We’ve all heard stories of women’s lack of ability to climax during sex. Some say it’s not true, and that women are as good as men at reaching climax. Others claim women fake orgasms more often than not. For the sake of avoiding arguments, many people will try to convince us that it does not really matter, that orgasm isn’t everything, and that enjoying sex throughout is much more important.
Well, then, let’s talk about why many women are not able to actually experience the pleasure of sex?
One of the key reasons could be vaginal dryness.
Vagina is lubricated by many glands, some of which are deep inside, at the neck of the womb, others almost outside, in the labia. They keep the vagina supple and moist when it’s idle, and make it slippery when it’s excited. When, for whatever reason, these glands run dry, a woman can experience discomfort, itching and painful sex, sometimes even followed by spotting or bleeding due to tissue damage.
Extensive vaginal lubrication begins during the excitement stage of sexual arousal before the erection of the clitoris. Although typically associated with menopausal women, vaginal dryness have been noted in many as 17% of women in the 18-50 range. It can be attributed to:
Levels of oestrogen
Change in hormone levels have a tremendous impact on sexual desires. Women who have recently given birth, or those who are breastfeeding can often experience vaginal dryness for the loss of oestrogen during these bodily changes. On the other hand, excessive levels of oestrogen can also lead to vaginal dryness.
Certain medications, such as allergy and cold medicines, asthma medications and other drugs that contain antihistamines, can cause general dryness within the body and hence result in vaginal dryness. Radiation can also be the cause of it, so cancer patients are likely to suffer from dryness, among all the other side-effects of radiotherapy.
Stress or other psychological reasons
Like with most medical conditions, stress can often play a huge role in causing imbalance, and consequent lower libido. Similarly, changes in the relationship, feeling towards the partner, or general happiness levels can affect arousal.
Lack of sufficient foreplay
In many women, vaginal dryness can be associated with lack of sufficient foreplay or intimacy. Women who have been noted to lack any solid connection with a sexual partner can exhibit signs of vaginal dryness. Likewise, women whose sexual partners attempt to forgo the foreplay will often not reach vaginal lubrication and as a result will experience sex as painful or uncomfortable.
We women know how sensitive men are when it comes to sex. We often don’t want to hurt their feelings by telling them they are doing something wrong – and I’m only partly joking here. Despite this, make sure you talk to your partner if you experience pain during intercourse. Maybe you just need that extra bit of effort or extra bit of time put into foreplay that will ensure safe and pleasurable sex.
Vaginal dryness can be temporarily overcome by using vaginal moisturisers which can usually be bought over-the-counter, or vaginal lubricants before and during sexual intercourse. However, if you think you may be experiencing vaginal dryness talk to your GP to try to understand what causes it. If it’s medication – maybe they will be able to recommend a different therapy. If it’s stress, maybe a change of lifestyle or a few sessions with a psychologist might do the job.
You are not alone, so don’t suffer in silence.