If you've grown up on a steady diet of rom-coms, then you probably have a very specific idea of what "good" sex looks like. Hot, romantic sex, according to the movies, is a stoic, silent, dramatic thing that usually involves rain-soaked men sweeping women off their feet, two people lunging at each other in a bar the moment their sexual tension finally snaps, and teenagers tenderly making out in a car.
I don't know about y'all, but the sex I have doesn't look like that. Instead of silent make outs in the woods, I have make out sessions on my girlfriend's bright green couch that often include at least one accidental fart a noise when our mouths suction together. Instead of ripping my clothes off item by item as we move gracefully to the bedroom, she gets confused about where my bodysuit unbuttons. And sometimes, I swing my leg up to straddle her and accidentally knock my knee into her thigh. Forget rom-com sex, real sex is messy, awkward, and things don't always go the way you plan. But I kind of love it when they don't. Because it's hilarious when my teeth bang into my girlfriend's (provided no one gets hurt), and I can't help but laugh when one of us (usually me) slips and falls on top of the other.
"We have a choice in every moment to decide whether something is going to be awkward, especially during sex," says Emily Morse, PhD, sexologist and host of the Sex With Emily podcast. Now, you might think that laughing when someone accidentally farts would ruin the mood — and you could be right. I've definitely had partners who didn't find those awkward moments so funny, and refused to keep having sex when I laughed. But, letting out a chuckle doesn't have to be a mood ruiner. "The mood is only going to get ruined if you let it," Dr. Morse says. "Sex is hot, pleasurable, dirty, awkward, and funny all at the same time. So when something funny happens, there’s no harm in having a quick laugh and continuing on."
In fact, choosing to laugh when something doesn't go right during sex could actually make the moment more intimate and bring you and your partner closer together, rather than drive you apart. "The less you let awkward situations bother you, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your partner, and the closer you’ll ultimately feel," Dr. Morse says. So instead of pretending like nothing happened or letting the awkward moment become a bigger deal than it needs to be, she suggests letting your laugh out. "The moment will pass as quick as you can let it go, so just smile or laugh, and then get back to the incredible sex at hand," she says.