Life is full of embarrassing moments—and sex is no exception. According to Dorian Solot, sex educator and co-author of I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide, “In movies sex is so smooth and perfect, but in real life some awkward, unexpected or downright mortifying moments are almost unavoidable.” Luckily, you can bounce back from these embarrassing incidents. Rather than pretending these moments don’t happen, we want to talk about them. Here are five embarrassing things that can occur during sex, plus tips on how to recover if they happen to you.
1. Weird noises
Bodies make noise; that’s just a fact. If your (or your partner’s!) body emits an embarrassing sound during sex, there’s no need to feel mortified. “It’s dangerous to take sex too seriously,” says Solot. “The best solution is to laugh and keep a sense of humor. If you smile and say, ‘Oh my gosh, that was so embarrassing!’ chances are your partner will laugh, too. It might even draw you closer!” In the moment, it might feel like the biggest deal—but you’ll forget about it quickly, and maybe even laugh about it later!
Falling off the bed, hitting your head on the wall…we’ve all been there. The same advice applies here. “If something goes wrong, your best bet is to laugh and acknowledge it,” says Solot. “Pretending all is well—when it’s obviously not—sets the stage for major awkwardness. But if you can laugh together, moments like these become just part of the fun.” If your partner makes a big deal about it, they’re probably not someone you want to spend time with, anyway.
One collegiette shares her hook up horror story: “I was hooking up with a guy in his car, and suddenly something tasted salty…so I pulled away and he looked down on me horrified and said, ‘Oh my god you're bleeding.’ I thought I had gotten my period or something but I had a bloody nose! It was all over my face, my body, his body and face. I sat there naked while he wiped it off me then got dressed and went home. He asked if we could continue, so he really wasn't rattled, but I was. I apologized profusely but he never really seemed to care.”
Just remember, it’s not your fault if something like this happens. And again, the way your partner handles the situation says a lot about him or her as a person. Once you’ve acknowledged the awkwardness, Solot suggests making a plan “for how to avoid the same pitfall in the future.” It’s as simple as saying, “Maybe we used a little too much lube that time,” or “Maybe we need to be more aware about staying more toward the middle of the bed." Life is a learning experience, after all!
4. Orgasms coming too early, too late or not at all
Unfortunately, orgasms don’t always happen at the right time—or even at all. Climaxing before you or your partner would like is a relatively common occurrence. If your partner comes too soon, but you want to keep going, Solot suggests saying, “No big deal, but don’t leave me hanging!” She also recommends helping them “find other ways to help you: mouth, fingers, sex toys or making out with you while your own fingers carry you to orgasm-land.”
If your partner is taking a while to orgasm, ask them to change it up. You can suggest a new position or approach that may work better. If you’re starting to feel sore, let them know, and reassure them that it’s no big deal if it doesn’t happen for one or both of you this time.
In the case that your male partner can’t come at all, Solot says, “This is more common than you’d think! Often men who have trouble reaching orgasm are the best, most attentive partners you’ll ever find. Guys like this often need permission to be a little selfish and focus on their own pleasure some of the time. If you suspect your partner is embarrassed, reassure them that it’s no big deal, and move on.”
Finally, if you can’t reach orgasm while you’re with your partner, Solot suggest trying one or more of the following:
- “Incorporating fantasy into the sensations of your partner—superimpose your favorite hot images or watch little movies in your mind. You don’t have to tell your partner—chances are good they do the same thing sometimes.”
- “Give your partner some suggestions to help you get there.”
- “Give yourself a hand. Most women find it MUCH easier to climax from masturbation than with a partner. Luckily, most partners say they think it’s hot to see a woman touch herself. As you reach down, say, ‘I think I need my own fingers to get over the edge, but this feels so good. You know what would be really hot? If you [give them some specific way to touch you] at the same time.’”
- “Remember—and tell your partner—that most women don’t need an orgasm 100% of the time to be satisfied. Tell them you had a great time but it’s just not gonna happen tonight. You might need to repeat this a few times to convince them.”
- “Most of all, don’t fake! If you fake, you’re teaching your partner all wrong. Take the pledge: I am one of those women who does not fake orgasms! It might mean you’re disappointed from time to time, but when your orgasms are real your partner is learning exactly what does and doesn’t work for you.”
Like Solot says, “Bodies aren’t machines. Penises, clitorises and vaginas don’t work exactly the way we want them to every time. We all need to be gentle with ourselves and our partners, be willing to shrug and try again next time.” Sometimes our bodies have minds of their own (so to speak). Just remember—there’s always tomorrow!
5. Discussing safe sex
While this shouldn’t feel embarrassing, sometimes these topics are difficult to approach—especially for the first time or with a new partner. “A lot of times there are things both partners want to discuss but neither one knows how to bring it up,” says Solot. “Women should feel totally comfortable asking at the key moment, ‘Do you have a condom with you, or should I pull one out?’” Still feeling shy? “Sometimes it helps to start off with, ‘Okay, this is really awkward, but I know we’re supposed to [talk about STIs, check in about condoms etc.],’” says Solot. “You’d be surprised how often your partner will be relieved if you take a deep breath and get the conversation started!” Having the conversation beforehand can prevent problems down the road. So even though you may be embarrassed, it’s worth it in the long run!
Related: 7 Myths About Safe Sex, Debunked
Sex is not without its embarrassing moments, but it’s all part of the fun. If something awkward happens while you’re hooking up, don’t take it too seriously. Laugh it off, and your partner will too. Have fun and be safe, collegiettes!