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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Help! I Have Too Much Lube!

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I thought it was funny when I ran across the article "Stop The Presses! Lubricant Makes Sex More Pleasurable!" because while I am sure that is the case for many women, a few women experience more problems than benefits with lubrication. In my case, my sweet spot generates entirely too much lubrication—so much, in fact, that it makes sex less pleasurable. While it is fun in the beginning, I find myself stopping to wipe off several times. Eventually we reach a point where things grind to a halt because there is hardly any friction at all. I tried to explain this to my gynecologist, who replied with a laugh and a "You WANT it to be slippery!" My doctor won't listen to me because she thinks it's silly of me to want less lubrication when most women have the problem of not having enough. There may be fewer women like me out there, but it is definitely a real problem. Any advice on how to turn down the water works?

Thanks for your question and for reminding me and my readers that there is a huge range of variation in human sexual response. You're right that most questions about lubricant focus on problems that occur when not enough lube is present and make the assumption that more lube always equals better sex—so much so that we forget that there can be problems on the opposite end of the spectrum as well.

Unfortunately for folks who find that they naturally produce too much lubricant, there is not a lot of research, advice or products out there to address this issue, partly because it's less common and partly because it's easier to add artificial lubricant to a dry situation than it is to get the body to stop producing its normal fluids.

The amount of lubrication that the vagina produces is impacted by age, level of arousal, menstrual cycle, medications and alcohol use, among other things. When people talk to me about not producing enough lubricant, I often ask if they are taking hormonal contraception, antidepressants or antihistamines (cold or allergy medicines) on a regular basis, since these meds can reduce the body's natural level of lubrication. However, I am reluctant to suggest taking any of these medications solely for the purpose of slowing lube production, since they will obviously impact your body in other significant ways as well.

You may want to start charting your menstrual cycle to see if you produce more lubricant at different times of the month. It's common for women to feel more slippery around the time of ovulation and less slippery afterward. Some people chart their menstrual cycles to encourage or avoid pregnancy, but there's no reason that you couldn't use such a chart to plan sex for days when you are likely to produce less lubricant and therefore have more pleasurable friction. Toni Weschler's excellent book Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a good resource for this.

Since your current health care provider does not take your questions seriously, I would recommend consulting with another. I talked to my SEXpress medical consultant, Mark P. Behar, PA-C, to see what he had to say about this issue and whether he had any recommendations more helpful than mine.

Unfortunately, Behar did not know of any research or medications other than the ones I mentioned above that could be used to address this issue. However, he did offer some insights about the complex nature of sexual arousal and stimulation.

"There is medical controversy regarding the nature of different erotic sites in women," Behar says. "Anthropologist Desmond Morris was one of the scientists who popularized the concept of the 'G- spot,' and also discussed other erotic areas, including the 'U-spot' and the 'A-spot,' which join the clitoris as sites of concentrated nerve and/or glandular areas that are sensitive to sexual stimulation." See http://www.heretical.com/miscella/g-spots.html for more information.

"The best analogy from my gay male perspective is that everyone has different areas that are extremely sensitive to touch, especially during intimacy with someone else," Behar says. "Some people's ears, lips, necks or nipples are exceptionally sensitive and highly arousable. Others have only a singular sensitivity—their penis! I cannot explain why this is so. Some men are heavy "pre-cummers" and others never have any pre-cum. Sometimes it just depends, and can vary. Why this is so, I cannot say. Some men have very large ejaculations, others not. That I can explain, based on the anatomy and physiology of the prostate gland, which is the gland that produces the largest constituent of semen. Why some men's prostates are more active than others, are probably due to predictable nerve stimulation and hormonal fluctuations, as well as other things.

"Women's physiology is probably just as complicated, if not more so," Behar says. "Both men and women have urethral and paraurethral glands that produce secretions. Some people's glands are probably larger and more metabolically active than others. In men, these glandular secretions comprise the pre-seminal fluids (pre-cum). In women, these have not been studied as thoroughly as in men."

I know that neither Behar nor I are providing a solid answer to your question, which, as Behar states, is partly due to lack of research about women's bodies in particular. I agree that different types of touch and different sexual positions can be more or less arousing to individuals, so experimenting with positions or techniques that are pleasurable to you but seem to produce less lubricant (for example, avoiding direct G-spot stimulation IF such stimulation impacts the amount of lube you create) might also work. I welcome reader comments and suggestions from folks who have similar issues and advice to offer!

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to
laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the
Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

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