What is sex without lubrication? A pain, especially for many women or people with vaginas.
According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, “For women, vaginal lubrication is an important part of sexual arousal. It readies the vagina for penetration, making it easier for the manhood to enter and reducing any accompanying friction or irritation. Pain during intercourse is often caused by inadequate lubrication.”
This is why being wet matters when having sex.
HOW IT HAPPENS
Your body produces its own lubrication when sexually aroused. This is mainly due to the increase in blood to the vulva during the sexual excitement phase, but “small glands known as Bartholin’s glands, which are located around the vaginal opening, also secrete mucus during arousal.
Stimulating the sensitive nerves located in the vagina and surrounding tissue also causes lubrication,” explains Sex Info Online, a journal that’s dedicated to all things sexual.
WHEN THERE ISN’T ENOUGH
Even though our bodies should automatically produce lubrication when aroused, that’s not always the case.
Sex Info further explains that there are physical and mental factors that play a role in how wet, or dry, a women gets during sex.
“For females, sexual unresponsiveness is often tied to psychological issues.”
These include fear, nervousness and guilt. Women who’ve experienced sexual trauma can also be prone to being dry. Other factors include tension and conflict between partners, making either of them sexually unresponsive. Often, the most common reason for vaginal dryness is lower oestrogen, says gynaecologist Michele Godorecci.
“When oestrogen decreases, and blood flow is not as robust as it once was, cells shrink, the vagina sometimes shrinks, and dryness occurs,” she says.
OTHER WAYS TO GET THERE
There are three types of lubricating products you can use to help your body get there – oil-based, water-based and silicon-based. O
Oil based lubricants do not work with condoms, while silicone-based products cannot be used with sex toys made from silicone. Because they’re comparable with latex condoms, water-based lubricating products are considered the best choice. Dr Michele adds that sometimes, the problem can be solved with drinking a lot of water.
“Your body needs water in order to produce its lubricating secretions – think tears, sweat, saliva, and, yes, vaginal fluid. Water intake is crucial for the functioning of any organ system in our bodies. Certainly, this doesn’t exclude the vagina,” she says.
Our bodies produce less oestrogen as we age, causing the vagina to shrink. This is when the walls of the vaginal become thin, dry or inflamed.
“While it may initially be uncomfortable to raise the issue of vaginal dryness with your doctor, it’s a conversation well worth having. You’re not alone and you don’t have to settle for discomfort or a disrupted sex life,” Dr Michele advises.