‘For most, it’s going to be a bit of a drier day today…’
BY THE ROAM TEAM 4 MIN READ
the ‘orgasm gap’, a term coined by Dr Laurie Mintz to describe the disparity in orgasms between heterosexual couples
Vaginas are incredible things - they can push out babies, give you world-shattering orgasms and produce natural lubrication to make sex comfortable and feel f*cking good…most of the time. Often, however, the vagina doesn’t, and can’t, get as wet as it normally would. Being drier than you’d hoped for as a woman ties into the narrative that you’ve ‘failed’ in some way, whilst for a heterosexual man, using a lube as a replacement narrates as a failure on his part. There’s clearly work to be done. As a woman, there are a thousand and one reasons why you might be dry at any one time. Getting to know these, and telling your partner about them, is key to normalising those drier days. Here’s just a few causes behind dryness in the bedroom…
A common condition for many women at some point in their lives, vaginal dryness tends to happen during sex and after the menopause. At the entrance of the vagina, there are two glands called Bartholin glands, which normally secrete extra moisture to help intercourse. Clinically, 17% of women between 18 and 50 experience vaginal dryness, yet for the majority of women, it’s a problem that can happen more often and sporadically than that. Whilst ‘vaginal dryness’ sounds permanent, having a drier day every now and again is not just common, it’s normal.
The reason post-menopausal women tend to have more issues with dryness is because a woman’s levels of oestrogen drop significantly after menopause. Without oestrogen, the tissues around the vulva and vagina become thinner, leading to the vagina becoming dry. A reduction in oestrogen is also felt by women who are breastfeeding, who have had a hysterectomy and or received chemotherapy.
As every woman knows, your hormones bounce around constantly on your period, meaning you can be laughing one minute and sobbing into your pillow the next. It won’t come as a surprise, then, that these fluctuating hormones affect our vagina’s natural ways too! Oestrogen levels vary in the blood during our menstrual cycle, being their lowest just before and after your period. These low levels, just like those experienced after the menopause, can lead to an unexpectedly drier day.
Love it or hate it, hormonal contraception is a life-saver for millions of women out there. Yet along with all the other effects we have to worry about, we can add dryness to that list. Most hormonal contraceptives contain a high concentration of hormones which are constant over time, rather than naturally fluctuating. For some women, this isn’t a problem, but for others, it can result in permanently low oestrogen and constant vaginal dryness.
Antidepressants, antihistamines and even some asthma medications can cause dryness. Antidepressants in particular impact the receptors for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which blocks some involuntary bodily functions, such as the natural lubrication of the vagina. Chat to your doc about switching it up if this becomes a permanent problem.
Getting wet is often seen as a marker of how turned on you are, but the reality is that a wetter day doesn’t necessarily mean you feel more aroused. Similarly, a drier day doesn’t mean you’re not. Instead, stress can be a huge factor, and that might be stress about sex or, more likely, stress about other parts of our lives. Putting on music, making out, talking to your partner and prepping for sex with a relaxing bath and some down-time can all help to aid your natural wetness. And remember…therapy is your best friend (as is lube).
Some women are allergic to certain chemicals in soaps, detergents, dyes and perfumes, which can attach to your underwear and towels. This can lead to irritation and dryness, two common problems women face which go hand in hand. Make sure to swab test before and switching out other products!
Vaginal douching and anal douching are different things, but vaginal douching is one to be very careful about. Douching removes micro-bacteria from the vagina (which self-cleans anyway) and alters your natural pH, making you more susceptible to infection and issues with getting wet. Have a chat with your doctor before going for it.
And this one works in two ways. First, connecting to and understanding your own body is crucial when you have sex or masturbate. There’s no point trying to orgasm when your mind is on other things, simply because you’ll find it harder to enjoy the moment and find yourself going through the motions. Tuning into the present and noticing the reactions of your body allows you to be fully aroused, which can be key to getting wet. If you’re finding this tricky during sex, try meditation, mindfulness and breathing practices to connect.
Communicating with your partner is also a must. Make sure they know what feels good for you and what you like. Nobody enjoys having their clit rubbed like a DJ on the decks. Be sensitive and empathetic always, but tell your partner about your desires and worries.