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6 Cringe-Worthy Sex Moments

How to avoid some of the riskiest and most embarrassing sexual health blunders.

Medically reviewed in January 2021

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Ever been swept up in a moment of passion, only to kill the mood with an awkward—or painful—sex mistake? Still have lingering questions from sex-ed that you never worked up the nerve to ask?

We spoke with Melissa Hague, MD, an OBGYN from Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas to bring you answers. Dr. Hague weighs in on some of the most embarrassing and dangerous sexual health missteps and how to avoid them.

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“Squirting” when you orgasm

“Squirting,” or female ejaculation, might make you cringe if you don’t know what’s happening, but it’s actually not something you want to avoid. Here’s the most widely accepted theory on why it happens:

“Women have tiny glands that sit next to the urethra, or the duct that normally releases urine,” says Dr. Hague. “They’re called the Skene glands. Occasionally, during or after an orgasm, those glands will release liquid. It’s completely normal and healthy.”

The liquid is not urine. It’s typically clear or milky, odorless and contains chemicals similar to those in prostate fluid. Since female ejaculation tends to accompany the most intense orgasms, relax and let yourself go with the flow.

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“Faking it” to please your partner

Even if you’re exhausted or worried about hurting your partner’s ego, don’t fake an orgasm. Why?

  1. It’s dishonest and can damage your partner’s trust in the long-run
  2. It could lead to a lifetime of bad sex

“When it comes to sex, men are straightforward,” says Hague. “If they do something, and they think it makes you feel good, they're going to do it again. If you fake it, and what they're doing doesn’t feel good, you're going to experience the same thing over and over again—and you really can't blame them because they think they've figured out the key to pleasing you.”

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Ignoring erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be tough for couples to talk about. You might be worried that “the spark” is gone or that your partner finds you less attractive. But ED often has more to do with a man’s physical or emotional state, and less to do with his relationship.

Erectile dysfunction can signal:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Depression

“The best way to approach the situation is to say, ‘I read that this could be a sign of a major medical problem. We need to get you in to see a doctor to make sure you’re healthy,’” says Hague. “Don’t make the conversation about his inability to keep an erection, but rather about his health and wellbeing.”

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Accidentally breaking his penis

Yes, it’s possible to fracture your partner’s penis. This extremely painful injury can happen when the penis is forced to bend. Bending causes a special membrane, called the tunica albuginea, to rupture. That membrane normally surrounds the blood that fills the penis during erections. When it breaks, the blood leaks out into nearby tissues, causing pain and swelling.

To avoid a broken penis:

  • Change positions carefully.
  • Don’t thrust wildly in different directions.

Signs of penis fracture include a cracking or popping sound, pain and an immediate loss of erection. Take your partner to the emergency room if he experiences these symptoms.

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Trying to mask vaginal odor

You might be tempted to use feminine sprays or practice douching if you have an odor. But these short-term fixes can lead to serious health problems.

“Most gynecologists don’t recommend douching because it can throw off your vaginal pH,” says Dr. Hague. PH is a measure of your vagina’s acidity; a healthy pH promotes good bacteria and fights bad bacteria. That keeps conditions like vaginosis from developing.

Feminine sprays can mask infections, delaying treatment.

If you have an odor, see your gynecologist, says Hague. If it's not an infection, you can apply a small amount of baking soda at the opening of the vagina to neutralize the odor. Do it before bed and wear a pad; the vagina tends to produce fluid as it adjusts to the pH of the baking soda.

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Rushing into anal sex

Before trying anal sex, you should know some essential safety tips.  

Never practice anal and vaginal sex back-to-back without changing condoms in between. “Bacteria is harbored in the rectum, which doesn’t belong in the vagina,” explains Hague. “Pick a spot and stick with it.”

“Some sexually transmitted illnesses spread more easily during anal sex than vaginal sex,” she continues. Protect yourself and your partner by:

  • Using plenty of water based lubricant: This can help prevent rectal tears and condom breaks.
  • Avoid oil-based lubricants, which can break down latex condoms.
  • Have a bowel movement beforehand.
  • Take it slow; stop if you’re in pain.

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