Queefing is a totally natural bodily function that happens when air gets trapped in your vagina. But somehow, no matter how often you remind yourself of this fact, it’s still difficult not to blush a little when it happens. Here, San Jose-based Sheila Loanzon, a board-certified ob-gyn, answers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about queefing and explains why you should never be ashamed of your queefs.
1. It’s not a fart. Dr. Loanzon says a queef is just the passage of air through the vaginal canal. A queef happens when air pushed in from something like sexual penetration (be it from a toy or a penis) needs to be released from the vaginal canal.
2. It’s the vibrations from the labia majora that you’re hearing. “The sound comes from the vibrations of the labia majora, which includes the vulva and vaginal lips.” Dr. Loanzon explains. “It’s similar to the sound of flatus, colloquially known as farting, or gas exiting from the rectum, which occurs when the butt cheeks flap together.”
3. You can’t control queefs like farts because your butt is just tighter. “The anal sphincter is much tighter and better toned than the vaginal tissue, and therefore can be controlled,” Dr. Loanzon says. “It can contain passage of gas from the gastrointestinal tract, whereas you can’t control your vaginal muscles as readily.”
4. Certain positions will put you more at risk of queefing than others. Dr. Loanzon says positions, like doggy-style, in which your partner pushes more air into your vaginal canal, can make you more prone to queefing than others. You can also be more likely to queef if you rotate positions too quickly after your partner has pumped air into you.
5. Depending on your birth history, you may also be more likely to queef. Dr. Loanzon says women who have given birth to larger babies may have larger vaginal canals, which can accommodate more air.
6. There’s really nothing you can do about queefing. “If you try to contract the vaginal canal to prevent air from coming in, it can cause sex to be more painful,” Dr. Loanzon explains. “If anything, you could try to manage the amount of air going in by slowing down the speed of penetration and using less depth — not having sex hard and fast, jackhammer-style — but it’s probably not that realistic in the heat of the moment.”
7. Using a lot of lube can mean delayed queefs. Dr. Loanzon says if air bubbles get trapped inside lube, a queef can come out during sex or when urinating afterward.
8. Don’t be embarrassed by your queefs! Dr. Loanzon says to remember that queefs are natural. “Just say, ‘excuse me,’ and carry on. And maybe laugh, because that can release the tension. It’s very anatomic so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
9. You can queef from doing nonsexual things like jumping jacks, coughing, or even wearing underwear. Yep! Dr. Loanzon says anything that can introduce air into the vagina, like jumping jacks or trampolining, or coughing and sneezing, can also lead to queefing. “Some people also notice when they’re wearing a thong, the labia gets trapped and air can get in that way too. That’s another reason why you shouldn’t be embarrassed, because it usually happens when you’re either having sex, exercise, or wearing clothes, which means you’re taking care of yourself in some way.”
10. The word “queef” is not a medical term. Who knew! Dr. Loanzon says doctors normally just refer to it as “passage of air through the vaginal canal.”