When a woman is sexually aroused, the walls of her vagina secrete a clear, slippery fluid that facilitates intercourse. As with everything else about humans, there is a fairly wide range of “normal” when it comes to vaginal lubrication: some women produce lubrication easily and copiously, others take longer and produce less lubrication.
Problems arise when a women doesn’t produce enough lubrication. This can make sex uncomfortable or even painful—and nothing shuts down sexual feeling faster than pain! Dryness can also lead to vaginal irritation, vaginal infections or urinary tract infections.
The hormonal changes of menopause are the most common cause of vaginal dryness, but many other factors may be at work:
- Normal hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle
- Emotional stress or unresolved issues between you and your partner
- Use of certain medications (i.e. some antihistamines, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs)
- Personal care products such as bubble bath, scented soaps and lotions, and douching, all of which can disrupt the natural chemistry of the vagina
Although estrogen in a variety of forms can help ease vaginal dryness, many women would rather avoid hormone-based treatments. By far the easiest solution to vaginal dryness is to use a high-quality lubricant, both for sex and simply to ease day-to-day dryness. For use during sex, the male partner can use the lubricant as well, which is especially helpful if you are using a condom. Use as much or as little as needed to achieve pleasurable, sensual intercourse.
Because I’ve seen what a problem vaginal dryness can be for women, and also how relatively easily it can be relieved, I have developed my own brand of vaginal lubricant. There are dozens of types of lubricants on the market, and, believe me, they’re not all high-quality! Some contain hormones. Some are oil or petroleum based (which can destroy condoms, are difficult to wash off, and may stain). Some contain anesthetics. And many simply don’t work as promised (they dry out quickly or simply aren’t “slippery” enough).
A word of caution: any type of personal lubricant can interfere with sperm and reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving a child. If you want to get pregnant and have a problem with dryness, I suggest using only completely natural lubricants such as saliva, canola oil, or egg whites.