Self-lubrication for a lot of women is a hit or miss. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to get wet, it just doesn't happen—which really is a damn shame because it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having good sex.
And even though your body literally has a built-in lubrication system right there, you can’t just will yourself to get wet. But luckily, there *are* some steps to take that could increase your natural wetness. Here's what the pros suggest trying if you're eager to end your dry spell:
1. Stop stressing.
First of all, getting wet is often touted as a sign of arousal, but Astroglide resident sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD, says it's important to remember "a wetter reaction is not necessarily a sign of a greater desire." On that same note, dryness doesn't always mean there's a lack of interest.
"This is because our body’s physiological reactions to sexual desire and arousal do not always align with our lived experience, and that’s okay," says O'Reilly. The more you stress, the less likely you are to feel that wet arousal, so instead of worrying about self-lubrication, try to put it out of your mind.
2. Use lube.
While natural lubrication isn't necessarily a sign of missing arousal, moisture is important when having sex. Not only does lube make sex feel better, but it actually makes it safer. "Sex can cause too much friction, which may cause small skin tears, cuts, or irritation that can make infections more likely," explains chief medical officer of The Pill Club, Amy Roskin, PhD.
If safety and just feeling good isn't enough to get you on the lube train, Dr. Jess explains it can actually help increase natural lubrication. "Some people find that using lube helps them to relax and produce their own bodily lubrication as it reduces the pressure to get wet," she explains." Apply lube before hopping into bed and enjoy the sensation of being wet even before you’re aroused (and of course, applying lube can lead to arousal)."
3. Take your time.
Various studies have shown that it takes people with vaginas anywhere from 10-45 minutes to get fully aroused, aka what happens when blood has flowed to all parts of the vulva, explains Lovers sexpert Vanessa Geffrard. “Surveys have also shown that couples in the US are having sex anywhere between 5.4 to 19 minutes,” she explains, which means most people aren’t giving enough time to get fully aroused or engaged in foreplay.
“We like to think our bodies are like on and off switches,” says sex and relationship coach Azaria Menezes, “but we are much more complex than that.” This one is easily fixable though: Just make sure to slow down, don’t rush, really give yourself the full 45 minutes or longer to let yourself become aroused.
4. Pick the perfect position.
Some positions not only feel better than others, but can actually lead to more lubrication production. First, by having sex in a way that feels comfortable to you, you'll be more confident, related, and comfortable, which will naturally help your body get aroused, explains Dr. Mohanty. Additionally, some penetrative positions can actually increase lubrication because they're hitting the deep spots of the clitoris. Try the coital alignment technique to see if it creates a ~juicy~ response.
5. Drink more water.
Something as simple as dehydration could be leading to vaginal dryness, Menezes says. Seriously! Since our cells are composed of mostly water, poor water intake causes a myriad of detrimental effects on the body, which can include vaginal dryness, explains Amy Gueye-Weinstein, MD.
This one is also easily fixable though: Dr. Gueye-Weinstein says if you work to consistently stay hydrated (aka drinking around 2.7 liters of water a day, per Mayo Clinic standards), and if dehydration is the only source for your vaginal dryness, you should see improvements in as little as three days. Talk about some v instant gratification for a major lifestyle change.
6. Eat more fruits and veggies.
While you're chugging some H2O, consider adding more fresh produce to your diet as well. "Fruits with high content in water, like strawberries and pineapples, help with your natural lube," Calmerry mental health therapist Diamond Marie previously told Cosmopolitan.
7. Talk to your doc.
If your vaginal dryness often occurs with unusual dryness in other areas of your body such as eyes and mouth, you should consider consulting a doctor, as these could be signs of Sjögren's (pronounced like “SHOW-grins”) syndrome, says Ashley Harris, a sex and relationship coach at BeyondAges. This condition affects dryness along all the mucous membranes, says Dr. Gueye-Weinstein, and can affect both young and older people with vaginas alike.
Sjorgen’s is the most common autoimmune disorder after rheumatoid arthritis, but Dr. Gueye-Weinstein explains, it’s still considered a rare condition. Of course, Dr. Gueye-Weinstein adds, it is always a smart move to have a doctor evaluate you if your vaginal dryness is concerning to you.
8. Check your meds.
Allergy, cold medications with antihistamines, and even some asthma medications can cause vaginal dryness. Try switching to more natural remedies or talk to your doctor about other options.
9. And your anti-depressants.
Not only do SSRIs interfere with libido, but they can also impact vaginal lubrication, explains chief medical officer for BodyLogicMD, Jennifer Landa, MD. Talk to your psychiatrist about switching to a different medication until you find one that works best for your mental health and your sexual health.
10. Stop smoking.
Aging, smoking, and other factors that can cause blockage of the arteries could block small arteries in the vaginal area and reduce moisture there, Dr. Landa explains. “The main reason we get wet to begin with is that when the blood vessels in the vaginal area get engorged (like an erection in a man), the higher blood pressure in the blood vessels causes serum to leak across the blood vessels and the mucous membranes of the vagina leading to more moisture,” says Dr. Landa.
11. Balance out your hormones.
One of the most common reasons for a dry vag is a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause, perimenopause, after childbirth, or during breastfeeding, but cancer treatments like chemotherapy and pelvic radiation can also lead to low estrogen and a decrease in vaginal lubrication. Chat with your doc if you're going through any of the above or are just wondering if you have a hormone imbalance that's drying things up.
12. Connect with your body.
Clinical sexologist Kristie Overstreet, PhD, says if you simply go through the motions of sex and don’t enjoy the moment, this could be also a factor. “If you are disconnected from your body and the present moment, you aren't allowing your body to fully be aroused. This arousal is what gets the fluids pumping.”
To tap into your body more fully, Overstreet recommends practicing mindfulness and breathing exercises to connect with your body and stay in the moment. The more in tune you are with your body, the more you can relax and allow yourself to be turned on.
13. Get rid of the shame.
Overstreet says if you struggle with feeling guilty or dirty about having sex, this can also keep your body from getting wet. “Whether you have felt this way since you were a child or as an adult, it's important that you work through these. If your mind is telling you that what you’re doing is wrong, your body will listen to it.”
Overstreet says it’s important to explore any negative or guilty feelings you have about sex, and work to change your irrational thoughts into rational ones. Try seeing a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. “When your thoughts and beliefs about sex are healthy and accepting, your body will respond favorably.”
14. Communicate with your partner.
Sometimes vaginal dryness is just caused by having a low sex drive or having issues with your sexual partner. If they're not doing what they should be doing or they are and it's just not working for you, you're not going to be as wet as you would be if you were really attracted to someone who was spinning your clit in circles like a plate on a stick.
15. Switch your soap.
Some people are allergic to chemicals in soaps, detergents, hygiene products, dyes, and perfumes, which could be on your underwear or towels, and that could cause dryness or irritation, which often go hand in hand. Even some lubes if they're not right for you can cause dryness, so try switching to natural detergents or a different, more natural lube.
16. And def don't douche.
In addition to keeping your cleaning routine casual, NYU professor of human sexuality and Lelo sexpert Zhana Vrangalova, PhD previously told Cosmopolitan there's zero need for vaginal douching. Douching alters the pH of the vagina which can make it more susceptible to infection and decreased lubrication (since it literally flushes everything out). If you think you need/want to douche, chat with your doc first since your vagina is literally a self-cleaning machine.
17. Chill TF out.
It's really hard for people to get turned on when they're stressed out and not focusing on the sexy thing at hand. And if you're too distracted to get turned on, your vagina's not going to get turned on and lubed either. So basically take a nap, have some pizza, and watch Magic Mike. Ideally, you'll be fine.
Of course, if it is severe and persistent, check in with your gynecologist to make sure it's nothing serious. And then if it's not, that Magic Mike thing though. For real.
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