Sex can be a lot of things. It can be fun, exciting, and intimate at its best. But just like any other good thing, there can be some hiccups along the way. Whether it is your first, third, or 100th time having sex, awkward moments are pretty inevitable, and it’s about time we start normalizing them.
Every person probably has at least one story where something uncomfortable or awkward occurred in the heat of the moment. Instead of avoiding it or feeling ashamed, we should understand that awkward experiences are just a part of the deal, along with all the other great things about sex.
First of All: Awkward is Totally Normal
Every single person has experienced feeling awkward (if you've avoided this, let us know how!). It’s an inevitable part of life that we should embrace as a learning experience – one that we can invite humor into, rather than beating ourselves up about it. And sexual encounters provide ample opportunity for discomfort or awkwardness.
Sex and dating almost inevitably lead to awkward moments, especially since we may feel nervous or flustered around those we are attracted to. Being intimate with someone is a vulnerable experience, and with vulnerability, there is a big chance that we might feel a little awkward or uncomfortable. Each person is approaching the relationship with different desires and expectations. Being open about these or not having them met can make us feel uncomfortable.
Despite awkward sexual experiences being so typical, most of us rarely talk about them. It’s understandable why – it can feel very embarrassing to dive deeper into a moment that we’d rather forget. However, talking openly about these types of moments can help us normalize them and break their stigma.
6 Awkward Moments You Might Encounter & How to Rebound Afterwards
Let’s break down some of the most common awkward intimate moments and how you may want to respond to them.
1. Unexpected Bodily Noises
All people, especially those with vaginas, may experience unwanted noises in the heat of sexual moments. During penetration, air can build up inside of the vaginal canal, and there’s only one way for it to come back out. It may feel incredibly awkward when it does happen, but it’s a perfectly normal part of having sex, and it’s pretty much inevitable. (Fun fact: the medical term for this is “vaginal flatulence”.)
It’s also possible that you may pass gas while you are being intimate with a romantic partner. The proximity of the rectum to our genitals means that muscles tensing up and the pressure of penetration can make flatulence even more likely. If this happens to you, try to invite humor into the situation and remember that this is a perfectly normal response to penetrative sex.
2. Trouble Getting Aroused
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, we just aren’t in the mood. Or maybe we are in the mood, but our body isn't cooperating. It can feel uncomfortable to let your partner know that you are having trouble getting turned on. But having open communication between you and your partner, especially concerning sex is hugely important. Just be direct and let your partner know that you don’t want to have sex right now. Or try these tips to turn on arousal.
If you are on the opposite end of the situation, and your partner isn’t getting aroused, don’t take it too personally and just agree to try another time.
3. Awkward Orgasms
There are multiple scenarios where orgasms can feel a little awkward, like untimely orgasms when someone finishes very quickly or takes a long time to reach climax. The most important thing to do in this situation is to communicate with your partner if you are getting close too quickly so that you both can slow down or change positions if you choose.
There can also be an unexpected type of orgasm, like female ejaculation. We all know going into sex that it can get a little messy, and there’s never anything wrong with the way your body responds to pleasure.
4. Trying Something New and Failing
One of the most fun aspects of sex can be trying new things with your partner. Some things may work really well, and others…not so much. That’s all part of the experience though, and there's no need to stress over the small stuff.
If you try a new position with your partner and it’s not working for one or both of you for whatever reason – whether it’s uncomfortable or you just don’t like it – let your partner know so you can try something else. The same goes for trying new sex toys or props in the bedroom. Introducing a sex toy to intimacy with your partner is a great way to spice things up and enhance the pleasure of the experience, but not all toys will suit your needs. Don’t let one failed attempt deter you from trying new things!
5. Getting Caught
This can be a situation that can feel awkward for all parties involved, especially those who catch you in the act. Depending on the circumstances and who walks in on you having sex, you may have to handle it differently.
If it is another adult, like a roommate or a family member, this can feel extremely uncomfortable, but a simple communication of an apology and whoever walked in leaving the room is probably the best way to go. This would also be a good opportunity to revisit the importance of knocking or creating a non-verbal communication tactic (like hanging a towel on the door, sending a text to let them know you don’t want to be disturbed, etc.) to prevent this from happening again.
However, if one of your children walks in on you, you will need to deal with the situation differently. Luckily, we have an article on how to handle your kids walking in on you having sex. (If you have kids, it's probably a good idea to read this now so you're prepared!)
Most of the remaining kinds of awkward moments fall into this umbrella category, and in most cases, they can be avoided by having an open discussion with your partner about what you are into during sex and what you are not.
However, even if you've had those conversations, there’s always a possibility for a misunderstanding from either party about what the other person wants. Having a pre-designated safe word with your partner is a great way to communicate when you want to stop and do something different. So is filling out a checklist outlining exactly what's you enjoy, what you want to try, and what is outside of your comfort zone. There’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it, just communicate clearly with your partner and be honest about what you like and don’t.
Read more in our article The Courage to Communicate About Sex & Pleasure.
These are just a few of the awkward, slightly uncomfortable scenarios that can happen during sexual intimacy. The best response is honest and open communication with your partner, and trying not to get too absorbed in the embarrassment that may come up. Don’t forget to remember that awkward intimate moments happen to everyone, and with some lighthearted humor and communication, these can easily be overcome.