Perhaps you, like most of the world, enjoyed Cardi B and Megan The Stallion’s WAP song that swept the music world with viger last year. If so, you were also maybe one of the millions of people who googled the term ‘WAP’ and contributed to making it one of the internet's most searched words in 2021.
So what really causes a vagina to ‘get wet’, and is there really such a thing as being ‘too wet’ and what you can do if you’re experiencing dryness? So grab your swimsuit and goggles and come along for the ride as we dip our toes into the weird and wonderful pool of vaginal lubrication!
What does ‘getting wet’ actually mean and why does it happen?
Firstly, did you know that vaginal tissue is naturally moist? Fluid from the cervix and secretions from the bartholin glands, two pea sized glands at the entrance to the vagina, that work hard to keep the vagina lubricated. When you’re aroused, the bartholin glands secrete extra fluid with the intention of helping to get you ready for sex, whether you’re about to actually have sex or not.
During this process your body creates this lubrication with the intention of reducing friction when the penis enters the vagina and makes it more comfortable. (It also just makes the whole overall experience a lot more fun!)
This means that even if you’re not having partnered sex, you may still experience getting wet simply just by getting aroused. During this process you may also experience an elevated heart rate and a rush of blood to our genitals as well as people with vulvas experiencing both it and their clitoris getting a little stiffer and puffier with their vagina expanding.
Of course, it’s also good to remember that being ‘wet’ doesn’t mean that you need to sex have or in fact that you need to have sex with a penis. It’s just something clever that our body does when it thinks it has so. You can then use this lubrication for stimulating your G-spot, or your clitoris more comfortably while using a sex toy such as one of Love Not War’s award winning vibrators such as the Miele.
Why is ‘getting wet’ more difficult for some than it is for others?
As expected, menopause is a big factor when it comes to vaginal dryness but it’s also good to normalise pre menopausal dryness. Around 17% of women aged 18-50 experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex. This is possibly because they are not sexually aroused and often caused by insufficient foreplay or psychological reasons such as stress.
Other reasons for vaginal dryness before the menopause can be linked to hygiene products such as feminine sprays and harsh soaps, swimming pool and hot tub chemicals and some washing powders. Certain drug treatments such as allergy and cold medications and some antidepressants, can also dry out mucous membranes, including vaginal tissues.
There’s no set amount of time it might take to get wet. In younger women it can take less than a minute, while in women over the age of 40, it can typically take between one and three minutes. It’s important to note that that isn’t the set standard and in fact, similarly to penile erection problems, factors such as stress can also make it more difficult for you to feel physically aroused, even if part of you is in the mood!
Using artificial lubricant…
As we’ve already said it’s not uncommon for people, even if they are completely healthy, to experience some vaginal dryness, meaning that their vagina will produce insufficient lubrication. Lucky for us though there are many artificial lubricants on the market that can act as a replacement for the natural vaginal secretions, making the vagina feel more moist and reducing any discomfort.
Pharmacies stock dozens of vaginal lubricants, all of which come in a variety of flavours and types depending on a person’s preference.
They comprise varying substances, many of which have different benefits:
Water based lubricants containing glycerin are popular. However, glycerin free options may be more suitable for people who get frequent yeast infections.
Silicone based lubricants last longer than water based lubricants, making them a good option for people with severe vaginal dryness or a history of pain during sex. They are not safe to use with silicone sex toys, though, and they can be greasy.
Oil based lubricants include many readily available products, such as kitchen oils. They are usually edible and are safe for the vagina, but they can be messy. Synthetic oil based lubricants, such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly, can work well but may also irritate the vulva.
Don’t forget foreplay…
We can not underestimate the value of foreplay when it comes to ‘getting wet’. Foreplay gets the juices flowing by increasing sexual arousal, increasing blood flow to genitals and the vagina, labia, and clitoris all swell.
Better stimulation leads to more natural lubrication and also an increase in vaginal elasticity. The vagina then secretes natural lubrication, which increases pleasure and reduces pain.
For anyone suffering with vaginal dryness, communicating your sexual needs and desires to your partner is absolutely critical. Sexual partners may be unaware of the physiological changes and not know what to do. Providing feedback allows the partner to learn how best to meet your needs.