Recently I was asked to name a time when I was very embarrassed during sex. Out of the depths of my suppressed memories, it came to me. I was 19 and giving the guy I had been seeing a blow job after a night of heavy drinking. I puked on his dick. This wasn’t a little upchuck, either — I spewed a thick layer of vomit all over his penis, crotch, and bed. He was so sweet about it, though. We cleaned it up together, and while it smelled and felt terrible, he reassured me that it was no big deal. Cool, right? The memory got me thinking: Some bodily emissions, such as cum, are considered “sexy,” while others are generally considered "gross" and to be avoided at all costs, especially during sex. But here’s the thing. There’s nothing out there in the world that somebody doesn’t find hot, and sex appeal isn’t necessarily related to the health risks that a bodily fluid poses. Ejaculate — which is generally considered pretty sexy — carries STIs, for example, but pee, a less common turn-on, is actually quite sterile. Some folks consider the golden shower a highly erotic activity, but many others would be upset if they peed or were peed on during an intimate encounter. Pee is totally natural, and if some comes out during sex, it’s really not anything to fuss about. It isn’t anatomically possible for a man to pee while also ejaculating (it is possible, however, for a man to pee inside a vagina during sex, but that comes with some risks, including throwing off vaginal pH levels ). For a woman, though, since the bladder is just above the G-spot, it’s easy to confuse an impending orgasm with the need to pee. Sometimes a little pee is expelled when the bladder is stimulated, but that’s different from ejaculating, and the ability to distinguish the difference between the two is mostly a matter of getting to know your body and the way it behaves. Many women, myself included, like to pee before sex in order to help tell the difference. Pre-cum from a penis, meanwhile, is a natural fluid created by the body that cleans and prepares the urethra for ejaculation. Unlike ejaculate or pee, this isn’t a fluid that can be “held in.” Just as with ejaculation, different people create different amounts of pre-cum — and some men create so much of this fluid that they feel embarrassed. I personally think pre-cum is really sexy.
It’s a natural fluid that signals a (physical) readiness for sexual action, after all. Many folks are also seriously embarrassed by any traces of poop during anal play, but it’s unrealistic to expect someone’s asshole to free from poop at all times! The rectum is both a pathway for poop and an erogenous zone for many people. Period blood, meanwhile, also gets its share of prejudice, even beyond its ability to transmit STIs — but I bleed for an entire week out of the month and there’s no way in hell you could convince me to stop having sex during that time. While condoms and other barrier methods help reduce the risk of STIs, keep in mind that menstrual blood can be a skin irritant for some folks, which can make the skin more susceptible to pathogens. In terms of sex appeal, some people find period sex hot as hell, but other people think it’s disgusting and decide that sex is totally off the menu during menstruation. My opinion is that you ought to use your best judgment in each situation, get tested regularly, and, of course, communicate with your partner — tips that go for all sexually active people, not just those who have period sex. Not everyone is as relaxed about sex “mishaps” as the man whose dick I puked on at the age of 19. I once had a boyfriend cease foreplay because there was a tiny fleck of tissue paper clinging to my labia, and people still make the joke that “girls don’t poop.” While I’m sure most people don’t literally believe women don’t shit, all too often we make women’s bodily functions a matter of public opinion instead of a personal matter; women are still teased about vaginal odor or shamed for their periods. It makes me wonder if disgust toward women’s bodily fluids is especially intense thanks to the ingrained notion that women are clean, dainty creatures who don't shit or ejaculate. When we get over that notion, though, we can start to think about which bodily fluids and activities truly appeal to us and which don’t, independent of what others think or how we’re “supposed” to feel — which makes for better sex for everyone.