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Sex is no place to be dry.

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Kristina asks:

How do you stay dry when having sex? I get so wet within 5 minutes.

Heather Corinna replies:

You're not supposed to have dry genitals with sex.

If you do, you'll generally find that genital sex is not pleasurable or comfortable for you. There's really nothing healthy a woman can do -- save only having sex when it's the last thing she wants, which is a pretty dreary suggestion -- to reduce her natural fluids, but that's really for the best.

The vulva produces a lubrication of its own when women become aroused for a reason: because you need that lubrication in order for vaginal entry or other genital sex to both feel good and to prevent any injury to your genitals. Secondarily, for couples trying to reproduce, that lubrication and other discharges also help sperm to be most mobile.

If your genitals were dry, for instance, with vaginal intercourse, not only can even inserting a penis at all be very difficult, that intercourse is likely to be painful because those are delicate tissues there. Have you ever had chapped lips, and felt them crack or burn when you opened your mouth really wide? Same goes here. Lubrication is essential for your comfort -- and your partner's as well -- and for you to experience pleasure, which is what sex is supposed to be all about. Sometimes women don't lubricate enough, due to certain medication, or certain times of the fertility cycle, and in those instances, for most kinds of genital sex -- from rubbing our own clitorises to vaginal intercourse -- to feel good, we need to augment that by adding additional lubricant from a bottle or tube.

As well, if you're using condoms, lubrication is important to assure your condom doesn't break. In fact, even with your own lube, you may need to add some additional lube to ensure that (plus, putting a few drops inside the condom before your partner puts it on helps the condom to feel best for him, as well). On the safety issues, your vagina and vulva being well-lubricated is also an extra help in preventing the development of sexually transmitted infections, since abrasions or wounds that can happen from being dry and having sex are easy routes for an infection to get into your body.

Like getting a good workout, sex is messy and drippy and wet and sweaty (and even sometimes stinky). It's a very physical thing. That's part of the fun of it. Men have fluids we experience during sex, be those ejaculate, saliva and sweat, or both of those plus the self-lubricant produced by glands under the foreskin with uncircumcised men. Women have fluids we experience with sex, too: vaginal lubrication from arousal, sweat, saliva, the cervical mucus that's part of our natural fertility cycle, menstrual flow or other vaginal bleeding and, for some women sometimes, ejaculate as well. We can also be exposed to urine sometimes, with either partner, and if we're engaging in any kind of anal sex, we might also come into contact with some fecal matter. If we feel like it's not okay to have those fluids exposed with a partner, or to have someone else see or feel them, then chances are good that we're not in the best headspace to be having sex with a partner yet, or not with a partner we've developed enough trust and comfort with to feel okay with all our drippy bits exposed. And if we just can't deal with any kind of body fluids, or deal with our own with other people, we're going to need to avoid a lot of kinds of sex, period.

If you're worried that somehow there's something that isn't sexy about your lubrication, think again. Know how people who are attracted to men get excited when they see an erection? That's because that erection is often a signal that a guy is turned on: if we want him to be turned on by us or with us, we're likely to find that sexy. Vaginal lubrication, as well as labial and clitoral swelling, and the loosening of the vaginal canal, are signals of a woman being turned on. If someone you're with doesn't find you being turned on to be sexy, then that someone probably shouldn't be with you in that way.

Lastly, some folks figure that the reason they don't get enough sensation during intercourse can have something to do with women being "too wet." But ultimately, since your being dry is going to feel uninteresting at best, and painful at worst, that doesn't make much sense. For certain, with partners with smaller or thinner penises, you both might feel more sensation when you are less aroused and less wet. But there are better adjustments to be made there which still take your pleasure and health into account. Switching up positions where a partner with a smaller penis is basically rubbing one side of the vaginal walls is one way to go about it, as is understanding that vaginal intercourse alone isn't all that amazing for most women and many men. If that activity isn't doing it for one or both of you, you can replace it with something else, add another activity during intercourse, or just do intercourse for a while then switch to another activity that does get you both off best.

Take a look at the following links to get a better idea of how your sexual anatomy and sexual response cycle works, why lubrication is important, and why if you're attributing a lack of satisfaction with intercourse to lubrication, you're probably missing the mark:

written 01 May 2008 . updated 01 May 2008

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