It’ll come as no surprise to you that we think sex is great however you want to do it, whomever you want to do it with (as long as it’s consensual). But it does bring its fair share of awkward moments, and to pretend otherwise is not doing any of us any favors. If we were to get all of our knowledge and expectations about sex from watching mainstream porn, we’d think there were never any mishaps or actual human bodies involved, but that ain’t real, kids! Bodies do weird stuff and they’re a little bit gross! And that’s fine, and sex is still great, and you still look good doing it. So here are just seven of the many, many slightly gross but completely normal things that happen during sex:
1. Unexpected periods
Period sex is totally cool and—get this—it can also reduce cramping. But if you don’t have your period when you start having sex and then you do by the end of your sesh, that can be a little…alarming. Once you get past the initial shock of turning the lights on to discover what looks like a horrific crime scene, it’s actually kind of funny.
2. Pubes in places you don’t want them
Pubes are also totally cool—we think you should enjoy having them, taming them, and/or removing them as you see fit. HOWEVER, the feeling of a loose pube stuck in the back of your throat is nothing short of gag-inducing. Just ask Larry David.
3. Toilet paper in places you don’t want it
Toilet paper, especially the super soft kind, can leave little dust balls behind between butt cheeks, on labia, and in various other folds and creases. It may feel embarrassing if you notice your partner picking it off while going down on you, but just know that it happens to everybody, and hey, they would probably rather that you use toilet paper than not, right?
4. A little bit of poop
Anyone who’s engaged in butt play knows that a little poop here and there is inevitable. Yeah, poop is normally pretty gross, but when you’re in the heat of the moment, it’s honestly just like WHO CARES. Just wipe it away and move on. (Keep in mind that if there’s rimming involved, there are different considerations since you don’t want to actually, you know, eat poop. Dental dams are a great way to reduce risk and put everyone’s minds at ease about the whole poop thing.)
5. Queefs and other distressing sounds
So. Many. Sounds. It makes sense that when you’re combining wet things with friction, you’re going to end up with some pretty squelchy sounds sometimes. The queef is a good example of one of these sounds. Honestly, it sounds exactly like a fart but it TOTALLY ISN’T ONE. It’s just air that got pushed into your or your partner’s vagina during sex working its way back out.
6. Actual farts
If you thought queefs were gross, actual farts will probably do you in. But they definitely happen. Sex can involve a lot of effort as well as compression from contorting your body or from a partner pushing down on you. Plus, hopefully it also involves the relaxing and releasing of various muscles. It’s a perfect recipe for things to get gassy.
7. Sweat—lots of it
No, it’s not “glistening.” It’s not a “shimmer.” It’s sweat. Slick, shiny, salty sweat. It drips, it makes your hair stick to your face and/or body, and it doesn’t always smell great. On the other hand, it does add to the vibe that things are really hot and heavy.
P.S. Is a fear of totally normal smells motivating you to use “feminine hygiene” products? Find out why you should stop and how to clean your vagina instead.