We love to answer all your questions about sex here at the Bad Girls Bible. One question that readers frequently ask is “Why can’t I get wet?” You may be aroused but find that sex is uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness. This may be an ongoing issue or one that’s suddenly appeared, which changes the solution. Read on to learn more.
WHY CAN’T I GET WET? UNDERSTANDING AROUSAL AND VAGINAL MOISTURE
There’s a misconception that vaginal moisture is the most significant – or even the only sign – of your arousal. In fact, women experience more discordance between mental and physical arousal than men typically do. What does this mean? Your body might respond while your head isn’t in the game, or you might feel mentally turned on, but your body isn’t with you yet.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s common enough to be called normal. You can be insanely turned on and just not be that wet.
Much of the moisture that we associate with a woman’s arousal is simply a product of the vagina cleaning itself or even sweat. During your cycle, you may feel wetter because of discharge. Vaginal discharge isn’t pleasant in your underwear, but it sure makes for more pleasurable sex.
Of course, many women experience increased vaginal wetness because of arousal, which aids in sex. A lack of moisture makes penetration more difficult, including discomfort to the point of pain. It’s often not a good feeling for your man, either.
CAUSES OF VAGINAL DRYNESS
Other factors come into play with vaginal dryness. For example, certain medications can reduce how wet you get. You might be wet enough when you’re not on the medication, but problems arise from the solution to another issue.
Sjögren’s syndrome is known to cause dry eyes and mouth, but another side effect is vaginal dryness, which your doctor may have missed as another symptom . However, more attention is being paid to how it affects a woman’s sexuality . Sjögren’s syndrome can be treated with medication that hydrates or suppress the immune system, which is responsible for the dryness, but it cannot be cured. Lube is recommended for people who have Sjögren’s syndrome and have trouble getting sufficiently wet.
An injury to your spinal cord may also decrease your ability to get wet like you once did. Support groups for spinal injuries may not talk about this personal topic, however. You’ll need to be comfortable to bring it up with your doctor.
Your ability to get wet closely interplays with hormones, too. A drop in estrogen can mean an increase in dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls, and certain things are known for altering estrogen levels, menopause, oophorectomy (removal of one or both ovaries), and hysterectomy being some of the most common. As you age, your may find it harder to get wet like many women do. However, activities such as birth trauma can also lead to vaginal dryness at a younger age.
One possible solution is hormone replacement in the form of pills or even topical creams that contain estrogen. Vaginal dryness can occur due to estrogen deficiency during menopause  or due to a hysterectomy and you’ll find that replenishing estrogen can return some of your body functions back to the normal you were accustomed to (and it can minimize some of the symptoms of menopause to boot!).
But it’s perfectly possibly to be healthy and simply not wet enough. You don’t need to ask “Why can’t I get wet?” because it’s not a symptom of something wrong with you or your body.
USE LUBE WHEN YOU’RE NOT WET
The easiest solution to not getting wet enough is to use lube. However, some people think that needing lube means something is wrong. It doesn’t. It’s perfectly normal. In fact, we recommend using lube even if you don’t think you need to.
Personal lubricant is also wonderful when you started out wet, but your sex session has lasted longer than expected. You might find that you’re able to climax multiple times once you’ve added a little moisture after your first orgasm.
Lube is a good idea for transwomen who experience vaginal dryness after gender reassignment surgery as well as transmen who take testosterone supplements but still have a vulva.
Lube not only makes things slicker and easier, but it can also enhance sex. Flavored lube, tingling lube, and warming lube are all options you can consider. If you’re not sure what type of lube to get – and there are a lot of options available to you! – Check out this post. We’ve written all about the types of lubes and those that are best for sex, masturbation and other activities.
You can skip buying lube if you buy condoms that are lubricated, but reading our guide to lube can still be helpful when it comes to picking the right product.
One type of lube we recommend against is spermicidal lube. Although it’s smart to look for all the ways to prevent getting pregnant (more on that here), the main ingredient, nonoxynol-9, is so abrasive that it causes damages to your sensitive tissues. As a result, you’re more likely to contract an STI when using it .
On the topic of lube: you should always use it during anal sex because the anus isn’t self-lubricating.
WHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP ISSUES SEEP INTO THE BEDROOM
Although we’ve discussed all the ways that not getting wet enough is normal, there are a few things that might be wrong that are leading to your difficulty getting wet.
One potential cause is relationship issues, even if (or perhaps especially if) you’re not aware of them. If you don’t feel safe, loved and valued by your partner, you might not be comfortable having sex. Make sure to deal with any problems within your relationship before they disrupt your sex life or become irreparable.
Instead of asking “Why can’t I get wet?” you should ask “What in my relationship needs fixing?”.
Speaking of comfort, any anxiety you feel about sex might not be helping your case. If you’re nervous about having sex for the first time (advice on that here) or the first time with a new partner, this could lead to sexual anxiety. Discover how to deal with sexual anxiety.
Similarly, issues with your body image can contribute to your vaginal dryness. Picking a piece of lingerie that is flattering and makes you feel sexy can help. Your man will like it, too.
By the way, if you’re experiencing a lack of confidence when it comes to sex in general or riding your man, you’ve got to read this guide.
WHY CAN’T I GET WET? TRY MORE FOREPLAY
You might not be wet enough because you don’t spend enough time on foreplay, and it’s probably not helping you to orgasm and really enjoy sex, either. Adding foreplay is something that we always recommend if you want to get the most out of your sex life.
If you have trouble getting aroused quickly, foreplay adds more time, and you’ll find yourself wetter when it comes to penetration. Foreplay can include manual or oral stimulation, playing with toys, a sensual massage or whatever it is that really gets you going. Plus, many of these activities are great for getting you off, so you won’t find yourself disappointed after PIV sex has ended without you getting yours.
We’ve written no shortage of advice about foreplay at the Bad Girls Bible. Here is just one post on the subject, which you can adapt for solo play.
FOREPLAY FOR ONE
Remember that foreplay doesn’t necessarily need to include your partner. In fact, you can romance yourself before masturbation to get in the mood. Watching a sexy movie scene (or porn if that’s more up your alley), reading (or writing!) erotica or sending sultry texts and sexts are just a few ways to get your head in the game, so your body will follow.
Foreplay may not be enough for you to get wet in some instances, especially if you’ve traditionally never had a problem but suddenly find yourself as dry as a desert. If this is your case, then we recommend talking to your doctor who might recommend hormone replacement or using lube. But she may also be able to pinpoint other issues leading to vaginal dryness, and you’ll want to check with your doctor before changing any medicines if you suspect that is what is interfering with your sex life.
If you take anything out of this post, know that there is no ‘right’ amount of wetness, even if you’re aroused. You can fix most vaginal dryness by adding more foreplay or lube, but some cases may require other treatments that your doctor can recommend.