Despite the fact that many women have long experienced pain and discomfort during intercourse due to vaginal dryness, for a long time there has been a stigma on vaginal dryness that has unfortunately led to shame and embarrassment for many women. 

The assumption has been that female partners should be turned on by simple gestures and touches from their partners, and when the arousal does not happen easily, female partners often blame themselves for their inability to become easily aroused. 

The feelings of guilt and shame that some women may face as a result of vaginal dryness and low sex drives only make it more difficult for them to produce natural vaginal lubrication and aid in reducing friction.

Contrary to what the general public may believe about the female sex drive, many studies have shown that vaginal dryness and a decline in sex drives have increased in recent decades and very commonly impact the lives of many women. 

Improper sex education has added to the misconception about female sex drives, leaving the majority of people misinformed about female sex hormones and vaginal dryness. 

Some may be unaware of what can cause women to have a low sex drive and experience vaginal dryness. The greatest held belief is that women can only experience vaginal dryness during and after menopause, but common causes impact the lives of females of all ages.

One of the most common reasons for pain and discomfort during intercourse is vaginal dryness– a lack of lubrication that leads to painful sex for many women. This occurrence may make it extremely difficult for women to get or remain aroused during sex. Other symptoms may include uncomfortable itching, burning, irritation or loss of interest in sex.

The most common causes of vaginal dryness include:

  • Menopause,
  • Childbirth,
  • Breastfeeding, and
  • Taking birth-control pills

Other causes may be related to stress, depression, cigarette-smoking and medical treatments such as chemotherapy. No matter the cause or reason, anyone with a vagina can experience dryness, and it is a very common occurrence that the majority of vagina holders experience at some point during their lifetimes.

Vaginal dryness can happen at any age; however, it is most commonly experienced by females during and after menopause. Recent studies show that 50% of menopausal and post-menopausal females experience increased vaginal dryness. 

For many women, having sex after menopause can become increasingly uncomfortable and painful due to hormone changes that affect libido and sex. For women who are or are not having sex, lubricants can and should be used to provide necessary moisture. 

Similarly to aging skin, the menopausal vagina needs to be moisturized regularly. Lubricating the vagina is an excellent and low-risk way to provide moisture. 

For those who experience discomfort from dryness, certain types lubricants can be applied multiple times per day and applied repeatedly as needed for longer-lasting moisture. 

Water-based lubricants require more frequent application than silicone-based personal lubricants, but finding the right lube is an exciting matter of testing and trying different types to find the perfect one for you.

Having postpartum sex may be difficult for many reasons. The body and mind are simultaneously going through many changes that may affect female sex organs and sex drive. 

Childbirth comes with some temporary hormonal imbalances as well as some life-changing truths (like becoming responsible for a brand new human). Motherhood is accompanied with mental, emotional and physical changes that come with no manuscript for how to cope.

Among the many changes the body may endure after pregnancy, vaginal dryness is one of the most common. Looking after a newborn or infant may lead to a decrease in anyone’s sex-drive, and physical changes only add to emotional postpartum distress.

In addition to emotional stress, postpartum intercourse might cause physical pain or be highly uncomfortable. About 40% of women surveyed have reported dryness even up to 6 months after giving birth.

Lubricants provide necessary moisture that is good to use during sex… and not during sex. If postpartum dryness causes pain or irritation for your sensitive skin, it is recommended to apply a soothing lubricant to help relieve such symptoms of discomfort. 

After giving birth, the vagina may never fully recover to prepartum status; however, frequent lubrication reduces the amount of time it takes for the vagina to return to prepartum status as much as possible, and sex lube use may be continued for an enhanced sexual experience well after prepartum status returns.

Oral contraceptive pills are commonly used for preventing pregnancy and other issues related to female menstruation. 

Side effects of the pill vary depending on the type of pill and the person taking them. Some people may notice the effects of the pill right away and others may not notice a change at all.

Depending on the type of pill, birth-control pills can have negative effects on libido that lead to vaginal dryness. Pills with lower estrogen levels seem to have the greatest impact on vaginal lubrication and may lead to dryness, causing pain and discomfort during intercourse. 

Frequent lubrication can help relieve discomfort associated with the pill without causing an adverse reaction.

Thankfully, there is a proven and immediate solution for treating vaginal dryness.

Lubricants may provide moisture to the vagina and eliminate dryness, allowing sex to be more pleasurable and painless. Lubricating the vagina can provide moisture during and apart from sexual intercourse. Lubricants provide rapid relief from dryness and are recommended for frequent use.

Note: Water-based lubricants require more frequent application, whereas silicone lubes are longer lasting.

- Karissa Jaxon 

April 22, 2022
Tags: Health