Lubrication Talk

Ask Dinah your question

I have always had a problem with being fairly dry, even when aroused. Lately, we have been using lubricant, which seems to help. However, after my husband orgasms, I feel a burning sensation - focused in the lips - that can get pretty intense and uncomfortable. I thought at first that it was due to dryness, but it happens even after we have used lubrication. (And we aren't using the ones that cause a heated sensation; my doctor suggested a water based version so that it wouldn't get sticky and cause more irritation.) Sometimes, if I can re-lubricate or use a cool washcloth on the area, the sensation eases some. I do not have an infection of any kind... Is there a reason for this, or is there something we can do to prevent it? I have a hard enough time climaxing and this just kinds of adds to the problems that causes with interest.

Dinah answers: There are so many different kinds of lubricants, with tastes, colours, added sensations, textures and more. Your doctor was correct in suggesting that you switch to water-based lube, but still, not all water-based lubes are ideal for sensitive users. It is not certain that the lubricant is what is causing the problem, but as an initial test, I would recommend you switching to the purest form of lubricant possible. There are a few organic types on the market, I’d say that they are your best bet: as few chemicals as possible. Make sure that it is liquid lubricant and not gel. If this too causes a reaction, you should revisit your gynecologist and possibly also a dermatologist to locate the cause of the problem. Just accepting it is not an option in my book. You should not be having painful sex. In the meantime, I can also suggest having less vaginal sex, but rather finding intimacy and release in other ways. It may even take your love life up a notch.

I had a bullet vibrator which brought me extremely close (but never to) orgasm. However, it broke, so instead of getting a new one, I got a refund and upgraded to a vibrating dildo. It's pretty small, only 11cm, compared to the massive rabbit ones, so I thought it would be okay. But when I tried to use it, I can't insert it in my vagina as it really hurts and I can't get further than the tip. I've always been quite tight when using my own hand or my girlfriends. I wondered if you had any tips for smooth insertion? I'm sure if I spent a long time (it takes me forever to get fully aroused) with my girlfriend I would be able to be wide enough to use it, but when I just want a quick half hour play it's really frustrating! I'm reluctant to buy a lubricator as I'm about to start uni and on a tight budget, also I'm worried I may be allergic, as I have had previous problems with sensitive skin. Is there anything I can do to make myself both wet enough and wide enough if I just want to use it quickly by myself? Thanks

Dinah answers: Actually, your best bet is using a lubricant. I understand the budgetary restrictions, but if you get a bottle of liquid (not gel!) lube, you’ll find that a drop goes a long way and a bottle lasts forever. Of course, some lubes are better than others. If you are sensitive, you need the simplest one (like plain Astroglide) that has no extras and is water-based. Most other lubes contain glycerin, to which some people are allergic, but glycerin is a component of almost every cream and many soaps, so you would probably know if you have this allergy. Whatever you do, do not force anything into the vagina. If you are too tight for a small device, and you have interest in penetration, you could work carefully to stretch the vaginal muscles. This involves starting with something small, either a finger, a dilator or a thin, smooth toy and slowly increasing the size as it becomes comfortable. It is best to do this with a professional’s help, either a gynecologist or (better yet) a pelvic floor physiotherapist. In any case, they will recommend using a lubricant, especially if you have such a tough time getting aroused and lubricated by yourself. If you have only female partners, you could choose to live without penetration. In any case, you best chances of reaching orgasm involve the clitoris and not necessarily inserting anything into the vagina. For this, lube can also be helpful.

During sex my wife's vaginal secretion is very minimal. Please guide me how to increase it.

Dinah answers: The more turned on your wife is, the more she can lubricate. Give her more time, touch her more in the ways she enjoys and increase the sensuality of your sex, all this before you penetrate. If she tells you that she feels highly turned on but you feel that she isn’t very well lubricated, simply buy some lubricant and use a few drops on her and on you. Some women tend to stay dry even when they are stimulated, others have periods of dryness due to hormones, stress or medication. You can read more on lubrication and on the range of lubricants available.

Just about 3 hrs ago, I had sex with my boyfriend. We used a condom and always has finished in me with the condom. Today, after he finished, he immediately took out his penis to remove the condom and he noticed a fluid on the condom, which fell on his thigh and it was white and wet not sticky and it did not have an odor like regular cum. My boyfriend says his sperm does not usually look like that and its true, his usually look clear and sticky. we checked the condom and it did not break. First we checked it with the cum inside by squeezing it to see if there was a leak;there wasnt any. Then we filled it up with water to see if there was a leak and nothing came out of the condom, so we are certain that the condom did not break. But i dont know if that fluid was his or mine....WHAT SHOULD I DO??? Should i take the morning-after pill????

Dinah answers: Your really professional condom check proves that there was no tearing or leaking, so you don’t have to worry about pregnancy. It sounds like you have a yeast infection, because the yeasty, white paste that it causes tends to take on many different forms in different people. This is probably the best case scenario because yeast infections are usually easy to handle with a suitable anti-fungal cream that you buy at any pharmacy; most are available over the counter. The other option is that you have some other infection. In either case a gynecologist can know by taking a quick look and it can be confirmed with a simple test. Whatever it is, it is treatable, so don’t ignore it. Keep using condoms until you know whats going on. And well done on the quick action!

These days i no longer enjoy my sex life. i get wet before we have sex. and immediately the boyfriend put his penis inside me, its like a river. Why? and the sperms are whitish. what is this because i am worried.

Dinah answers: Many women who are unable to get wet without help will tell you that you are lucky to have such a problem. Of course, I am not suggesting that it is not a problem, but it is certainly easier to deal with than the opposite situation. A lot of wetness is nice and it usually indicates that you are well aroused, but too much wetness takes away the feeling for you and your partner. I suggest that you leave a small towel in arms length of where you have sex, and before he enters or in the middle of the act (let him pull out for a moment), just give a single wipe, and then carry on. You don’t wont to dry yourself off completely, just wipe away the excess. At the same time I recommend that you let a doctor have a look to make sure it isn’t an STD or some other problem.

my girlfriend and i was having sex. i came, and after right as i was coming, she started to come. so continued to ride her. after we had sex, i took off the condom and saw clear, silky, white fluid around the base of my shaft. when i told my gf to check and see if she had any on her she said it was probably her ovulation fluid. i feel like after i came and we continued to have sex for about 10 seconds, the cum might have escaped from the condom and into my pubic area. could the cum have transferred from my pubic area and into her? What does ovulation fluid look like so i can distinguish between my cum and her fluids. please help!

Dinah answers: There term “ovulation fluid” is not quite accurate. During the time around ovulation, a woman’s cervical mucus tends to get sticky and slightly thicker, but it is not quit milky white. It is more likely that what you have described is the milky discharge caused by a yeast infection (not an STD), but it is worthwhile checking out to make sure that she doesn’t have some form of STD. There is of course the possibility that there was leakage from the condom, depending on how quickly your erection went down afterwards. You are supposed to remove the condom soon after ejaculating, before you go soft. Condoms are stretchy so they don’t leak until you lose a significant part of the volume of your erection, but make sure in future that you don’t wait too long, or you run the risk of unplanned pregnancy and STDs.

I am 52, post menopausal with vaginal atrophy. I have been given a prescription for Vagifem. It’s a little messy, but mostly I am wondering about adverse taste and side effects to my BF performing oral sex on me while I am actively using the Vagifem. We have not tried oral since I have been on it and we both miss that greatly.

Dinah answers: It’s really a pity that the doctors who prescribe medication of this sort don’t explain how to work it into your sex life because it is, after all, medication for the vagina. It wouldn’t be too far fetched. Vagifem, or any other hormonal cream, tablet or ring can be absorbed by your partner either by oral sex or by intercourse, because it can just as easily be absorbed through his penile tissue. The answer is to find a time to use the treatment when you are not going to be having sex for at least 6-8 hours afterwards. You can use it in the morning if you tend to have sex at night, or visa versa. This may sound like it destroys your spontaneity, but the amount of estradiol (estrogen) that you actually need is very little, and dosage is typically reduced in a short time to as little as once a week. One other thing that needs to be said is that many women use more than they really need to. For this reason the cream may be better than pills or rings; you can reduce the amount you apply (in agreement with your physician) and see how well you react. Just remember creams for vaginal atrophy are NOT lubricants. If the medication has had time to work, you can wash yourself off before sex and then use as much water-based lubricant as you wish. Leave the cream to its purpose of reinforcing the vaginal tissue.

I am 43 and my girlfriend is 48. She uses vagifem as she has had a hysterectomy. During oral sex I can taste something that is not her. I am assuming that it is the vagifem. It is not offensive and it doesn't put me off at all. Am I possibly absorbing some of the oestrogen and if so, what effect might this have on me. I am normally lucky with my menstrual cycle, it runs at 28 days with ovulation occurring at 12 to 14 days. Since I have been with my girlfriend it has been off by days for both. I haven't spoken with my GP as I honestly don't think he'd know about the potential of the hormones. And he does tend to dismiss things like this. I do believe that a little can go a long way when talking any hormones.

Dinah answers: You are right to show some concern, because you probably will ingest hormones if she is applying them vaginally. The question is how much is she applying and how sensitive you are to this form of estrogen. Vagifem contains estradiol, a highly potent form of estrogen. It is considered safe and is also used among others, for oral contraceptives. Estradiol might affect your cycle if enough is ingested. It might also have other affects on your body, including negatively affecting your sexual response. A more specific discussion on the effects of any hormonal treatment on your body would have to be had with your physician, based on knowledge of your own hormonal levels and risk factors. I would suggest speaking to a gynecologist or endocrinologist instead of a GP or family physician. Since you should not have to be forced to forego oral sex because of this, simply avoid having sex of any kind for at least 6-8 hours after applying the treatment and then wash off the remainders, if there are any, before having sex. If you do find yourselves having sex within hours of application, you should use an oral dam. Many women are given standard dosages that are beyond what they really need. Your partner should try reducing her dosage, in consultation with her doctor.

I am a 58 year old female that has had a hysterectomy. I have extreme vaginal dryness that makes sex painful. The products I have tried cause burning (premarin vaginal cream, replens vaginal moisturizer). I am using Vagifem pills and they make the vagina plumper but I need lubrication. I have read that allergies to glycerin & paraben are common. What vaginal cream and vaginal lubricant doesn't have these ingredients?

Dinah answers: Today it is relatively easy to get hold of glycerin- or paraben-free lubricants, either in a good health store or over the internet. If you are sensitive and may need to shop around quite a bit before you find the right one for you. You should look out for samples, which a lot of the companies and online stores now offer. Regarding vaginal creams, discuss any side effects or reactions with your gynecologist. Premarin and other hormonal creams – like all medicines – work better on some than on others.

My husband doesn’t go down on me like he did (a little bit) when we first had sex, and I think it has something to do with the taste. I've heard about sweet tasting lubricants. Do you think that this could be the solution?

Dinah answers: You can’t expect your vulva to taste like fruit salad or chocolate fondue. It tastes like you – it’s your own signature scent, and he needs to acquire a taste for it. You can start off in small quantities, by letting him know that going down doesn’t mean him getting stuck down there until you orgasm; just let him stop over for tastes. As far as using flavoured lubricants goes, I don’t think that avoiding your natural taste and scent will ever allow you to feel comfortable during the act. More than that, the flavouring usually contains some form of sugar, and putting sugar straight into your vagina is a sure-fire way of triggering a yeast infection. I’m all for playing around safely with your sexually, but remember you need to be even stricter with what goes into your vagina than you are with what goes into your mouth.

I am 22 and have been having sex with my boyfriend for over a year. The sex usually lasts about 10 minutes, and I always start out very wet but dry up towards the end. Sometimes it even hurts before it's over. We tried messing around for longer before he enters, so that there would be more wetness, but it still does not last long enough. Is there a problem that causes me to go dry?

Dinah answers: Your drying up is very common in this situation. You are starting out very aroused, but the level of arousal is not being maintained, perhaps because your body, like that of most women, is not satisfied with vaginal stimulation alone. There are two important things to do. Firstly, add some clitoral stimulation either by finding positions that you can be stimulated during penetration, or by pulling out and adding oral sex or handwork. This should get your arousal level back up, so that you will be able to produce the natural lubrication that you are able to produce. In addition, get a bottle of lubricant and keep it close by. If you don’t want to stop what you’re doing, it is easy enough to add a few drops, with very little disturbance. Just dab it on the penis, the toy, or the vulva, and it will spread itself and give you that wet feeling immediately. If you continue having sex when you are dry, you can not only experience pain, which is never a good idea, but you can also damage the vaginal tissue and make it sore for the next time.