It's a desert down there: Help for vaginal dryness

Originally Published: April 7, 2000 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: September 12, 2008
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Dear Alice,

My problem is about vaginal dryness. I am an otherwise healthy twenty-one-year-old female, but cannot seem to get wet enough for pleasurable sex with my husband. We both get sore afterwards and I feel like I am not "performing" much like I would imagine a man would feel if he couldn't get an erection. Here's the thing, my husband doesn't want me to use artificial lubricants. Honestly I don't either. Are there any alternatives to K-Y? Is dehydration or draining enough fluids a factor? Any info would be of much help. Thanks so much.

sahara

Dear sahara,

Vaginal dryness can be caused by many factors:

  • Not being aroused enough before sex, or not wanting to have sex
  • Being penetrated before you're ready
  • Feeling stressed
  • Taking medications that are drying, including isotretinoin (brand name accutane, for the treatment of acne) and decongestants and antihistamines
  • Using marijuana before and during sex — it can dehydrate
  • Experiencing certain hormonal states or abnormalities that can change vaginal fluids — birth control pills, Depo-Provera, pregnancy, and breastfeeding can contribute to vaginal dryness in this way
  • Having an infection
  • Getting older and menopause

Vaginal dryness is one reason why some women have sex during their period — because the menstrual flow allows for "natural" lubrication.

What is it about lubes that you and your husband dislike? Is it because you think that you're supposed to produce enough of your own vaginal lubricant in the presence of the one you love or are attracted to? Some women naturally make more of their own lube than others, and, as mentioned above, it's often situational. Needing to apply some extra lube from time to time does not mean that anything is wrong.

And, not all lubes are the same; some may work better for you than others. Effective water-based lubes are available in drug stores and shops specializing in sex-related products. You and your husband can sample a variety of them as they usually make women wet, slippery, and juicy, allowing sex to be more comfortable and pleasurable for both partners.

A little dab could do ya!

Alice

December 10, 2012

519911
This woman and her husband could be caught in a self-perpetuating cycle. Sex doesn't feel good for her, even hurts, so she probably is anxious about having sex and might not really be motivated. That...
This woman and her husband could be caught in a self-perpetuating cycle. Sex doesn't feel good for her, even hurts, so she probably is anxious about having sex and might not really be motivated. That could lead to vaginal dryness, because vaginas get lubricated when the woman is turned on. How does her husband expect her to be aroused if sex always hurts for her? They should follow your advice and try various lubes. Just think of them as fun, not as a sign that something is wrong. Try water-based lubes like K-Y or Astro-glide. Also she could try a long-acting lube such as Replens. Their sex life may well improve if they both focus on feeling good and stop worrying about living up to ideals about how sex should be.

September 3, 2008

21285

Dear Alice,

This article was very helpful. I wanted this reader to know that she is not alone. Also, my husband and I have found that starting with just a little lube around the clitoris...

Dear Alice,

This article was very helpful. I wanted this reader to know that she is not alone. Also, my husband and I have found that starting with just a little lube around the clitoris has increased his ability to arouse me and thus I produce more of my own natural lube.

April 14, 2000

20350
Dear Alice, You recently responded to a woman who didn't lubricate enough for intercourse to be comfortable, but who didn't want to use artificial lubricants (It's a desert down there: Help for...
Dear Alice, You recently responded to a woman who didn't lubricate enough for intercourse to be comfortable, but who didn't want to use artificial lubricants (It's a desert down there: Help for vaginal dryness). Allow me to suggest a whole lot of enthusiastic, juicy cunnilingus before she and her husband have intercourse. Saliva is a lubricant, of course, plus the longer they delay intercourse and the more turned on she is when they do do it, the wetter she's likely to be!