When is it okay to start farting in a relationship?
By Tobi Schwartz-Cassell
One of them reminded me of a meme I’ve seen: “The biggest step in any relationship isn’t the first kiss. It’s the first fart.”
And that got me to thinking, when in a relationship is it okay to do it? The “it,” of course, being farting.
On Feb 7, Stan and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary, and I’ll lay it on the line—we fart in front of each other. After four decades, it’d be uncomfortable (in more ways than one) if we didn’t.
But at what point in our relationship did we let it rip? And which one of us was first? To be honest, I don’t remember (although I’d wager that Stan was first). But getting back to that press release, it prompted me to do a little research of my own. Sure enough, I found a couple of casual studies on the matter, and both asked the question, “When do you feel comfortable enough in a relationship to ‘break the seal?’”
And more importantly, why is this even a consideration?
HuffPost’s Kelsey Borresen asked psychologist and sex therapist Shannon Chavez, who explained, “Passing gas is viewed as gross, dirty, stinky and not attractive. Kids get ridiculed about it in school and are even embarrassed by peers if they pass gas in front of the opposite sex or anyone, for that matter. …I think it’s something most people avoid in any sort of intimate relationship, out of shame.”
But eventually, we all have to pass gas, whether it’s from our mouths, or the other end. And if we’re in a relationship long enough, something’s going to blow. But exactly when?
Mic.com, a millennial online magazine, questioned 129 people–a small number in the research world, but interesting, nonetheless. The top result was, “When we start having regular sleep overs.” The next highest number shows the respondents holding it in, and waiting for the other person to take the lead.
Another survey was completed by 1,007 people using Amazon Mechanical Turk. The ages ranged from 19 to 76, with 46% men and 54% women. Both men and women reported that they waited until they were into their relationships for an average of nine months before farting in front of their partners.
But the bottom line is this. Dr. Chavez says that those who pass gas in front of their significant others, more times than not, have a mature and comfortable relationship. And, there’s a bonus. “(These couples are) probably having great sex because they are comfortable with their bodies and what they do and are more likely to enjoy different types of stimulation and play with less inhibition, fears and insecurities.”
That’s all well and good. But what if you’re in a brand new relationship, and you get the urge, but you’re too embarrassed to let it go? Let’s say it’s a first date, and you mistakenly ate chili for lunch that day. This couple, Sabrina and Stacey, each came up with her own solution, and it ended up being the same one! They even named it the same thing! The Spread.
“When you’re afraid that your partner—or like anyone, really—is about to hear you fart,” says Stacey, “you just reach back and spread the butt cheeks apart a little bit and then it won’t make a sound because the air will just fly on through. But the funny thing is that, when we first started dating and Sabrina was worried that I was going to hear her fart as well, she also separately started doing the spread. So we were both doing it without the other person knowing. We had each invented the spread independently.”
So there you have it. The Spread. But that begs yet another question. Which is less embarrassing? Audible farting in front of your date, or visibly reaching around to spread your butt cheeks?
Extreme modesty suggests that the world may never know.
PS: So…are you willing to share? In your relationships, who farts first? And at one point? Do you have a funny fart story? Please tell us in the comment section below. If you’d rather remain anonymous, email me and I’ll share your response, but I promise not to share your name or identify you in any way. TIA
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