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COLUMN: Kinsey Confidential answers a question about vaginal lubrication

I don't get wet when I’m aroused. This is problematic when it becomes difficult for my partner to stay in me when we’re in certain positions. Is there anything I can do about my dryness?

About one-third of American women across their lifespan report issues with vaginal lubrication when they have sex. However, vaginal wetness issues are even more common among post-menopausal women as well as women who are breastfeeding. This is due to low levels of estrogen, which can cause problems with vaginal dryness throughout the day, not just during sex. Certain medications can also make it more difficult to produce sufficient vaginal lubrication for sex. 

I mention this because the question of what can be done about your lack of wetness depends a great deal on what is causing it in the first place. If your partner has a larger than average penis, or if you’re having intercourse for a very long time, then there may not be any issue with your wetness. It may just be that these other factors are making intercourse difficult. Using a water-based or silicone-based lubricant may be helpful. 

If you’re post-menopausal, breastfeeding or have other health or medical issues that contribute to vaginal dryness, you may want to speak with a nurse or doctor about using a vaginal moisturizer. Some vaginal moisturizers are available as prescriptions, while others are available over the counter at local stores or online. Depending on your personal health and medical history, your nurse or doctor may recommend a certain kind of moisturizer for your needs. 

It’s also worth noting that some positions are just tricky, making it difficult for the penis to stay in the vagina no matter its level of wetness or dryness. It’s not unusual for couples to go through trial and error to find the positions and kinds of sex that best work for them and how their bodies fit together. For tips on sexual exploration, you might enjoy reading "The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone." 

Kinsey Confidential is part of a joint partnership between the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington (IU SPH) and the Kinsey Institute. The column is written by Dr. Debby Herbenick, professor in the IU SPH. Read past Q&A or submit your own question at Follow us on Twitter @KinseyCon  

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