Well, it’s official: cotton vagina has been debunked. Phew! Now that we know that we can all go back to our weed smoking ways without the fear that it’s making our vaginas a dry, desert plane where now wetness can be conceived. Can you feel the wave of relief as it echoes across the globe? I know I can. According to OB-GYN Tami Rowen, cotton vagina can’t be a thing because what provides the wetness in our vag and the saliva in our mouth aren’t even remotely connected. As she told the DailyDot:
“The reason that people have cotton mouth is because there is a cannabinoid receptor in the salivary gland in the mouth. So it decreases the amount of saliva produced in the mouth.”
And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that your salivary glands in your mouth aren’t exactly close to your vagina. Still, the scare was real for a few months there, and I imagine some women wondered, “Is getting high worth cotton vagina?” I also imagine many answered, “Yes.”
While research has yet to debunk "weed dick," we can take solace in the fact that our vaginas are in the clear, at least in regards to smoking pot. However, while that may be the case, there are still other things that can cause vaginal dryness.
1. Birth Control Pills
Some women can experience vaginal dryness because of the Pill. Although it can pass as their body becomes more accustomed to whatever pill they've been put on, for some women it can last and it’s not fun.
If you find that your birth control pill is making you feel dry down there or since you’ve been on it sex has been painful due to dryness, talk to your doctor about trying a different brand.
As much as antidepressants might be great for keeping us mentally balanced, when it comes to our sex lives they can really mess things up. Studies have found that 30 to 70 percent of those who take antidepressants experience some form of sexual problems. For women, that can mean not just a decrease in your libido, but even vaginal dryness, too.
Similarly to the Pill, this isn’t the case in all antidepressants, but if it is something you’re experiencing, it might be worth looking into another medication that may not cause that particular side effect.
3. Allergy And Cold Medication
If your favorite allergy or cold medication contains decongestants or antihistamine, then you’re looking at a possible culprit for vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, decongestants or antihistamines zap the moisture from your body, and this means your vagina, too.
4. Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes is literally the worst thing you can do to your body. Between causing cancer, heart disease, destroying your teeth, and making you stink like an ashtray at all times, smoking also causes vaginal dryness. Why? Because it decreases estrogen levels in the body, and you need that estrogen for proper vaginal lubrication.
While for many of us menopause may still be decades away, there are those women who experience what is called premature menopause. Premature menopause means menopause that occurs before the age of 40, and yes, that even means that some women in their 20s can get it, too.
While the idea of not having to deal with your period ever again might sound great, with menopause comes a lot of annoying side effects no one wants. Not only can you kiss your days of having a baby goodbye, but your sex drive drops, you experience hot flashes, and yep, vaginal dryness, too. The reason for all this is because menopause causes estrogen levels to plummet and basically your body goes nuts.
6. Too Much Drinking
If you’ve ever tried to have sex after drinking too much, you already know it’s a disaster. On one hand you have a man who’s probably having a hard time getting it up, and on the other hand, you’re lying there with a very dry vagina. Alcohol dehydrates the hell out of you (hence those nasty hangovers), so of course your vagina is going to suffer from that lack of moisture, too.
7. Stress And Anxiety
Because sex, especially for women, is very much connected to our emotional state, if we’re not completely at ease in our brain then our vagina won’t be at ease either. Stress, anxiety, sadness, and body insecurities can all play a hand in a decreased libido and vaginal dryness.
8. Not Being Sufficiently Aroused
Although not all women get sopping wet when they’re aroused, it is worth noting that if you have sex and it hurts because you’re too dry down there, then it can mean that you just need a bit more time to reach arousal. It can take a woman up to 20 to 25 minutes to be fully aroused. That’s important to consider if you jump into sex, without proper foreplay, and it doesn’t feel so great.
9. Medical Issues
Autoimmune disorders like Sjögren's syndrome can interfere with the body’s ability to produce moisture, and things like heart disease and chemotherapy for cancer can lower estrogen levels that can also lead to vaginal dryness. Breastfeeding, too, can affect estrogen and therefore lead to vaginal dryness as well.
Takeaway? Also having lube on hand is a great idea and the best way to avoid discomfort during sex.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy(10)