Getting wet is not only an essential part of sex— it's also one of the most fun. Cis women all know (and feel) when it's happening, but most of us don't know very much about what's actually going on downstairs. But if you've ever wondered "Why do I get wet when I'm turned on?" then it's time to take a closer look at anatomy. (Not in a "holding a hand mirror in the bathroom" way, but feel free to give that a go!) Plus, we're all different. How can we help the process along if we're more on the dry side, or naturally produce a lot of fluid? Here's a crash course on vaginal lubrication.
OK, so we all know when we're getting wet, and we certainly know when we're not. But what is actually happening when things get slick down there? Vaginal lubrication is triggered by the blood that flows toward the genitals during arousal. The fluid itself comes from the Bartholin's gland, located in between the vagina and vulva. It's different from the vaginal discharge that's a normal part of your cycle — but you've probably noticed this, because it's a lot slipperier and spreads more easily. The qualities of the fluid vary hugely from person to person, and with each person, it can change based of their hormones, emotions — their day, really. We'll look more at that later.
What Causes Lubrication?
Vaginal lubrication happens when you're aroused. That's not rocket science. But the important thing is that lubrication is linked to how often and how long you're aroused. So if you're easily excited, or frequently think about sex to the point of becoming a little turned on, you'll probably be naturally more wet. If you don't get excited as often or as easily, you may just have to spend a little time in the foreplay stage to get there. More foreplay is always better foreplay.
First, let me say there's no right amount of wetness to get. It's easy to get self-conscious about this, and I've certainly asked a partner if they thought my wetness was normal. But the truth is that there is no normal. Some women never produce much natural lubrication and need to use synthetic lube, while others can produce so much that it can actually reduce sensation. It's a huge range, and wherever you fall is fine. It varies depending on your hormone levels — especially Estrogen — and even things like your mood. There are lots of ways to help us get more aroused and lubricated, but for the most part, we have to work with whatever our body's predisposition is.
Need A Little Help?
If you're naturally on the drier side, you can try more foreplay, as mentioned above. Especially keep in mind to pay more attention to the clitoris, because that is like a little blood magnet. And you can always use synthetic lube. There are lots of different types, and it adds fun to all types of sex, so give it a try and see what works for you. Just please remember that if you are using condoms, do not use any lube with a petroleum base, because it can eat away at the latex and cause breakages. You can also try a vaginal moisturizer, which is especially popular during menopause, as the hormone changes often cause dryness.
If you find yourself getting wet easily, then you may notice that there's not as much friction as you'd like, and you don't feel as much. Not to worry — try using a non-lubricated condom to get some of that friction back. If you're having hetero sex, you may also find it helpful to stick to positions where his penis is less likely to slip out and ruin the momentum.
Interesting side note: Studies seem to show that men only show the physical side of arousal — increased blood flow to the genitals — when they look at something that they mentally are attracted to. So straight men will have increased blood flow watching straight porn, while gay men respond to gay porn, but not straight porn. But one study showed women to be way more sensitive, having increased blood flow not just when watching porn they identified with, but also sexual images that they were mentally not turned on by, including masturbating female bonobos. MASTURBATING MONKEYS. I'm sorry I've ruined all of your future zoo trips, but I just had to share.
Now go forth, and be sure to get absolutely soaking ...
Image: Giphy (2)
FYI, Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which were added independently from Bustle's sales and editorial departments after publication.