It’s perfectly alright to talk about vaginal lubrication or the lack of it
Your vagina is naturally lubricated due to the hormone called Estrogen which plays an important role in your sexual life as well as your vaginal health.
Sufficient vaginal lubrication makes the sexual experience pleasurable for you for lubrication prepares the vagina for penis penetration. Moisture coating the vaginal walls is an alkaline environment for the sperm to survive and is quite important if you want to get pregnant. This moisture helps in protecting the genital area from tearing and keeps your vagina clean and moist. It is also common for a healthy woman’s vagina to produce insufficient lubrication. In such times, using artificial lubrication makes sexual activity comfortable.
Natural vaginal lubrication decreases in women due to age, smoking, usage of hormonal birth control, chemotherapy, menopause, hormonal changes, pregnancy, lactation, diabetes, and the usage of antihistamines and antidepressants. Insufficient vaginal lubrication can lead to vaginal dryness or even painful sex [dyspareunia].
Here are some types of lubricants –
- Water-based lubricants – ones containing glycerin are the most common and popular of the lot. Pick the ones which are glycerin-free since they are less likely to cause you vaginal irritation
- Silicone-based lubricants – odourless and smooth, these last the longest among any lubricants and are unlikely to cause you any allergic reaction
- Oil-based lubricants – coconut/olive/avocado oil or butter would fall in the natural oil-based lubricant category. While these are safe for your vagina, they can be messy. Vaseline and petroleum jelly are synthetic-based varieties and may irritate your vulva-vagina
- Natural lubricants – some companies in India manufacture vegan, paraben-free, made with eco-friendly ingredients lubricants and are thus safe on your vagina
- Vaginal moisturizers help if you have chronic vaginal dryness as their effect lasts for several days. They are safe to use next to vaginal lubricants
- Estrogen creams work well if you have dryness due to lowered estrogen levels. They replace the lost estrogen but are not safe if you do not tolerate estrogen well. It’s best to consult your gynaecologist before you decide to purchase/use them
Which lubricant to choose when –
Vaginal lubricants will differ depending on your needs.
- If dryness is your issue – silicone-based ones last longer and are your best bet
- If your vagina is prone to yeast infections – the ones with glycerin can irritate and kill the good bacteria, making you infection-prone; hence best to avoid them
- If you are trying to get pregnant – choose lubricants that are spermicide free
- You use condoms for safe sex – avoid using oil-based lubricants as they can destroy latex condoms
Discuss with your partner openly. Lubrication will ensure that you both have a comfortable sexual experience. Sometimes, a personal lubricant needs to be used; sometimes, more foreplay does the trick. Consult your gynaecologist before picking any lubricant.