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Why You May Be Struggling With Getting "Wet Enough"

If things aren't exactly flowing as they should, check this out.

Women's Health

I love being a woman. I really do. I'm reminded of this, every time I read, research or revisit something about us that is so intricately designed that I can't help but smile. And yes, vaginal lubrication is on the list. Aside from the fact that it helps to make sexual intercourse so much more pleasurable (because the wetter we are, the less friction and/or pain that we feel), when the glands in our cervix and vaginal walls produce lubricant, it also helps to keep our genitalia from tearing or experiencing some other type of injury.


While it should go on record that on the wetness tip, there is cervical fluid (it's what switches up based on where we are on our cycles), vaginal sweat (which comes from the sweat glands) and white secretion (which is what many think comes out when we squirt), when it comes to actual lubrication and what we need to keep us "wet enough", it's cervical fluid — a fluid that's made up of carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids — that's most essential. When this isn't flowing as consistently or as much as you're used to, it's usually a sign that one (or more) of the following seven things are happening. Are you ready to learn more about what those things actually are?

1. Dehydration

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I will be the first person to say that water is boring. The way I tend to describe it is, it's like drinking wet air. That doesn't change the fact that we all need it — every part of us too. For instance, did you know that one telling sign that you very well could be dehydrated is if your vagina isn't producing enough lubrication? This doesn't just mean your actual vagina (the internal canal that goes all the way up to your cervix) but your vulva (your labia which consists of your outer and inner lips) too. When that happens, it could lead to vaginal irritation which could eventually trigger a vaginal infection. So, if you can't remember the last time that you had 6-8 glasses of water in a day, let this be your inspiration. A wet vagina is a healthy vagina and water certainly helps to make it all possible.

2. Hormonal Imbalance

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This point right here is a bit of a doozy because all kinds of things can play a role in your hormones being a bit off kilter including your period, pregnancy, perimenopause (the years that lead into menopause) and menopause itself. The reason why is because estrogen plays a really big role in how much lubrication your vagina produces. This means that when this particular hormone level is low, it can result in your walls feeling dry, thinning out or becoming inflamed.

What this all boils down to overall is you should be proactive about keeping your hormones balanced. You can do this by first seeing your doctor if you sense that things are a bit "off". Also, there are things that you can do at home including consuming more protein, exercising, keeping your stress levels down (more on that in a bit), drinking green tea (it helps to keep your insulin levels intact which ultimately can keep your hormones balanced out) and getting a good night's rest — not some of the time…all of the time.

3. Poor Diet

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Having a poor diet affects everything about us. No doubt about that. That said, did you know that in order for your vagina to remain "moisturized", you need to consume less salt, sugar, alcohol, soy and fried foods because all of these are linked to dehydration? Instead, check out the article that I wrote a while back entitled "These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave". Also, foods that contain a lot of water (like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, zucchini and lettuce) and foods that are high in fatty acids (like raw pumpkin, tuna, spinach, flaxseeds and Brussels Sprouts) can help you to get those juices flowing too.

4. Infections

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When you've got a vaginal infection, it can literally infect the mucous lining of your vagina and that can lead to dryness as well. Which infections can cause this to happen the most? From what I've read and researched, it's bacterial and yeast infections that top the list. Surprisingly enough, an STD doesn't typically lead to women not producing enough lubrication. Either way, if you're experiencing burning, itching, irritation, change in discharge or yes, vaginal dryness and none of the other things on this list seem to check out, make an appointment to see your doctor. There could be an infection lurking around that you didn't know was happening.

5. Depression

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Remember how I talked about estrogen a little while ago? Well, another indication that yours may be lower than it should is if you are feeling signs of being depressed — anxiety, a low libido, sleeplessness, constant fatigue, helplessness, irritability, excessive crying, overeating or undereating, constant negativity and/or suicidal thoughts. The reason why low estrogen is tied into all of this is because, when estrogen is flowing well throughout your system, it helps to trigger the production of serotonin which helps to keep you in a positive mood. That's why, if you sense that you may be depressed, it's a good idea to not only speak with a reputable counselor/therapist but to get your hormone levels checked too. Sometimes, a little bit of hormone therapy can get things back to where they're supposed to be — from head to toe.

6. Wack Ass Foreplay

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A couple of years ago, GQ published an article that made me chuckle a bit. The title was "This Is How Long Sex Should Last (From a Woman's Point of View)". The reason why I found it to be so humorous is because, once again, it's a reminder that there is entertainment culture and then there is real life. While I have shared before that it typically takes us somewhere between 20-25 minutes to climax while it only takes guys (on average) a whopping five minutes (chile), what the article stated (according to some polls) is most women only need (and even want) 11 minutes of foreplay and 10 minutes of intercourse — contrary to all of those R&B songs about having sex all night long.

Listen, I believe I've still got a good three rounds in me (I think…LOL); however, I've had past sex partners who seemed to go on and on FOREVER and all it did was lead to soreness. So no, I don't think most of us want to have sex for hours on end. At the same time, a guy who sucks at foreplay is someone who can definitely cause your vagina to not be very impressed — and a great sign that "she's" not is if she remains dry. Barely damp even. Moral to the story? A great lover is gonna make you more than moist. You can take that to the bank every time.

7. Stress

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The older I get, the less I allow stressful people, places, things and ideas infiltrate my space. I refuse to choose to let things wreck my physical health and peace of mind. You shouldn't either because, aside from a billion other things that stress has a tendency to do, one that goes oftentimes overlooked is it can — yep, you guessed it — result in your vagina not getting as wet as it should. How? Well, when you're mentally or emotionally anxious, upset or tense, that can affect your blood circulation and that can hinder vaginal lubrication. Why would you let someone or something dry out your vagina when you can prevent it? For the sake of your health and well-being, please do (prevent it), sis.

To learn more about all things vaginal health and wellness, check out the xoNecole Women's Health section here.

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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