This article was medically fact-checked by Women’s health expert and Gynaecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck.
What are some of the hottest, most ego-boosting, words in the English language?
“Baby I’m so wet.”
That’s right. The natural side effect from arousal and a steamy make-out sesh that accumulates in your panties is not only pleasing but utilitarian.
Lubrication is the not so secret sauce to steamy sexual pleasure, but what is it exactly? Where does it come from?
Let’s dive into the luscious lake of vaginal wetness, and learn just what it’s all about.
Slip ‘N’ Slide
That moist spot in your panties may be coming from your cervix and/or vagina, both of which secrete lubricating fluids.
As nice is it feels, vaginal wetness serves a lot of functional roles outside of making sex more pleasurable.
The ever intelligent human body designed the vagina to be a self-cleaning organ through its secretions. As long as it doesn’t have a funky smell or color (which may be indicative of infection), discharge is part of a healthy, normal vagina, and is how it maintains a natural balance of vaginal flora to prevent imbalances and infections.
This is one of the main reasons experts warn against douching.
Besides protecting against infections, cervical fluid also helps with conception, by giving swimming sperm some extra support in its journey towards the fallopian tubes, and any awaiting eggs. This is one of the reasons for increased discharge around ovulation – nature wants more babies.
When it comes to getting down, blood flow increases in the genitals as you become more aroused. This tells the cervix and vagina that it’s time to release fluid. It’s your vagina’s way of saying “Open the flood gates!”.
A gland is a tiny organ that secretes chemical substances for different uses in the body.
The star player glands of reproductive health are the Bartholin’s glands and the Skene’s glands.
Your Bartholin’s glands are nuzzled comfortably in between the vulva and vagina on each side of the vaginal opening. As you become turned on and blood rushes towards your goods, this pressure from blood vessels causes engorgement, as well as what’s known as “vaginal sweating”.
This pressure pushes the vaginal fluid that’s mixed in with your blood into your vagina, aka “getting wet”.
The Skene’s glands are tiny glands on the inside of the vagina, towards the lower end of the urethra. Being surrounded by erectile tissue means that upon arousal, the increased pressure on these glands may produce the ever-elusive phenomenon of squirting or “female ejaculation.” (Some studies suggesting chemical makeup of fluid is actually urine).
Talk about slippery!
Besides producing waterfalls, the fluid excreted from the Skene’s gland also contains antimicrobial properties that help protect the urinary tract during sexual activity.
The River is Dry
As with anything, different people produce different amounts of vaginal excretions, which will change throughout their cycle and life.
Vaginal dryness can be caused by any number of factors from medications like oral contraceptives, certain antidepressants, and antihistamines, with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, as well as after pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Oral contraceptives more commonly cause dryness. Many women on estrogen replacement therapy feel increased vaginal lubrication thanks to additional estrogen.
Many women also experience vaginal dryness with menopause. Feminine moisturizers in combination with kegel exercises and even vibrator use to increase blood flow, can help bring moisture back into your lady bits.
Other ways to mitigate consistent vaginal dryness are through managing lifestyle factors like stress and diet, eliminating pH disturbing substances like certain lubes, lotions, and soaps, or even going commando – bye, bye undies!
When it comes down to it, vagina lubrication is not necessarily an indication of how much you do or don’t want sex. What’s happening in our pants doesn’t always line up with how we feel emotionally.
You don’t have to be wet to be aroused, and you don’t have to have intercourse just because you’re wet.
If you’re having sex with a partner, this is where communication comes in. Show, and tell them what makes you tick, what gets you wet, and what they’re doing right – or wrong.
Maybe they’ve felt how wet you are, but penetrative sex just doesn’t feel right (for any reason), tell them when you want to stop, or what else you’d like to do instead.
If you are feeling ready to pounce, but your vagina just isn’t quite juicy enough, it’s time to bring in reinforcements. Lube is your friend!
When using lube, be sure to look for one that’s sans toxic chemicals and other harmful ingredients that can throw off your vagina. Note that not all lubes are condom friendly, so keep that in mind when gathering supplies.
There is a wide range of normal when it comes to vaginal wetness, so the best way to keep tabs on your health is by recognizing what normal means for you.
Facts checked by:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck
Alyssa Dweck MS, MD, FACOG is a practicing gynecologist in Westchester County, New York. She provides care to women of all ages; she has delivered thousands of babies. She is proficient in minimally invasive surgery and has special interest and expertise in female sexual health and medical sex therapy. She is top doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester Magazine. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books including the most recent release The Complete A to Z For Your V.
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at age fourteen, when she was present for the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birth doula, has given her hands on insight into the magical realm of birth, pregnancy, and all things in between. Her role as a birth worker, is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as a key educational tool for creating change in how we view reproductive health as a whole.