April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month and the perfect time to explore the intimacy of a fart.

Let’s get some drinks, she says.

We need pizza to soak up the alcohol, you say, which leads to more carbonated drinks. All of a sudden both parties are loosened up enough to start kissing…..inhaling each others’ pepperoni and pale ale…..which has been downgraded to a faint aroma under the cigarettes you just shared before walking back into the bar.

One more kiss before we go back inside.

More drinks.

Some people bring condoms on a date just in case they get lucky. I bring matches. It’s the new courtesy for drunken lovemaking.

Carbonated drinks and slices of pizza are easy farts to contain when you’re vertical. Once things get horizontal your body makes a phone call to your bowel to relax: Air release A-okay, your fat, cigar chomping intestine engineer in dirty overalls yells to the assembly line.

You make the call to him, but he can’t hear you when the conveyor belts of digestion have started through your lower torso warehouse.

Stop, I may be horizontal, but I’m also naked with a lady.

Clothes are off, condom is on and sex is happening and all you can think about is how much longer you have to concentrate on squeezing your sphincter in order not to let one seep out. You give her your love face, your happy face, contorted into an oh don’t fucking fart you asshole face and she interprets it as a, I’m totally doing it for him, face.

A trip to the bathroom, some running water, relief. And maybe during round two of naked love wrestling your contorted face will actually have something to do with progressing towards orgasm and not holding in your embarrassment.

Kurt Cobain had IBS and heroin helped relieve his symptoms. A different solution for embarrassing moments before making love is to go in to the bathroom, not to let out your beer and pizza farts, but to do a quick spoon burn and shoot up.

Be warned, results may lead to a hefty drug addiction, jumping in bed with your naked partner and vomiting on her. Some people are into that. No matter the problem, there’s always the value of positive thinking and turning an embarrassing situation towards your favor.

Tyra Banks has IBS, so that gives me hope that there’s actually decent content to her talk show. Audio engineers ruin the only intelligent thing about the show with professional software filters: Tyra fart filter at 1:45, then segment 2, :30.

The queen of IBS is Janeane Garofalo. She’s the sexy, funny spokeswoman for our generation. I would love to get pizza and beer with her and just lie naked and fart. Bask in our fartiness. Compare the possibilities of what we ate the day before. I would eat a brick of butt stink cheese right before our date just to outdo her.

But wait, there’s more.

When do you fart in front of a woman? When does she fart in front of you? What happens after the first fart?

It takes intimacy to a whole new level. Years ago, I was married one month after she let the first one rip. I was “saving” myself for marriage and was a virgin until 25, so, like most things in life, I do them backwards. Farting first, sex later.

A fart can bring more meaning to a relationship than spending Christmas with her relatives. In another country. For a week.

A fart can be as committable as a ring on a finger. Or a baby in the womb.

Life lesson learned, never fart first, then sex, sex first, then fart. Yes, a fart is more intimate than sex.

There’s also the fine line that once farting occurs, the sex is over and you’re just friends. Or you’re ALL IN and start changing your relationship statuses on Facebook, iGoogle, MySpace, etc.

Bring matches and be careful kids, relationships and intimacy are serious stuff. They’re not anything to just blow out your ass.

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TONY DUSHANE lives in San Francisco. He's the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk, published by Soft Skull Press.

He hosts the radio show (www.drinkswithtony.com) and his column Bandwidth, appears every Thursday in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also has written for The Believer, Mother Jones, The Bold Italic and many other fine publications.

DuShane is a novel writing teacher at San Francisco Writers' College, his next class starts in January. Full details will be announced next week on www.tonydushane.com.

Upcoming readings:

November 17, 2010 - Space Gallery, San Francisco
December 8, 2010 - Bawdy Storytelling at Blue Macaw, San Francisco

He also likes taking long walks in his walk-in closet.

30 responses to “The Intimacy of the Fart”

  1. Irene Zion says:


    I just do not know what to say.
    Just don’t.

  2. Joe Daly says:

    So afraid to tread in these waters. I guess my “Baby Talk” piece sort of revealed my stance on the breaking of wind with the opposite sex, but I appreciate this lovely treatment of a rather thorny problem.

    I find that no matter who does it, don’t ask and don’t tell is the best response.

  3. Zara Potts says:

    Jesus. Now I know where I went wrong in my last relationship. Ten years – no farts. Not one. If only we’d let rip, who knows where we’d be.

  4. Uche Ogbuji says:

    The er rip-roaring date description had me in stitches. Nice. But Jesu O’Malley, does there have to be a syndrome for everything? Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Really? Whatever happened to the good old playground “Sir Farts a Lot”? Sheesh! I remember the old line from I think _What’s Bred in the Bone_, by Robertson Davies. The phisiological researcher who specializes in turd analysis was classifying his visitors into “athletic” “asthenic” and “pyknic”. He asked the chubby priest, in the presence of his college student crush “fart a lot, eh?” I don’t think I felt the priest’s mortification as much as the author intended (to the extent that it actually sticks out in my head).

    So that leads me to the overall juxtaposition of romance and flatulence, I’d expect on a first date you want your bowels to be on best behavior, just like the rest of you, but it shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 to kick into real-people-real-life mode, should it? And when you do get to that point, shouldn’t it all boil down to everyone does it, just some more than others, like, say, sweating?

  5. Simon Smithson says:

    And of course, there’s the problem of nocturnal flatus to be considered.

    That’s methane on stealth mode – there’s no way of detecting it, and therefore, no way of stopping it.

    “You give her your love face, your happy face, contorted into an oh don’t fucking fart you asshole face and she interprets it as a, I’m totally doing it for him, face.”

    Oh, God. Why, I don’t know, but so I read this line and then scrolled down to your gravatar.

    I don’t know why. I don’t know why.

  6. Since April is IBS Month, I’d like to heed a warning to my fellow TNBers. It comes from personal experience, an experience which took place roughly four months ago.

    I love hot tea. I drank about, if not more than, six mugs of hot tea every waking day. Here I was, four months ago, walking down the grocery store aisle. I stop in my favorite aisle. “What’s this?” I ask myself silently, “It looks as though a new selection of Bigelow tea.”

    There it is. Yellow box. So pretty. What great marketing. Two beautiful lemons are on the box. It’s called Bigelow Lemon Ginger Herb Plus Probiotics. I get home, brew a pot of tea. Drink this shit like liquid crack. Two cups. Damn good tea. Damn good. Best tea I’ve ever tasted.

    I up my intake of Bigelow Lemon Ginger Herb Plus Probiotics two about three mugs a day along with my other brands like Irish Breakfast Tea and good ole standard Green Tea. About two weeks in, I’m drinking about five mugs of this new Bigelow brand a day. Then my stomach starts hurting. It doubles me over. I’m in a cold sweat. I’m at work. I’m on the cold tile floor of the bathroom with my head at the toilet, the smell of dried Senior Management urine in my nostrils.

    I won’t go into details. I mean, no one wants to hear that. I’ll just say that for a solid week, this stuff is hitting me like three bowls of Go Lean cereal. Sure, on the box it said helps digestion. But after doing a little research, I realize that it’s very possible to go overboard with probiotics. And considering I also eat cottage cheese with probiotics and yogurt with probiotics, I was having a probiotics overdose. It was my first true experience to know what someone battling IBS feels like.

    So here’s to you sufferers of IBS the world over. Keep those ass cheeks clinched. We support you!

  7. aynne says:

    The horror..the horror

    Ok, Tony…
    Farts and getting one’s freak on should never overlap in a venn diagram.

    You’ve gone to far..
    Someone shut this blog down immediately 😉

  8. Becky says:

    I’ve been married for 7 years.

    At the risk of ruining any iota of perception anyone might have of me as a classy, composed feminine individual (HA!), I have to say that, that I, too, am somewhat fascinated with the politics of farting, particularly as it pertains to relationships. My husband plays no role whatsoever in my decision whether to fart or not. I have not farted, to the best of my knowledge, in any lovemaking situation, but in all other instances, it’s a free for all.

    It is not my fault; my husband established early that there would be no quarter granted to me as a result of my gender. Returning volley has been my only recourse. Without it, I’m just a victim.

    It could have something to do with the fact that we were roommates and best friends, not intimately involved, for a year before we started dating (just friends and not roommates 4 years prior to that). There was no real reason to try to impress at that time, and between us, as with most friends, farting was more of a device for humor and benign torture than an embarrassment of any sort. Once we were dating, changing the game would have seemed like a regression.

    What’s to say? Everyone farts. Of all the tiny fibs we may tell in a perfectly healthy relationship, this one seems the most pointless. I mean, it’s not like we can fool anyone into thinking we don’t fart; though if we’re torturing ourselves with trying, it might reveal insecurity, which can be its own turnoff.

    I say, given the options, be real. Let rip. At least, as Uche says, after a few dates. I mean, ladies, if you ever bear his children, he’s probably going to see you shit the bed anyway, so you might as well test his mettle right out of the gate.

      • Becky says:

        So far on TNB today (and it’s only 12:30) I have revealed that I have an unwaxed asshole and that I am an unapologetic-farter brand of wife.

        Sexy lady. Right here. Call me Aphrodite.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Clearly this is what Brad Listi envisioned when he imagined a site where writers and readers could aggregate and share an interest in literacy and their interesting life experiences.

        • Becky says:

          There is no doubt in my mind that Brad Listi endorses this conversation 110%.

          Were you around for the great wiping controversy of ’08? I think it was ’08.

          Yeah. He’s all strong-and-silent now, but he is out there, somewhere, smiling smugly into his gargantuan coffee mug.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I dunno if I remember the wiping conversation. However, you made me remember this fine piece of MySpace artistry.

          Yes, I’m linking to my own work but I think you’ll find this funny.

        • Becky says:

          Well, it was less of a conversation and more of a whole post. Written by The Oz himself.

          About the proper way to wipe one’s ass.

          I mean, there were others. I’m not going to get into it, but toilet humor is built-in to this whole experiment. Which is part of the reason I, as a discriminating intellectual, am still hanging around.

          If I wanted to hang out with Snobby McBottomtooth and the Pretentious Perturbations, there are plenty of places like that.

          But TNB is special. Special. No really. It is.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Well, as I pointed out in that blog, the only way to properly to wipe is to use a moist wipe product. Anything less is uncivilized.

        • reno the talking asshole says:

          becky! you are too fucking much! ha! an unwaxed asshole! lord have mercy. thanks, becky. ha again! if you were in front of me i’d ask the enemy if i could hug you. carry on, sister. for the LOVE of god puleez carry on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


        • Tony DuShane says:

          hey richard,
          i checked your link. very funny.

        • Becky says:

          Reno, your validation is all I need. And I would totally hug you.

          If The Enemy gets uppity, war ensues, and when war happens, I win.

          He is too smart to bet against the odds.

        • reno says:


          you got it. keep up hysterical, ballsy chat like that and you will always have a fan in me. unwaxed asshole. shit. tell the enemy i’m tame. perhaps even a borderline bore. hey: can’t have it all. take care, sis.


  9. reno says:


    ha. love it. great examination of the ever present asshole. now, i do have a reputation for being a wild fucker, but when it comes to farts i’m quite reserved. never farted in front of my ex-wife, assorted girlfriends, etc. just can’t. i leave the room and fire away. but farts themselves tickle me. i have a boss that farts constantly. he walks and farts. talks and farts. cooks and farts. i agree w/ you about janeane. she’s cute. and if i had too many beers in me i may fart in her hand. thanks for the laugh, sir.

  10. Richard Cox says:

    This is hilarious. It is interesting to note that the situations that lower our defenses and make it more likely to have sex–like drinking, dinner, dancing, being horizontal–all increase the chances of intestinal distress. Just another example of how the guy who runs the show likes to amuse himself at our expense.

  11. I ain’t admittin’ to nothin’!

  12. Erika Rae says:

    I love that bit on Heroes, Season 1. It’s where the invisible man (Claude Rains) is trying to convince Peter Petrelli that people are all horrible.

    “I spend a lot of time moving around people’s homes, their bedrooms. You get to know people if you see them when they think they’re alone. You see them for what they truly are: selfish, deceitful, and gassy.”

  13. Simone says:

    Loved these:

    1) “You give her your love face, your happy face, contorted into an oh don’t fucking fart you asshole face and she interprets it as a, I’m totally doing it for him, face.”

    2)”I would love to get pizza and beer with her and just lie naked and fart. Bask in our fartiness. Compare the possibilities of what we ate the day before. I would eat a brick of butt stink cheese right before our date just to outdo her.”

    Damn, Tony, you’re bloody funny!

    Great post.

  14. I don’t know why, but I can’t think of a single friend (or girlfriend) I’ve had who’s been shy about farting… On contrary, everyone I’ve ever known has found farts very amusing.

    Which makes me wonder about myself… Do I seek out farters? When I find a girl who isn’t afraid to laugh at a fart, does that say something weird about me?

    Farting is funny. Period.

  15. hilarious, tony, yet i believe it might be awhile before i am able to burn the images of your confessions from my mind. I’ve got to admit that I do look forward to seeing you on a date. I might laugh. If she asks, can I tell?!

    i love this:

    “It takes intimacy to a whole new level. Years ago, I was married one month after she let the first one rip. I was “saving” myself for marriage and was a virgin until 25, so, like most things in life, I do them backwards. Farting first, sex later.”

    it’s endearing. sort of. i know nature will do its thang, regardless of best efforts. Am I a prude to find it more romantic to communicate intimately (and unscented) from a different orifice?

    until soon, i’m sure … 🙂

  16. Irene Zion says:

    So, Tony?
    How about you talk about singing, or humming next time.
    Or tap dancing…tap dancing would be a great topic for you!
    Just a suggestion to counter the bit of discomfort you engendered in me this time….

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