You’re spending the night with your partner, looking forward to having some fun between the sheets. Suddenly your stomach feels all kinds of funky. Bloated. Achy. Gassy. You don't have an antacid or anti-gas meds on hand, or you took some and they don't seem to have any effect. Now what?
It's too late to contemplate the potential causes of these GI problems—what you ate earlier in the day, where you are in your cycle, and irritable bowel syndrome are all possibilities. Instead, you need to remedy the situation before your night of bliss turns into a night in the bathroom. To help, we rounded up the best expert-approved fixes for making your stomach cooperate with your sex drive.
WATCH THE VIDEO: 5 Best Foods to Avoid Bloating
Avoid these foods
Skip them at dinner or as pre-sex snacks—they'll only make the situation worse. Offenders to avoid are soy and dairy products, foods with gluten or sugar, and certain vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli. As healthy as veggies are, they also contain "a starch called raffinose that your body can’t fully break down and digest,” says Robynne Chutkan, MD, gastroenterologist and founder of the Digestive Center for Wellness in Maryland.
Say no to booze as well. Alcohol can inhibit the release of bloat-busting digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Soda can also worsen the situation because carbonated beverages get their fizz from gas. If you're thirsty, plain water is your best option.
Try massage and yoga
Leave it to yoga to come to the rescue. “Yoga twisting poses are great for relieving bloating and gas,” adds Dr. Chutkan. Strike a revolved side angle or revolved triangle pose in the bathroom to relieve these symptoms fast.
You can also do this “happy abs” massage, courtesy of Dr. Chutkan. While lying on your back, grab a light dumbbell (or other object that weighs no more than 5 pounds) and circle it gently on the top of your stomach, applying light pressure. “This can be very effective in relieving bloat, gas, and constipation,” she says. “Just try not to do it right after eating when your stomach may be full.”
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Position yourself properly
If the stomach distress persists yet you still want to hit the sheets, the right sex position is key. “Sex can be tricky when you’re feeling bloated and gassy,” says Dr. Chutkan. “I recommend avoiding oral and anal sex, as well as any positions that place a lot of pressure on the abdomen.”
That leaves you plenty of possible positions, such as missionary with your partner standing or sex on your sides. The woman-on-top position may work best, however. Your front isn't pressed against your partner, and you control the speed and pacing—which means you can make a fast getaway to the bathroom if need be.
Focus only on pleasure
“If you have anxiety about your stomach being bloated and looking too big, those thoughts drift away fairly quickly if you can tune into pleasure," explains Holly Richmond, PhD, psychologist and certified sex therapist. So distract your mind from your bloating and the gassy feeling by zeroing in on the sensations and pleasure you feel with your partner. “Focusing on sensations that feel good drops you into those areas of your body that are being touched, and thus gets you out of your head,” she says.