Is silent farting a skill everyone can pick up?
August 3, 2017 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm curious. I am pretty good at farting without making any noise whatsoever, but I hear that this is not a skill that everyone possesses. Since my technique involves routing the nascent fart through labial folds, are the possession and configuration of those necessary to silence the release of air? Or are there are other ways to achieve the same objective? Enlighten me!
posted by sciatrix to Health & Fitness (38 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a fella without the same folds and I have the ability to fart silently. A little pull on the left butt check opens things up just enough for silent passage. The wallet in my back pocket gives super stealthy coverage to what I'm doing.
posted by notorious medium at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2017

Yeah, I think it's a skill one can learn, but I'd imagine there's folks out there whose anatomy makes it difficult for whatever reason. Kind of like how not everyone can whistle or snap their fingers, no matter how hard they try.

I never really thought about how it's done, and I don't currently have one locked and loaded to test with*, but I think you gotta clench up so your sphincter doesn't flap like the nozzle of a balloon.

*but give me, like, six minutes.
posted by bondcliff at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

I cannot imagine how I would have to squirm and wiggle to get a fart to go along that path. Perhaps a workout video is needed?
posted by happyturtle at 10:56 AM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Farting silently is fairly straightforward if you can open up your butt cheeks. In many positions or body configurations this may not be easily possible.

I also sometimes rock backwards instead of forwards and route the gas through labial folds, but definitely prefer to route what I will heretofore refer to as "farticles" ("fart particles") not through that region.

I think people could learn it but are also likely not socialized to do so in many cases. My husband thinks loud farts are terribly funny and insists his farts smell like roses (perhaps dead, rotting ones...), so he's never had much motive to learn how to fart silently as far as I can tell.
posted by bookdragoness at 10:57 AM on August 3, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'd say 80% of the time I can make it silent, but 20% of the time, even when I'd prefer not to, I'll make noise. I'm a woman. My silent farts mostly go out the back and sometimes out the front; I am not in conscious control of this and prefer when they go out the back, sensation-wise.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:59 AM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Data point: when I had bottom surgery about a year ago, whatever technique I'd been using to silence farts stopped working reliably.

I'd seriously just never thought about the anatomical specifics, so I can't tell you what it was that I was doing before. But apparently the way I used to muffle them as a penis-having person is different from the way I'd need to as a labia-having person.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:03 AM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

Also, don't push, just let them flow out like a stealthy cloud.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:07 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Butt hair helps.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:14 AM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

BREAKING NEWS: Husband has just replied "Yes, of course I can" when I asked if he could fart silently in, say, a quiet important work meeting.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:20 AM on August 3, 2017 [9 favorites]

A little pull on the left butt check opens things up just enough for silent passage.

AKA: The One Cheek Sneak.
posted by procrastination at 11:21 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's definitely primarily about eliminating bottlenecks and pressure buildups, yeah. Other than e.g. digestive gurgles, all the sounds involved are created by air moving through high-pressure zones of one sort of another. So, like folks have said: torquing a butt cheek to avoid cheek-to-cheek raspberries. And lifting off a flat or formfitting seating surface to avoid creating squeaks. Controlling speed to whatever degree is doable.

Squeaking a balloon by stretching the mouth of it to a thin double-reed membrane is basically the mechanical and philosophical opposite of trying to hush up a fart. Don't be the balloon.
posted by cortex at 11:28 AM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd say the noise is unrelated to the routing, noise is generated trumpet-like at point of exit. I've had very loud farts go in the forward direction (of my female anatomy) and silent ones to the rear, as well as the reverse.
posted by aimedwander at 11:35 AM on August 3, 2017

The real trick is Ventrillofarting. It involves a discreet lean to the left or right followed by vigorous pointing at the person next to you.
posted by mygoditsbob at 11:40 AM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

This reminds me of a story, a true story. In my 7th grade algebra class one day, I let out the loudest fart ever. I was sitting in the row of desks by the window and everyone looked in that direction. Without hesitation, I said out loud, "Jack! Eww!." Jack was sitting right in front of me. Since I was such a good kid and never made trouble, everyone believed me, even as Jack protested. To this day, everyone thinks that Jack did it. This has become one of my family's best stories, now that we have two little farters.

So, mygoditsbob, ventrillofarting can be done, especially when you are the most angelic kid in the class.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

I apologize if this is a threadcrap (OK, I'll show myself out the door), but I can't help but wonder: Is silence the only goal here? Because we all know a silent fart can still knock a buzzard off a shitwagon.

F'rinstance, you lean forward and to the left a little on your padded chair, and coax that little rascal gently down and out of the Flume, but it turns out to be one of those super-hot Foomps (or a dreaded Squincher), and, even though it was silent, it is sure to get at least one of your nearby colleagues to Prairie Dog when it wafts its merry way from under your desk to so many unprepared nostrils, and you break into a cold sweat as you try to get out of the cube farm without anyone noticing.

So, one may express oneself silently, but one may not ever stanch the stench, correct?
posted by the matching mole at 12:09 PM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

The matching mole, my husband referred to those as SBDs... silent, but deadly.
posted by kate4914 at 12:11 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Apparently Chilon of Sparta was already teaching this in the 6th century BC:

According to an inscription at the Bath of the Seven Sages in Ostia "cunning Chilon taught to fart silently.".
posted by mahershalal at 12:22 PM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm crying with laughter at this thread. I feel I should contribute something but can only say, it depends also on the current state of your pelvic floor, and at least in my case it's much harder when I've recently had the relevant region waxed.
posted by potrzebie at 12:41 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

My lovely, professional oldest daughter, while she was in high school, had mastered sneaking out a silent poot, and would immediately turn to the nearest male, and hiss "That's disgusting" while glaring at him. It worked every time. And still does.
posted by LaBellaStella at 12:48 PM on August 3, 2017 [11 favorites]

Like piano playing, it's a matter of early training, and a healthy diet.
posted by Namlit at 1:10 PM on August 3, 2017

The silent fart, like the gleek, is something that I manage to do sometimes by luck, but cannot do with perfect reliability on demand. For a reliably-silent, no-effort fart, however, there are indeed "other ways to obtain the same objective". There exists a technological solution: my creation, The Fart Muffler, heretofore known only to my closest friends and intimates.

The Fart Muffler is a cotton ball between your butt cheeks, placed as close to the pressure-release aperture as you like, preferably after a shower/bidet. It is more comfortable than thong underwear, and in my experience does not slip or shift in the course of day-to-day activities.

A pre-placement dab of pleasantly-scented essential oils can also make The Fart Muffler into a scent transducer, although not an eliminator. Sharp scents like citrus or mint are the best transducers, but they also yield a sharp sensation on the delicate skin around the pressure-release aperture.

Have you muffled today?
posted by xueexueg at 3:01 PM on August 3, 2017 [7 favorites]

I learn so much from these threads. I for one would never fart in a meeting unless I had an obvious patsy ready to blame; I might have a fairly decent chance of making it silent, but not 100%.

I offer you this (Victorian?) poem to illustrate that some truths spring eternal:

I sat next to the duchess at tea;
it was just as I feared it would be --
her rumblings abdominal
were simply phenomenal
and everyone thought it was me!
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:47 PM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Upon cursory analysis, I think there are two potential noise-generating apparati: The pressure-release point, which operates like the balloon in cortex's analogy, and the buttocks which may flap together like the hands of an appreciative audience. I think the trick in the case of the first is patience, and in the case of the second silence is achieved by separation or muffling.

I knew the labial routing was a thing (I think Dan Savage had something about it). I find it so disturbing that since I learned of it I only reluctantly and rarely participate in activities that put my face in proximity to that region.

I refer to padded chairs of the type mentioned by the matching mole as "500 gigabytes of archived farts."

I don't want to know how Namlit plans to get to Carnegie Hall.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:01 PM on August 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm not particularly skilled at this, so I asked a similar question previously.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:20 PM on August 3, 2017

I am completely fascinated that there are people confident enough in their muffling ability to fart in situations in which they otherwise would not fart. I mean, the digestive system is unpredictable!

Also, my upper middle-class (mid-Atlantic) grandmother (actually Babcia) was shocked, SHOCKED, when my upper middle-class (mid-west) mother said the word "fart" at some point in the 1960s, when my parents were dating or early married. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ if she had actually, you know, farted in front of her.
posted by Pax at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: Don't be the balloon.
posted by genehack at 8:24 PM on August 3, 2017

Rerouting mine in that matter make the noise worse, not better.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:54 AM on August 6, 2017

Despite possessing what I have never referred to as labial folds, I have never used them to deliberately reroute a fart (though have experienced the occasional accidental rerouting which I find an oddly ensquickening sensation.) I keep them quiet by a gentle shifting in the seat allowing for a subtle lift of cheek. I have full confidence in my ability to fart silently to the extent that I would totally risk it in meetings, were it not for the fact that my vegetarian pulse-rich diet renders some of them SBD and I don't have the acting skills to pull off a ventrillofart. I fart constantly around my partner though, and he never notices it.

He, on the other hand, farts in a loud, trumpety, comedy fashion in that they are both loud and weirdly long, and he will sometimes look me in the eye with a sheepish expression as an invisible man slowly deflates a whoopee cushion in the region of his butt. Other times I hear said man at work in a completely different room of the house. I just silently handed him my phone to show him this thread. He looked at it and silently handed it back. His expression suggested he was not of a mind to learn this particular skill.
posted by billiebee at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2017 [12 favorites]

One of my high school teachers was the first to tell me about this skill. He said it was an imperative skill for teachers--he could fart as he moved around the classroom, walk away, and the students would blame it on each other. Once I knew it was a learnable skill I worked to acquire it. It's just become a way of life and now I rarely make a sound. And I fart everywhere. (I rarely push it foreword--mostly it's just about sphincter control.)
posted by wallaby at 1:08 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

The idea of a fart-bubble trapped and rolling around in my labial folds is making me feel kind of ooky, to tell the truth.

As far as fart noise, for me it depends on the type of gas. The low pressure kind generally ease out quietly. Not silent but you'd only hear it if the room was dead still. Then there are the chickpea farts. These farts are high-pressure, painful trapped gas, and they make a noise like an elephant's trumpet upon exit. Long, loud and embarrassing, even with a well-timed flush to cover the sound.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:14 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have not been able to master this skill and I think it maybe be anatomical. If you pulled both my buttcheeks apart I believe it would sound just as loud and wet as with them together.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:29 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I should remind readers of what (according to David Sedaris) cabin crew refer to as "crop dusting", which is walking up and down the cabin spraying farts safe in the knowledge that the noise of the aircraft drowns out the noise and makes them anonymous.
posted by Major Tom at 4:20 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

The matching mole, my husband referred to those as SBDs... silent, but deadly.

"Silent but violent" was the phrase we preferred in my schooldays. The other kind were described as "loud and proud".

Yesterday, I posted a short poem online about this very subject. Scroll down here: "Mushy Peas for Ninja Stealth Farts".
posted by Paul Slade at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

To this day, everyone thinks that Jack did it.

Jesus. I have a strikingly similar story from middle school, except I didn't even bother with the "Jack! [In my case, it was 'Tony!'] Ew!" With everyone in the class trying to figure out who'd ripped the loud one, I just looked around innocently. Didn't have to do anything else, and the blame drifted naturally onto poor Tony. The angelic reputation does go a LONG way.

(Despite this slip on my part, my mother and I have long maintained that it's possible to hold a fart in, if not to squeak it out silently, as needed for etiquette purposes. My father completely disagrees with this and had a lengthy history of audibly and cheerfully farting in business meetings.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2017

I've had the labial-fold farts happen by accident on occasion. It's always startling and kind of gross.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:11 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

where is barchan in these troubled times
posted by en forme de poire at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

As Johnny Wallflower commented once, I'm out there Keepin' It Classy and flummoxed at the idea of trying to re-route my farts through my labial folds but also keen on trying it.
posted by barchan at 8:08 PM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the book the Memoirs of Hadrian his doctor strongly recommends not holding back farts.
posted by xammerboy at 12:54 PM on August 29, 2017

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