While ‘getting wet’ is fairly synonymous with sexual arousal, the two are not mutually exclusive. Just like someone with a penis can get erections out of the blue, and can equally have a hard time getting erect when they are aroused, getting wet is much more than purely erotic.
So what exactly is going on down there?
First off, to say that you’re ‘getting wet’ is a little misleading, as the vagina is fairly wet all of the time and varying amounts of discharge in your undies every day is totally normal (just watch for texture and scent irregularities). However that wetness and the lubrication from being sexually aroused are not quite the same thing, with our day-to-day wetness coming mostly from glands in the cervix and vaginal walls.
When we are physically aroused, blood rushes to our genitals. If you have a penis this typically results in an erection. If you have a vagina, it causes swelling and stimulates the Bartholin’s gland which releases a slick and slippery fluid, that feels different from your daily wetness. The Skene’s gland, which is thought to be related to squirting, also contributes to wetness and lubrication at the vaginal opening during arousal, as does good ol’ sweat!
The quantity and consistency will vary HUGELY from person to person and can affected by anything from hormones and stress to diet and medication. There is no normal when it comes to wetness. If a sexual partner makes you feel as though you’re too wet or guilts you into feeling that your lack of wetness is a reflection on how attracted you are to them, they are greatly mistaken. (Thank you, next.)
Being wet doesn’t always mean you’re in the mood for sex, and being in the mood for sex doesn’t always make you wet. If you’re mentally turned on but experiencing more dryness than feels comfortable, there are few things you can do.
Take your time.
We’re looking for blood flow here, so stimulating the clitoris either manually, orally or with your favorite external toy, is going to help more blood move into the area, activating the Bartholin’s gland.
Look at something sexy.
Maybe that just means turning the lights on and checking out your partner (or yourself!) or you could watch a little porn. Studies have shown that all genders can be physically aroused by visual stimulation but that people with vaginas are sensitive to things they may not have even thought were erotic to them. So explore some new search results :)
Lube is amazing even if you think you’re already ‘wet enough’ and 100% essential if you’re mentally aroused but your glands are slow to catch up. There seems to be a kind of taboo or embarrassment about lube (maybe it’s the sound of the word “lube!”) that we wish we could eradicate from the world. Lube makes sex comfortable. Lube helps prevent little rips and tears and irritation. Lube makes way more positions feel amazing. Lube is incredible.
The most important thing to remember is that wetness is there to make you comfortable. There is no such thing as too wet (heck, grab a towel if you’re really worried) and there is never ever any shame in loading up on a little extra lube. And if you're having dry spells in between, make sure to check it out with your doctor and use a lil' moisturizer like Kooch Quench.