Q&A: Feeling Horny All The Time, Vaginal Tenting and Lubrication

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QUESTION: Is it weird that I'm horny pretty much all the time? And does anything happen to my vagina when I get horny -- like, does it grow? I'm 18 if that matters.

Women and men have a wide range of experiences when it comes to sexual arousal (feeling horny). Some feel like they are constantly aroused, especially when they’re pretty young (teens, twenties or thirties) or during some times of hormonal change.

Others feel like they’re almost never aroused, but most people fall somewhere in between these two extremes. So no, it’s not weird that you feel aroused so often — in fact, what you describe is one of several “normal” possibilities for 18-year-olds (or even 30-, 50- or 80-year-olds!).

Vaginal Tenting

As for the vagina, you’re absolutely right that it can grow during arousal (pretty amazing, eh?). In its unaroused state, the vagina is only about three or four inches long. But when a woman feels sexually aroused, her vagina goes through a natural process called “tenting” that makes it grow both longer and wider.

So where does this space come from, anyway? After all, it’s not like the vagina expands outward away from a woman’s body. Instead, the vagina expands inward. The uterus tips upward, giving the vagina room to expand further into the body. This increase in size can make sexual penetration (including vaginal intercourse) more comfortable for women.

But comfortable sex isn’t the only fabulous by-product of vaginal tenting. Some women simply enjoy the sensation. While not everyone actually feels the process occur, some women feel like “something’s going on” down there and they enjoy how it feels. Genital sensations might even be an indicator to some women that they’re sexually aroused — and that realization can be a major turn-on.

Vaginal Lubrication

Another sign of sexual excitation that women may notice is vaginal lubrication. It’s healthy and normal for the vagina to be somewhat moist all of the time, as that maintains the skin and tissue well, and at times there is also a noticeable discharge (again, totally normal) during the monthly cycle. But during sexual arousal, additional clear fluid or moisture (usually called lubrication) is produced.

Like the sensation of tenting, “feeling wet” is enjoyable for some women. Plus, vaginal lubrication can help make sexual penetration more comfortable for women by decreasing friction, and it can help clean the vaginal tissue.

Other Signs of Sexual Arousal

And it doesn’t stop there! Sexual arousal is quite an involved process with changes also occurring to your heart rate, breathing, clitoris, labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) and breasts.

You can learn more about women’s genitals and sexuality in “The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health” by Dr. Elizabeth Stewart and Paula Spencer.

While the vagina goes through quite a few incredible changes during the process of sexual arousal, the vagina does indeed return to “normal” when arousal decreases.

Your vagina will return to its normal size, lubrication returns to its typical production rate, your heart rate decreases, your thoughts might return to school/family/friends, and life resumes as usual. Until, of course, the magic begins again.

Kinsey Confidential

is a service of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Sexual health experts answer your questions and provide newspaper columns and weekly podcasts.
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