Why Is My Vagina Dry?

Sexual performance issues aren’t just for people with penises. While pop culture may not make as big of a deal about vaginal dryness (at least, not in terms of being “embarrassing” and constantly having drugs marketed at us), it can still negatively impact how much we enjoy having sex. 

We’re here to address the issue head-on! You deserve to enjoy having sex (and get off) just as much as your partner does — no matter who you’re sleeping with and what body they may have. 

Don’t sit around searching, “why is my vagina dry?” after another subpar sexual encounter. We’ve got everything you need to be as wet and slippery as you want in no time. 

What Is Vaginal Dryness?

What exactly is vaginal dryness, though? 

When discussing vaginal dryness, we’re talking about a lack or a loss of natural moisture in and around the vaginal canal. Have you ever had super dry skin on your arms, legs, or face? The same thing can happen to our delicate tissues downstairs. 

Vaginal dryness is often noticed first because of sexual side effects — not just a lack of lubrication during sex but also an increase in painful sex and soreness during and after intercourse. 

For the record, while everyone will have a twinge every once in a while, sex should never ever hurt (unless you want it to). You need to take it seriously if you’re regularly experiencing unwanted pain during sex.

But many of us don’t notice vaginal dryness when we’re not actively getting intimate. However, there are other signs and symptoms of a problem brewing that you should take just as seriously. You may also notice painful urination, abnormal vaginal discharge, or itchiness, often written off as just vaginal or urinary tract infections and only treated temporarily. 

Is It Normal To Be Dry?

Although it’s not “normal” to be dry, it is very common. Almost a quarter of people with vaginas experience vaginal dryness at some point between puberty and postmenopause. This number goes up significantly in menopausal and postmenopausal women — potentially up to 50 percent. 

But just because it’s common doesn’t make it fun to deal with! Any changes in your sex life can be upsetting, impacting not just you but your relationship. Your sexual health is just as vital as other aspects of your life, and it’s okay (and encouraged) to take it seriously. 

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

Knowing that vaginal dryness is common doesn’t exactly explain the whys, though. Understanding the causes of vaginal dryness can help you find ways to fix or work around it more easily. To find any real root causes, we strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Changing Hormones

The most likely culprit of vaginal dryness is changing hormones, especially around menopause. When your body starts to go through “the change,” it stops making as much estrogen. While we often think of estrogen as just the “mood swing” hormone, it is the primary hormone responsible for helping keep the vagina lubricated and the tissues strong and elastic. Lower estrogen levels mean less natural lubrication and thinner vaginal tissue (a condition known as vaginal atrophy). 

But it isn’t just menopause that’s responsible for estrogen fluctuations. Your hormone levels may be all over the place for other reasons, too — breastfeeding, pregnancy, your menstrual cycle, hormonal contraception (birth control), antidepressants, and more. 

To have your estrogen levels checked and discuss potential prescription treatment options, call your OB/GYN. 

Stress or Relationship Changes

How you feel about your partner can also greatly impact how turned on your body gets before and during sex. If you’re mad at your partner or haven’t been feeling especially close with them, you wouldn’t expect to just get immediately wet at the sight of them, would you? 

No matter how hot they are, your mind will probably overrule your physical response and shut it down. If you’ve been fighting with your partner recently and dealing with dry vagina issues, it may be time to get real with them. 

Whether that means a heart-to-heart or an appointment with a professional, working out your concerns can help you get more turned on. Plus, never underestimate how hot make-up sex can be!

But your overall stress level can also be just as much of a problem as low estrogen levels. When your mind is under stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, funneling all of its energy into keeping you alive (literally — your body reacts just like it’s fighting a bear). 

It puts getting wet pretty low on the list, right? Take the time to get your stress under control and see if that makes a difference.

Dehydration

Drinking eight glasses of water daily is advice that has been jammed down our throats for most of our lives. We know, we know — water is essential (something about our bodies being mostly water, right?). 

Dehydration can definitely make us feel not great and obviously impacts our skin. But you may not know that dehydration can also affect your vagina’s ability to get and stay wet. 

It makes sense when you think about it — wet is wet, after all. The more water you drink, the more moisture you have available to the entire body. One other unlikely culprit for vaginal dryness is fragrances. 

Scented soaps or detergents can irritate your vulvovaginal area, making it much harder to get wet when it counts. And make sure to check the packaging on your women’s health products — tampons and pads are notorious for adding chemicals that can dry you out.

How Can I Beat Vaginal Dryness?

Asking, “why is my vagina dry?” is a less crucial question than asking what you can do about it. After all, theories don’t exactly come in handy as a form of foreplay (unless that’s your thing — no judgment from us). 

Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you. Let’s talk about ways to beat vaginal dryness.

Lubrication

The easiest and best way to ease vaginal dryness is by helping it out with lube! The right lube can make a world of difference in how much you enjoy sex and how long you can keep it going. 

Yes, it would be great if vaginal lubrication just naturally happened. But lube can replace our body’s natural lubrication in just a second. 

Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD is an excellent example of a slippery lube that makes any sexual activity more fun and exciting. While Intimacy Sex Oil is super long-lasting and oil-based, other options, like water-based lubes, can also work well. 

Vaginal Moisturizer

If your elbows are ashy or your skin is dry, you probably reach right for the lotion. But did you know that if your vagina is dry, you can do the same thing?

Enter the vaginal moisturizer. 

Vaginal moisturizers, available over the counter, act like body lotion — adding moisture to the skin and tissue in and around the vagina. Unlike lotion, however, there are two types — internal (for the vagina) and external (for the vulva and labia). 

It may take some time to see a change, but using them consistently every two to three days can also help make a lasting change (especially when combined with other tactics). A quick but important distinction here, though — vaginal moisturizer is not a douche. 

We repeat. Vaginal moisturizer is not a douche. Douching can dry your vagina out and create a pH imbalance, making it easier for you to develop a yeast infection. Stay away from the douche!

If you don’t know where to start, call your local gynecology office. Gynecologists are often great information sources because they have truly seen it all.

Change Up Your Sex Life

Even the best tips and tricks aren’t going to work for everyone every time. No one wants to keep having the same sex every time, even if that sex is mind-blowing. Changing it up is crucial for keeping things fresh, especially in a long-term relationship, but it’s also great for reducing vaginal dryness (especially if you’re menopausal).

An excellent place to start is with foreplay (obviously). But foreplay is also one of the first things to go in longer-term relationships, especially if you regularly feel pressed for time. 

We get that because we’re all susceptible to the time crunch. Right or wrong, taking time out from our self-care (yes, sex can be self-care) tends to give first.

If you’re guilty of letting foreplay slip, stop it! Make sure you set aside time to get intimate, even if that means scheduling it in advance. Foreplay turns your mind and body on, and you need both to get delightfully soakingly wet. 

Check out our Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD if you still have issues getting aroused. While arousal oil doesn’t give you or your partner a free pass to skip the foreplay, it can turn your level of sensation and pleasure up several notches. Rub the oil into your vulvar and vaginal area, give it a bit to absorb, and get down to business. 

The Bottom Line

Why is my vagina dry? While the answer to that question may be complicated, the solution can be as simple as one word — lube. Having sex without lube (natural or otherwise) is one of the primary causes of painful, uncomfortable, unsatisfying sex, and no one deserves that! 

With just a little lube and a few changes to your sex life, you’ll be back to living the good life ASAP.

Sources:

Patient education: Vaginal dryness (Beyond the Basics) | UpToDate

Experiencing Vaginal Dryness? Here's What You Need to Know. | ACOG

Vaginal dryness | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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