Q&A: Why Does My Girlfriend’s Vagina Get So Dry During Sex?

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QUESTION: My girlfriend and I will be having sex for about 10 minutes and then after that her vagina gets dry as sex continues. She’s on birth control and I don’t use condoms. What could be the cause of this?

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Desert Walker

Photo: Hamed Saber

Lubricant can help to reduce friction and pain caused by dryness, helping sex to feel more comfortable and pleasurable for both of you.

As I sometimes like to say, women are not rainforests. Our vaginas don’t produce endless amounts of vaginal lubrication.

Producing Lubrication

That said, women vary in how much vaginal lubrication they produce. Young women who are healthy and not pregnant tend to have high levels of estrogen, which influences the production of vaginal lubrication.

Some women produce less vaginal lubrication – even if they are young and healthy. If your girlfriend is taking a low estrogen birth control pill, she may be more prone to vaginal dryness.

Similarly, a woman may be more likely to experience vaginal dryness if she is stressed, taking antihistamines or if she has just taken a warm shower or bath, as warm water can dry the vagina just as it can dry skin on other parts of the body. Women who are breastfeeding also tend to be more prone to vaginal dryness.

Lubrication Through Foreplay

You may find that she can maintain her lubrication longer if you wait to have sex until she feels highly aroused. Try spending a great deal of time in foreplay doing things that the two of you find pleasurable and exciting in order to enhance her arousal and vaginal lubrication.

Synthetic Lubricants

You might also want to keep a water-based lubricant or silicone based lubricant on hand during sex, such as on the nightstand. You can apply it at the start of sex or wait until sex starts to feel dry before applying it.

If you choose to use lubricant, try adding a small dab – maybe a dime or nickel sized dab – of lubricant to her vaginal opening as well as to the head and shaft of your penis. This can help to reduce friction and pain caused by dryness, helping sex to feel more comfortable and pleasurable for both of you.

More Information

Learn more about the different types of lubricants, how to choose them and how to use them during sex in Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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