations you can feel, and focus on those. A lot of strapping on and playing and ‘feeling’ a strapped-on cock is mental, so be curious and open to expanding what you thought was possible.”

5. Fluids (Too Many Or Not Enough)

Some people get wet enough to soak through the duvet and some need a gallon of lube per sexual encounter and some squirt and some don’t and all of this is fine. You can deal with this by using something like a waterproof Liberator throw if you’re too wet and vast amounts of the lube of your choice if you’re not wet enough. Being super wet is awesome because you probably save money on lube. Being super dry is awesome because look at all the fun types of lube you get to try. Squirting is fun because hello, you had an orgasm that made you squirt. No good activity partner will be bothered by any of this.

In his 1980 Sapphistry: The Book of Lesbian Sexuality, Patrick Califia writes:

“There is no objective standard for measuring whether a particular woman lubricates too much or too little. Everybody has a different quantity and kind of vaginal lubrication. Some women find that their lubrication is more copious at different points of the menstrual cycle. Other women find little or no change.

If you find yourself getting irritated or chafed during sex, your own lubrication needs a little help. Some lesbians who feel their sexual juices are scanty keep a bottle of their favourite lube by the bed. When you are with a new lover, apply it yourself, so that she will know it’s there. You may want to tell her the fact that you’re a little dry doesn’t mean you aren’t turned on.

If you feel sloppy or messy during sex, keep a hand towel by the bed or any other surface you use frequently for lovemaking. Use it yourself, so that your partner will know it’s okay to blot you. Don’t use facial tissues — they shred up into nasty little soggy pieces, and you’ll be picking them out of your crotch for the rest of the evening.”

6. Bleeding

Also a fluid, but blood deserves a category all on its own. You might bleed during sex because it’s rough or because you didn’t use enough lube or because there’s an accident or because it seems as if someone has reached inside you and extracted your period. While it’s not a bad idea to get any heavy or persistent bleeding that isn’t your period checked out, don’t be embarrassed about it — a little bit of spotting is fine:

“Sex is messy, people. Expecting it not to be or to never be is kind of like expecting we can go play in the sandbox and somehow manage not to touch any sand or have any wind up on us when we leave. Even when we use latex barriers to reduce STI risks that also tend to keep a lot of fluids inside barriers or largely separate from a partner’s body, sex is still often messy. Sometimes people will have bleeding, even though it’s less likely when folks are being careful, when everyone is truly relaxed and aroused, and when people are using lube as they need to and not doing things that hurt. Vaginal fluids are always present to some degree, and sometimes are profuse. I’m not trying to gross you out here or turn you off of sex, I’m just trying to be real.”

Also for the record, period sex is no big deal:

“I was thoroughly skeeved out by the idea of period sex because, you know, we live in a culture of bodily shame that makes us all believe that our periods render us toxic waste plants of vile putridity. But this is not the case! Periods are kind of not really that gross! They are just things our bodies do! And if we’re being perfectly honest, sex is kind of gross when you think about how it’s two sweaty bodies bumping into each other until they both emit fluids. So … if you’re OK with sex, you should probably be OK with sex plus periods.”

7. Accidental Injury

Maybe you cut her with your fingernails even though you trimmed them yesterday. Maybe you were thrusting too enthusiastically at a weird angle and now your lower back isn’t working correctly. Maybe you have carpet burn or you just slipped in the shower or you sprained your wrist fisting your girlfriend. In a study a few years ago, one third of respondents surveyed reported injuries during sex, so you are not alone.

Remember to practice safer sex with lube and gloves and dental dams and condoms and by making sure you trimmed your fingernails correctly (high femmes and/or other people with long nails should put cotton balls in the gloves’ fingertips to avoid stabbing someone). Read about how to fist safely. Read about how to do whatever kinky thing you want to do safely — whether it’s bondage or spanking or wax play or anything else. When something happens that you did not expect, practice being caring and deal with it, whether that means pausing to help your activity partner crack their back or heading to the emergency room together. It will be a great story later.

8. Not Being Able To Come, Quickly Or At All

Some people can have many, many orgasms in only a few minutes and some people require half an hour of precise oral to even get close and some people can’t come at all. Some people can only come in a specific way or at a specific time or with a specific vibrator in a specific spot. Some days it’s easier to come than others.

It’s easy to get self-conscious if you take forever to come — even if you’re giving your partner constructive feedback, even if everything seems just right, sometimes it can take a goddam hour for anything to happen. That’s okay. Sex can be satisfying and pleasurable even if no one comes. You’re in a state of undress with at least one other person who is also in a state of undress and having a sexy time doing sexy things. Focus on the sexy things, and not on the possible result of them being an orgasm, and you’ll do just fine.

9. General Tomfoolery And Destruction

Sometimes during sex you spill a glass of water or the lube or fuck so hard the bed breaks or art falls and shatters. Sometime you come up from going down and discover you have pubic hair in your teeth or that your partner just got their period all over your mouth. Sometimes you fall off the bed, or she pushes you off the bed accidentally, or the harness makes a funny squeaky noise or your roommate comes home just as you come really, really loudly, or your next door neighbor does, or your mom does. Sometimes the cat jumps on the bed during sex or turns out to have been staring at you the whole time. Sometimes someone farts in your face.

Often, sex is not perfect. This is fine and totally okay and nothing to be worried about. Worrying about all the stuff that could go wrong during sex should not in any way stop you from having or fully enjoying sex. Sometimes something going wrong is actually a relief, because now that the thing you were thinking about has actually happened you can move on with your life. Because yeah, sometimes sex really is weird or gross or embarrassing or everything at once — and that is part of why it is awesome.


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Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Editor and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 858 articles for us.

59 Comments

  1. My favorite is how my girlfriend broke one of the metal posts on my bed because she was cuffed to it and came so hard that the cuff–and the post it was attached to–snapped. I really want to figure out how to fix my bed but also am very proud of this.

  2. My girlfriend falling off the bed and having an asthma attack when I didn’t even know she had asthma and I had to find her inhaler was definitely pretty funny.

    Or my dogs sneaking up on my bed and licking my girlfriend behind her ear during sex. Hearing “Oh god! Stop! No, not you! The dog!” was fantastically weird and icky.

  3. Ha, I’ve experienceda few of those, both myself and the person I was with at the time. I think the worst was when I threw up. It wasn’t on my partner, but it pretty much ended that bed session then and there (I guess that would fall under number nine?)

    • I threw up on a partner once. It was a buzzkill for him, and I was mortified, but it was a few years I think before I quit men altogether. Funny how you can justify what you hate doing until your body says otherwise.

      I don’t mean to be a downer and obviously not everyone who throws up on their partner has underlying issues going on, but this is what it meant to me, then. No throwing up since, though 😉

  4. I’m the partner that has weird things happen to them – once I knocked over an entire bedside table (barely missing the girlfriend’s laptop, but drenching the floor in Pepsi and water).

    And then there are the times when my blood sugar tanks, and I get sweaty and shaky because I have type 1 diabetes, and not because of what she’s doing to me.

  5. I will never forget the period panel at my first camp. Lizz and Rachel were demonstrating how to ask someone to have period sex when two dudes on staff walk into the cabin to drop off some water right as someone declares emphatically, “I don’t care that you’re on your period, I just wanna to fuck you!!!” Those dudes forever have a very specific idea of what “lesbian camp” is like.

    Also, a word on farts: Giving your sex partner freedom to fart in front of you is such an act of love. Do you know how much it hurts your belly to hold in farts? A moderate amount. And I don’t want my partner to be feeling moderate discomfort during sex! FREELY FARTING = LOVE.

    Also also, if you haven’t tried coconut oil as lube, get on that. I find most lube to feel too lubey and taste too lubey and even then it doesn’t stay slick as long as I’d like. Coconut oil has a great feel, lasts long, smells great, tastes awesome, and it’s antiviral and antifungal so it’s great for the natural flora of your nethers. It’s my goddess-send. Just…. make sure you have a separate jar for the bedroom and the kitchen.

  6. Autostraddle. WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I NEEDED YOU TEN YEARS AGO. Le Sigh. Big yes to everything. Embrace the awkward two minutes where you… cant…for…the…life…of…you…get…that…damn…buckle…fastened.

  7. …and sometimes you’re having wonderful, romantic outdoor sex in a secluded nook overlooking the ocean when all of a sudden SCUBADIVERS SURFACE!!!!
    And when you get up to go, you hear them saying “Oh damn, they’re frikkin’ leaving now”.

    How is it that mortifying + time passed = hilarious?

      • Hey, that sounds familiar, Amidola! My first year of college, my roommate walked in on me masturbating. I, uh, tossed the book I was reading, smoothed out my skirt, and then walked up and down the dorm stairs for a while (I was also barefoot, so my feet were kinda dirty after that), until I was sure that my roommate was gone. I sat on the stairs for a few before remembering that I didn’t have any underwear on. It was really embarrassing, but she, thankfully, never mentioned it to me. I avoided her for a while, however!

  8. This article is amazing! I wish it had existed before I started having sex and had all of these exact anxieties about it. I had to learn these on my own, but I’m glad it exists now to assist all the future lady sexing!

  9. Three things:

    1. My brain still subconsciously thought I was reading the “20 Hot Chocolate Variations” article when I started this and so #1 gave me a moment’s pause.

    2. Tears (long e) should also be on this list. Sometimes I sob like a baby after a really good O. It’s nbd.

    3. “If you’re OK with sex, you should probably be OK with sex plus periods.” Um… I don’t like sex on my period and it’s not anything to do with feeling grossed out by period blood because of society or whatever. I just don’t like it, and that is a perfectly OK way to feel too.

  10. “Sometimes the cat jumps on the bed during sex or turns out to have been staring at you the whole time.”

    the only downside to finally upgrading to a queen size after a lifetime of twindom is, indeed, the multiple times my girlfriend and I have finished fucking only to find my cat serenely staring at us from the corner of the bed.

  11. Two days ago I sneezed/headbutt on my girlfriend on the clit during oral. Apparently her new perfume sets off my allergies. We laughed for at least 15 minutes and ended up watching a movie instead (after she showered the perfume off).

    Also, make sure the person you’re with doesn’t have any allergies to nail polish. That will make for a very uncomfortable visit to the emergency room. Trust me!

  12. Apparently sex is not a thing my screwy inner ear is fond of? Ex and I discovered I get pretty motion sick most of the time – less fun than it sounds. Please tell me someone else has had this happen to them!

  13. When my cat was a kitten she followed me around everywhere no matter what… this included when the bedroom (and bed were occupied). So while as a kitten she couldn’t jump onto the bed, she would go on meowing endlessly until I picked her up and put her on the bed.

    As a first solution we tried closing the door and leaving some toys out (stuff that she likes to throw by herself and chase). But after five minutes she realized I was not out there with her and proceeded to scratching the door and meowing endlessly.

    As a second solution we made sure to feed her before we would occupy the bed, and she would immediately fall asleep on her own. This was fine until she grew up enough to be able to jump unto the bed, and that’s when it got awkward to the points where we would just laugh or giggle and try to scare her off the bed with our feet.

    Now that she’s a grown cat she just sneaks in once in a while and jumps unto the bed, but she’s mostly learnt to leave us alone or explore other parts of the house.

  14. Is it normal to feel kind of sick to your stomach when doing/being about to do sexual things? Like, not in a bad way, or in an I-don’t-want-to-do-this way, but when you really want something and there’s sexual tension in the air thick enough to cut it with a knife and you feel a little overwhelmed and your body internalizes that in a manner similar to the way you feel before throwing up. Is that normal?

    • So….nerves? Cause that’s me, all the time with situations like that. I attribute it to just being really, incredibly nervous and anxious about what might/is about to/what I want to happen. I’m hoping someday it will lessen with the right partner/enough trust/experience.

      • Nerves is my best guess, but I get nervous about so many things, and this feels unlike any way I’ve been nervous before. I am nervous, but I don’t feel afraid, because if I was afraid I would firmly not do anything. And I trust her. I think perhaps part of it is because I’m so new to things as simple as kissing that I get overwhelmed by the situation. Or because the patriarchy teaches women to be afraid of their desires, that too.

        • Yes, all of that. Been there. If you trust her and you feel comfortable with her/it/the situation, I am sure the nerves will get better. Take things slow, communicate, breathe. (And rejoice that you get to be doing sexy things with girls, wooo)

    • Yes? Speaking from personal experience, of course.
      When the person I was starting to date at the time mentioned that we should go back to my place because we couldn’t find parking to grab drinks, that feeling amplified 1000000%. More so during the drive back to my place, and then when she walked in, and then when we sat on the couch. Before I knew it, she was all over me and then we were both naked. So, it’s a good thing?

  15. love this article! will keep these tips in mind when i finally have sex with a girl. but I have a question that I’ve always been to embarrassed to ask but i feel like this is a safe space so here it goes… i know that period sex is okay and safe but if your going down on a girl and she accidentally gets her period so it’s on your mouth/in your mouth should u panic or not??? cuz i just keep thinking about blood in my mouth and a higher risk of contracting HIV. i hope this isn’t an ignorant/offence question.

    • Whenever you’re going down on someone it’s really appropriate to think about safer sex and protecting yourself from all kinds of STIs. But of course that means either proposing safer sex options or having a talk first (and taking the risk of trusting someone on their status). A dental dam, or plastic wrap (not the microwave safe kind, which has holes) should work as a barrier to HIV and other STIs. But I know I’ve really struggled to make these kinds of requests up front and to make them not awkward. May you do better than I! So basically … it is a really relevant question about STIs.

    • Thank you, avortiz! As a translesbian, anal sex is so important to feeling my gf inside of me! I cannot tell you how loved I feel when my girl is inside me, feeling sexy and pounding me……not as being dominant….I think…hehe….but making us feel joined in our bodies…..two becoming one loving couple. Despite me having a male body…..and we always have towels and wash cloths just in case! 🙂 Sexy love can be messy, but amazing…..if we dare to love each other without repression!

  16. Scary, but apparently it happens and is normal? I went into shock during sex one time. I was in the Grand Tetons (altitude, probably dehydrated) getting tied, spanked, and penetrated various ways when my play partner realized I was super pale, weak, and getting weird sub drop during the scene. Luckily he had some solid first aid training so knew to get me warm and give me lots of water and make me eat. I was fine, but didn’t feel up to snuff for like the next two days.

  17. I totally had a ‘Better Than Chocolate’ where the mom is experimenting with toys and does the “Oooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh” like an angel singing moment. Thankfully we just giggled about it for a bit after it happened.

  18. Um, so I hope this has happened to someone else….

    So, I have a slightly long nose and I didn’t realise that if you’re laying down on your stomach and going down on a woman ,while at an awkward angle, then you can basically almost suffocate in pussy( not in a good way).I temporarily spoiled the moment by making ‘help me’ moans but I didn’t want to stop .It’s pretty funny to think of now.

    Also, sweet moment: found it hard to stop grinning and actually keep going the first time she was about to come because i was thinking OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING.

  19. My partner and I were going at it in a hot tub, and as I was about to come, I passed out… a combination of low-blood pressure, the heat and perhaps the tendency I sometimes have to hold my breath -unintentionally- when reaching orgasm. Luckily getting out of the heat and drinking some cold water solved my consciousness problem. Up until then, my partner had no idea that I have a history of sometimes fainting, so I think it was much scarier for them than it was for me! Regardless, lessons were learned and a story gained!

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