In this week's Sex IDK column, Emma McGowan, certified sex educator and writer, answers your questions about vaginal dryness.
Q: I don’t get super wet during sex and my partner thinks I'm not turned on by them. Solutions?
People with vaginas generally need things to be pretty wet down there to enjoy sex fully. And, luckily, vaginas produce lubrication specifically for that purpose! But if your body isn’t making as much lubrication as you — or your partner — would like, there are a few things that could be causing it.
But before we get into those, I’d like to address the “super wet” part of your question. What does that mean, exactly? Vaginal wetness is such a subjective thing, different from person to person and even from sexual encounter to sexual encounter. While one person may need rubber sheets every time they get turned on, another might need a little extra help from a high-quality lubricant. And each of those people could be just as turned on as the other.
So, the very first thing I’d challenge you and your partner to do is discuss what “super wet” means for you. Maybe your partner had a previous partner who was a rubber-sheets type, and you’re more of a bottle-of-lube-by-the-bed type. Or maybe your body is producing enough lubrication for you to enjoy sex, but it’s not “enough” for your partner to feel good about themself. If the latter is the case, then a conversation about how you find your partner sexy and you feel so turned on when you’re with them, but this is just how your body works might be the solution you need.
However, if lubrication isn’t working for you either, then there are a few possible causes. One: You aren’t turned on enough. I know, I know — that’s a hard one to get over. You care about your partner! You want to make them happy! But our partners can need explicit guidance on how to please us.
If you’re not getting “super wet” and it’s because you aren’t that turned on, then I’d recommend showing your partner how to get you there. Masturbate in front of them so they can see what works for your body. Talk about sexual fantasies. Direct their hands and mouth and whatever body parts are involved so that they know where to go.
Being this direct and open and honest about sex can be scary at first, so it’s helpful to keep in mind that our partners often really want to please us and are grateful for the help. It sounds like your partner, Reader, is invested in your arousal (which is great!) but just might need a little guidance.
The second possible culprit is medication. The two most common medications that can cause vaginal dryness are antidepressants (SSRIs) and hormonal birth control. If you’re on either type of medication, that could be affecting your natural lubrication.
Another possibility is that you might be making lifestyle choices that are affecting your lubrication. Dehydration, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking can all lead to a dryer-than-desired vagina and vulva. Up your water intake, put down the cigs, and cut back on booze, and you might see a difference in the bedroom.
Thankfully, there’s a straightforward solution, regardless of the cause: Lube. There are so many body-safe personal lubrication brands out there these days that there’s no excuse for not giving one a shot. Just remember: If you’re using condoms, don’t use oil lube, as they can degrade them. Don’t use silicone lube with silicone toys for the same reason. I’d recommend a solid water-based lube like Jelly from Unbound. It will give you a nice slippery feel, and you don’t have to worry about it interacting with any toys or prophylactics.