Sex Column: Queen Queef Speaks Out About Sexual Shame


A drawing of a girl with her hand over her mouth
Graphic by Nina Potischman

To me, queefs are kind of like quiches. They can be totally different depending on who makes them, and I used to be confused on how they come about.

Unfortunately, the similarities end there. While Grandma Lorraine’s quiches may fill you with nostalgia and an appreciation for home, queefs generally bring about a burning desire for the earth to swallow you whole — especially if you’re with a hottie you literally met 20 minutes ago at a North Quad rager.

With their trademark flatulent tones, queefs have long plagued vagina-owners as a source of embarrassment and shame. I personally have struggled to recover from many untimely queefs in the middle of steamy hookups, unsure whether to ignore it or bury my face in a pillow and cry.

I get it. Any kind of odd sound coming from an orifice can come off as unsexy. But when I read articles like “How to Stop Queefing” or “What Men Really Think about Queefs,” I’m crushed by how much pressure our society still places on us women to be “perfect” — neat, tidy, and contained — during sex. God forbid that actual air gets expelled from our vaginas, right?

Because that’s all that queefs are. They’re not “vagina farts,” as some misinformed articles (and middle school boys) like to call them. According to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale Medical School, queefs occur when a vagina expands and excess air gets in.

Once there is penetration, the air does not have as much space inside to occupy, so it is abruptly forced out, resulting in an audible noise. Unlike flatulence, it is not indicative of waste in the body.

Queefing can occur in many situations — when changing positions frequently, during the resolution of intercourse, during a pelvic exam, or even during exercise, especially in certain yoga positions and sit-ups.

In other words, it’s a super common thing, and there is nothing to be ashamed about.

Shame is a terrible thing to feel when engaging in something as intimate or exciting as sex, but it’s also a by-product of society’s need to control our bodies and sexualities. With the prevalence of kink-shaming, sexual stigmas, and problematic Cosmopolitan tips, it feels like there’s an endless list of things we should feel guilty about.

This is especially troubling for those who are already marginalized, and those whose bodies are policed in a myriad of ways outside of sex.

It’s time we embrace the spontaneity of sexual interactions. Whether it’s falling off the bed, getting a random leg cramp, orgasming too early or too late (or not at all) during sex, all things can easily be brushed off with some humor and laughter.

Honest communication with your partner also helps demystify these things by creating an open channel for support and suggestions.

So while queefing may be uncomfortable, it’s something I think we should just own. For example, I once queefed non-stop for a whole minute after having sex with a casual hookup.

I shot up off the bed and sprinted to the bathroom hoping it would subside, but that only amplified the noise into hellish echoes that still reverberate in my head today.  

In that moment I was mortified, but now I look back at those memories and think, screw it. I believe we should just stop trying to fulfill ridiculous, Hollywood-like expectations of sex. Oh, and I hereby officially coronate myself as Queen Queef.

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