We tend to take vaginal lubrication for granted. It’s usually there when you need it and sometimes shows up even when you don’t. But it’s often only when you have trouble getting wet that you even think about it.
As it turns out, lack of vaginal lubrication doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not turned on (just as trouble getting an erection doesn’t). Experts say there can be a number of reasons why vaginal dryness takes place, and it can be due to things you wouldn’t even think of.
Here are some reasons, both psychological and physiological, why you might be having trouble getting wet.
1. You have a yeast infection. Yeast infections can interfere with your ability to get wet by disrupting the balance of flora in the vagina, says Raquel Dardik, M.D., clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “For some women, having intercourse during the time they have a yeast infection increases the amount of irritation they feel vaginally,” she says. “It varies from woman to woman but can make the symptoms worse. It will not harm the person or make the infection more severe, but the woman may find it uncomfortable to be sexually active while having a yeast infection.”
2. Your medication is messing you up. Certain medications that seemingly have nothing to do with your vagina can cause below-the-belt dryness, says Dardik. The antihistamines you might take for allergies around this time of year, for example, often have this pesky side effect.
3. Life is kinda stressful at the moment. One common reason a woman might have trouble getting wet is that she’s not able to be fully present, says sexologist Barbara Winter, Ph.D. “A woman needs to ‘shift gears’—that is, allow her sexual space to open. It’s easy to shut it down, particularly when the craziness of life comes into the bedroom.” Psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., agrees: “A woman distracted or overburdened by other things in life—work, housework, money issues, etc.—will likely be distracted [and] not feel amorous.” So, instead of trying to transition immediately into sex from whatever you were doing before, take time to set the mood and relax.
4. You’re not feeling body-confident. Your vagina can sense when you don’t feel totally comfortable about getting naked. “A woman feeling less than confident about her body or not wanting to be seen by her partner with her clothes off can also impact sexual response,” says Durvasula. If you suspect this is happening to you, try slipping into your sexiest, feel-good lingerie before hopping in bed. Also keep this in mind: Your partner is psyched to see you naked.
If you have trouble getting wet on occasion, it’s probably a good idea to keep some lube handy to get you through it. But if you find that you’re struggling with it regularly, it’s time to talk to your doctor