So you and your partner are tearing off each other’s clothes and heading into the bedroom—and you’re definitely in the mood for some action. But your vagina doesn’t seem to be as into the idea as you are. It’s seriously dry down there, and that’s killing your vibe.
Hey, we’ve all experienced it. But thankfully, when your vagina decides to have a mind of its own, you can use lube as a quick and easy fix. The only problem: Some women have actually been shamed for needing lube. Their partners have made them feel like there’s something wrong because they aren’t getting wet enough on their own. Ridiculous, right?
First of all, guys who lube shame women are really just insecure. “For some reason, it’s a hit to a man’s ego if a woman isn’t lubricating, because they equate it to her level of arousal,” Holly Richmond, PhD, a certified sex therapist in New York City, tells Health. Sure, sometimes it really is about how turned on we are. But how wet a woman is can be about plenty of other things, too. “The male equivalent is losing an erection,” Richmond says. “Sometimes it’s about arousal, sometimes it’s about anxiety, or maybe they don’t feel well or they drank too much, or something else.”
How lubricated a woman is has to do with her estrogen levels, Richmond explains. Estrogen helps the vagina stay lubed, and because estrogen rises and falls throughout your cycle, lubrication levels naturally rise and fall as well. Everyone’s cycle is different, so it’s hard to predict exactly when a woman will hit those estrogen highs and lows. Yet “most women are only primely lubricated two thirds of the month,” Richmond says.
Estrogen levels also drop as you get closer to menopause, after having a baby, and while taking certain medications, such as some birth control pills and breast cancer treatments. Other medications, like cold and allergy and blood pressure drugs, can dry things up down there temporarily, as well.
Some ladies also just naturally produce less lubrication than others, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. “With sex there’s really no normal,” Richmond says. “Everybody is just so different.”
To set the record straight, a woman can be dry and still be seriously turned on. “Sometimes our brain and our body go two different ways,” she explains. But dryness can definitely make sex uncomfortable, so don’t hesitate to reach for the lube. If your partner seems confused, let them know that it has nothing to do with them and that it’ll just make sex more pleasurable for both of you.
“All sex is good sex as long as it’s consensual and pleasurable,” Richmond says. “For a lot of women, if they’re not using lube, it’s not pleasurable. So you can’t really call that good sex.”