Sex can be a messy, good time. Unfortunately, we're conditioned to think of our genitals as dirty and the fluids and smells they produce as something to be ashamed of.
But there is much joy to be had in accepting the smells, fluids, and flavors that our bodies produce naturally!
For most of us, there was a turning point in which our poops, farts, and burps transitioned from cute to disgusting. Along with these acts, the body parts that were associated with them (mouths, butts, etc.) became something to be monitored and controlled so as not to offend. I’m not suggesting we all start passing gas indiscriminately! I only mean to point out that our bodies and their functions weren’t always considered gross or dirty.
Unfortunately, sex gets lumped into the list of acts we think of as kind of grody. Add that to the pile of shame a lot of us feel around sex to begin with and you have a recipe for thinking one of the most fun human behaviors is also something that must be controlled and cleaned up.
I want to dispel the myth that sex is a dirty act, so below is a guide to make sure you're enjoying the fun of the mess of sex.
1. Sexual Fluids 101.
The body produces many fluids, and most of them are multi-functional. Fluids aid in maintaining our body’s health by moving things through it with ease. They can help flush our system of harmful bacteria and aid in protecting us from harmful microbes in the first place. Sexual fluids can also aid in the creation of new life! Below are a few fluids you ought to know.
- Saliva: Also known as spit, saliva is produced in the mouth and is used sexually in kissing, oral sex, and sometimes as a lubricant for various sex acts. Saliva tends to not have much of an odor unless you’ve just eaten something particularly pungent or if you have a dental issue.
- Male Pre-Ejaculatory Fluid: Sometimes referred to as pre-cum, male pre-ejaculatory fluid is slick and can help with lubrication. It is secreted in the early stages of arousal and can accompany erection. Its scent varies from person to person.
- Female arousal fluid: Different from cervical fluid, arousal fluid is produced as a natural lubricant during the sexual response cycle. This fluid may have little to no scent or be quite pungent depending on vaginal conditions.
- Male ejaculate: Containing semen and prostatic fluid, male ejaculate tends to be more viscous than pre-cum. It passes through the urethra, has a distinct smell that can range from salinated to bleachy, and can take on different scents based on diet and general health.
- Female ejaculate: Female ejaculate is water-like and includes among other things, prostatic fluid. Like men, women ejaculate through the urethra. The scent can be anywhere from odorless to slightly like urine or whatever has most recently passed through the urethra (think coffee or asparagus).
- Rectal fluid: Rectal fluid is secreted by the mucous membranes of the rectum. It can, to some extent, reduce friction during anal sex. As it is located in the rectum, the smell is as you probably guessed — kinda like fecal matter.
2. You’re Not As Dirty As You Think.
Some folks live in fear of smelling or tasting bad to their partners, and some people are turned off by strong body odor. This fear and disgust can largely be attributed to the social messages we receive about odors and the bodily functions that produce them. Being told that you stink can be one of the most humiliating experiences in life — and yet there are those who love “stinky” things including panties, bras, socks, shoes, and of course, armpits and genitals!
You Might Also Like: Am I A Sex Addict?
We haven’t always been so stink-averse. Imagine our ancestors living in conditions in which bathing was a luxury and scenting oneself was seen as out of the norm. Extremely foul odor may have indicated a health issue, but for the most part human beings walked around with pretty consistent low-level funk. We managed to be sexually attractive and have sex despite this. Now, funk may not be everyone’s preference, but I think we could all do with giving ourselves a break considering most of us bathe pretty regularly comparatively.
3. General Rules Of Sexual Fluids.
Know your STI status: It’s super important to know what (if any) STIs you or your partner may have so that you can make educated choices together about what fluids are okay to share and what precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of spreading STIs.
Use condoms as a barrier: Condoms are an excellent barrier to keep the risk of fluid-transmitted STIs to a minimum. This goes for all types of sex, including oral sex. Saran wrap can also be used as a barrier for cunnilingus and analingus.
Avoid moving from anal sex to other types of sex: There is a risk of introducing bacteria from the rectum to the vagina during vaginal sex. This can disrupt vaginal and urethral flora, creating conditions for UTIs and bacterial infections. This risk is greatly increased if you are engaging in anal sex, so the general rule of thumb for anal sex is that you save it for last. There are ways to minimize risk, such as using separate condoms for each act.
4. Get Dirty, Clean Later.
Thinking about how to minimize the mess of sex is helpful for having a stress-free post-coital snuggle. Just try not to get too carried away in controlling what happens during the actual session. There will be noises, there will be gushes, there will be smells, there may even be blood! There are precautionary measures you can take, like putting absorbent towels or a rubber sheet beneath you if you plan to get real messy. The thing to remember is that all of the sounds and smells and tastes of sex are part of this real and raw human experience. Learning to accept that can allow you to enjoy sex more fully.