When David was on a fifth date with someone he met on Hinge, he made the mistake of ordering a pasta dish with a heavy cream sauce — even though he “doesn’t always do well with dairy.” Later on that night, when they were hooking up, a small fart slipped out. They laughed it off in the moment, but David is still worried about the lasting impact it could have.
“I was so embarrassed,” he tells me. “It felt like a boyfriend thing to do, and I’m not there yet.”
Medical professionals agree that farting is a sign of a healthy gut and digestive system, but whether or not it’s a sign of a healthy relationship is still up for debate. It’s not exactly the same as saying “I love you,” but for many people, farting in front of each other is a sign of true emotional intimacy — an unflattering romantic rite of passage, akin to getting food poisoning from the same restaurant.
Need evidence? Just look at the many tweets from people boasting about farting on their partners or the numerous articles on how couples who fart together, stay together. As one redditor puts it, “A warm air pocket of love is the best gift you can give your wife.”
Like many other norms, pop culture probably has a lot to do with reinforcing how farts became linked with romantic relationships, even in TV shows or movies where they’re presented in a way to create (or release) dramatic tension. In a famous Sex and the City scene, when Carrie farts in front of Mr. Big for the first time, he reacts how a lot of guys would — not loving or fetishizing it, but seeming mildly amused. Despite his mostly positive reaction, Carrie spends the rest of the episode imploding and blaming the fart on the dry spell in their increasingly comfortable relationship.
And now TikTok is picking up where sitcoms and movies have left off, with women posting about their significant others farting them awake like some kind of malodorous alarm clock. Of course, this isn’t showing farting in relationships in the most positive light, but it still sure is intimate.
So intimate, in fact, that many couples disagree about when it’s too soon to let one slip. A survey from eHarmony found that most couples wait an average of six months before passing gas in front of one another, whereas younger couples (the sub 24 set) are more likely to let it rip by the three-month mark. (Kids these days!)
David’s relationship hasn’t crossed that time threshold yet, so he’s hoping she doesn’t read too much into his inadvertent air biscuit. Nor is he rushing into letting a second one fly anytime soon. “We’re still hanging out, figuring things out,” he says. “I’m just going to be more careful with what I eat around her from now on.”