Someone’s got to break wind first. For most heterosexual relationships (as far as I know) the days leading up to the first pass of gas are tense, uncomfortable, and pregnant. Because, you know, girls don’t fart. But they kinda do.

(That’s where rainbows come from: when girls try to squeeze something out their butts, all the colors that make up light shoot up into the sky. And that pot of gold? Girl butt.)

Of course, the underlying problem is the coupling of our general embarrassment over a natural bodily function with a double standard that says it’s somewhat less embarrassing if a guy does it. Guys are gross and smelly and disgusting to begin with, right? So give your ladyfriend a Mission burrito and let her spend the night, and you’ve got yourself a situation. If we could all agree to not be embarrassed and just let the farts fly like coughs and sneezes, this wouldn’t be an issue. But that’s not going to happen because our society has hangups about farts. Yes, even in the Bay Area, the Vital-Vittles-toasting, farmers’-market-prune-sampling, organic-fair-trade-coffee-brewing, fruit-with-flax-seed-smoothie-blending Bay Area.

That’s not to say you should keep them tucked in, pinching your butt cheeks tight enough to keep a penny wedged in there. First of all, you’re going to strain yourself. Second of all, that almost guarantees you’ll have some horrible flatulence-related accident.

Solution: guys fart first. Men, lead by example. Show her the way. Do it after you’ve had sex a few times already but preferably not during. Unless she’s into that sort of thing. I’ve even thought up some hypotheticals for you.

The nonchalant: Fart, and then say, “Excuse me.” That’s it.
The brother: After you’re done cuddling, get up, turn around, and say, “Oh, I’ve got something for you.” Fart. Laugh.
The snuggler: While you’re big-spooning her, squeeze her tight. Fart. Tell her it’s a natural process and you’re glad you can share it with her.
The other room: Tell her you have to fart, then leave the room.

OK, so maybe some of those won’t work with most women, but some women do have a 12-year-old boy’s sense of humor. Basically, with farting in a relationship, you need to fulfill two requirements:

1. Do it. Or else you’ll spend three years with the same person never being able to achieve a certain degree of anal relaxation. Or, chances are, you’ll get too comfortable during doggy style or you’ll fart in your sleep or you’ll fart on your partner in your sleep. Then, the world ends.

2. Acknowledge with your partner that farting is going to happen, and it doesn’t have to be embarrassing. It can even be funny. Or ho-hum. It’s your choice.

Farting can even be a good indicator of a healthy relationship. If your partner has a hard time accepting their human-ness or even yours, what else are they uptight about? It happens. A lot. And as much as my mother tried to explain to me, farting does not necessarily make someone less attractive. So hold your head up high, and truly share yourself. Because no one can make you feel inferior without your permission, right, Eleanor Roosevelt?

Image from Alana Holmberg.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at

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