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Snafus During Sex: What to Do When Things Go Wrong

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Laurie J. Watson, LMFT - Blogs
By Laurie J. Watson, LMFTCertified sex therapistOctober 26, 2017

For most of us, sex doesn’t really resemble the perfectly choreographed scenes we see in the movies. In real life, there are snafus – someone’s elbow catches someone’s hair, someone gets a muscle cramp, the list goes on. And let’s face it: Two bodies can make a lot of sounds and smells that are anything but sexy. Here are some of the embarrassing difficulties you might encounter – and how to handle them:

You call out the name of your former lover. First of all, it happens. But don’t count on your spouse or current significant other to think it’s funny. This gaffe will require some significant emotional repair.

What to Do: Apologize. Reassure your partner that you only want to be with them and that the other relationship is over.

Orgasm face. When uninhibited, most people scrunch up their faces and grimace during climax. Letting yourself go means not looking pretty.

What to Do: Remember that it’s actually a good sign – it means you are immersed in what you are feeling. Letting your body have its way allows you to wring out the moment’s pleasure.

Air escape. Perhaps the most embarrassing moment during sex is when someone passes gas or air from an orifice and it makes some noise. Most people are socialized to feel shame over releasing gas because it might cause another person some discomfiture. However, during sex, it’s important to be loose, feel uninhibited, and stay relaxed – goals that are clearly opposed to how we usually react to flatulence.

What to Do: Instead of being embarrassed, just laugh it off. Give yourself a break and tell yourself you’re human.

Leaking. Whether you’re a menopausal woman who leaks a little urine during the bedroom adventure, or a post-prostate cancer male struggling with that first year’s recovery after surgery, or maybe a nursing mother whose milk appears as you get aroused, you may be contributing fluids to the sex mix that you hadn’t counted on. It’s true we tend to be comfortable with certain fluids during sex and may label others as “unsexy.” But sex is messy.

What to Do: Don’t let the extra fluid stop you. Urine is sterile and won’t bother anyone. Breast milk leaking is proof of arousal.

Child walks in. No one wants their child to witness the “primal scene,” but if it happens, minimizing the drama it the best recourse.

What to Do: Grab a robe and walk your child back to bed and answer any questions or say simple statements like, “No one was being hurt; Daddy and Mommy were doing a special love wrestling.” Or if the child is older, emphasize the need for privacy and say, “Parents express their love physically and while you may not understand it, we’ll explain more when you’re older, or in the morning…” But the best strategy is prevention: Put a lock on the master bedroom door.

Bad Breath. If you know morning breath kills the mood, you might make a policy of both jumping up for the mouthwash and hoping back in bed. Or if your partner mentions it, take it in stride, be a good sport and get to tooth-brushing.

What to Do: Use kindness when bringing bothersome things to your partner’s attention. And don’t let little irritations derail the whole event.

Orgasm problems. Too soon, too late, not at all, or just not your night? If the goal of sex is orgasm you might miss making love.

What to Do: If the problem is long-standing, seek out a sex therapist, but if it’s an occasional occurrence, refocus on your partner’s pleasure.

A sex life develops over time and has ups and downs. The best insurance against having very human experiences interfere with pleasure, is having a sense of humor and knowing that sex may be romantic one time, raw the next time, and silly after that. Feeling secure that your partner loves you and is committed to ongoing sexual growth minimizes awkward moments.

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About the Author
Laurie J. Watson, LMFT

Laurie J. Watson, LMFT, is a certified sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again – How to Rekindle Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. Laurie helps couples “keep it hot” with her weekly podcast FOREPLAY – Radio Sex Therapy, weekend intensives, and telehealth consultations. A compelling and enthusiastic presenter, Laurie is regularly invited to speak at medical schools, conferences and retreats.

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