The vagina is a delicate ecosystem that is hard as hell to keep in check. You bleed every month, have to keep UTIs and yeast infections at bay, and you’re supposed to automatically get lubricated every time you’re about to hook up. But when you can’t stay wet in bed, it can get confusing and embarrassing. You don’t know if there’s something wrong with you, and you don’t want your partner to take it personally. Come on, vagina, you had job!
This phenomenon actually happened to me with my last boyfriend. Sex would start off fine, but then, somewhere along the way, my vag would get . Sorry for the phrasing, but it was like the Sahara Desert down there. I just couldn’t figure it out. Was this some weird STD? Does my vagina hate my boyfriend? Did I turn 30, and now, I just can’t get wet anymore?
Well, it turns out that lubrication during sex, or lack thereof, can happen for a myriad of reasons: some physical, some mental, and some emotional. So I asked Dr. Martha Tara Lee, clinical sexologist and relationship coach, the truth behind why you’re not getting and staying wet during sex.
1. It Could Be Physical
If you’re unable to achieve arousal during sex, occasionally the reason can be physical. Dr. Lee says that lack of lubrication can be caused by “illness, disease, STI, hormones affected by food, diet, [or] even not drinking enough water.” Additionally, certain medications (like anti-depressants) can cause lack of lubrication as well, so it’s always beneficial to ask your doctor or check the list of side effects of any drugs you might be taking.
And finally, Dr. Lee explains that menopause can change the hormones in the body which affect lubrication during sexual activity — which is totally normal and to be expected. Should this be the case, it’s nothing a little lubricant can’t fix.
2. It Could Be Mental
The lack of lubrication during sex can also be mental. Dr. Lee explains that if you don’t want to have sex, it can obviously be hard to get aroused. If you’ve had a long day at work, if you’re feeling tired, if you’re distracted, or if you are in your head, it can become an obstacle to stay focused on what’s happening in .
Dr. Lee says “negative sexual attitudes” toward hooking up — shame, guilt, anxiety, stress, or pressure surrounding the act — are also included in this sentiment. Basically, your vagina can pick up on how you’re feeling. So if you’re not DTF, then your vag won’t be either.
3. It Could Be Emotional
Dr. Lee explains that similarly to mental conditions inhibiting your lubrication, your emotional landscape can effect lubrication as well. If you’re sad, depressed, or if there is “psychological abuse in [your] relationship,” then your body will react to that physically. When you’re emotionally invested or attracted to someone, your body responds favorably to them. So it stands to reason that if we are emotionally closed off, our bodies would do the opposite.
If you’re having trouble getting aroused during sex, don’t freak out yet, though, as there are a few solutions for you. Try a store-bought lubricant, and increase the amount of foreplay you have before intercourse to put you in the mood. But if you’re still having difficulty, it might be time to address some issues in your relationship, or visit your doctor to make sure there’s nothing more serious going on. The last thing you want is for your vag to be as dry as the Sahara Desert. Believe me, I know.
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