Ask Professor Foxy: How Much or Little Lube Is Normal?

This weekly Saturday column “Ask Professor Foxy” will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.
Dear Professor Foxy,
There’s an issue I’ve been struggling with for a few years now, and I’m never quite sure whether it’s physical or mental. In a nutshell: I have very little to no natural lubrication. Even when I masturbate to orgasm, I don’t see a noticeable difference in how wet I become. Now, I know that lubricants are around for this precise purpose, but I’m afraid that I’ve mentally blown this out of proportion and that it’s had a huge effect on how I think about my sexuality. I have very limited partnered experience, and now I worry about potential partners: how to bring up my anatomical oddity, the lack of spontaneity inherent to dabbling with lube, not to mention fretting that what my dryness really means is that I’m just scared to have sex. I don’t think this is it – I have no other hang-ups about the idea of penetrative sex, but I worry that my preoccupation with this problem can only make things worse in the lube department. An endless cycle of anxious fun! To top it off, I’ve recently had some issues with pesky infections (which I’m now hopefully treating), which means that I’ve been associating my vagina with anything but pleasure.
I guess what I’m hoping to hear is that other women deal just fine with not lubricating naturally and have good sex lives despite it. I’m just sick of thinking that I’m the only one who frets about whether she’s really turned on, and who gets thrown right out of erotica the moment a woman mentions how wet she’s getting…
Thank you!
Tired of Being Anxious

As a sexuality educator, most of the questions I get fall into one large category: “what is normal? Am I normal?” The answer is that there is no normal and that applies here.
People’s naturally occurring lubricant varies widely: some folks become very wet very easily and stay wet, others produce very little and don’t stay wet, most are some place in between. The amount you produce will also change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle and in your life (postmenopausal women tend to produce much less). What matters in almost the entire “am I normal” category of questions is how the person feels about whatever they are asking. With the amount of wondrous variation we all have, there is no normal, there is only acceptance.
You do not have an abnormal lack of wetness, you have wet is normal for you. The most important thing to do is to get to a place of acceptance about yourself and your body. I am not saying this is easy or an overnight process, but once you are there potential partners tend to follow. On the flip side, potential partners who are not accepting are rarely partners worth having.
Artificial lubricant has moved fully into mainstream sexual practice. Hell, even Wal-Mart carries it. I would suggest buying a bottle (not from Wal-Mart) and trying it out by yourself. See how it feels different to masturbate with lube and without. Which experience do you like better? Or do you like both and can now switch it up to keep things interesting. Babeland offers a sampler pack.
When you do have sexual experiences with others, I do not think there is a need to have a conversation with partners. Simply pull your bottle out and use the lube as necessary. Think of how sexy it will look when you apply it to yourself or your partner’s fingers, toys, or penis.
This can become natural to you as you begin to incorporate the lube. Many, many people use lube and even more people find it incredibly hot when their sexual partners have a bottle(s) ready. There are a plethora of lubes out there, find one that you can claim as your own. Love your body for what it does and does not do, others will follow.
Professor Foxy
If you have a question for Professor Foxy, send it to ProfessorFoxyATfeministingDOTcom.

Join the Conversation

  • gothhenge

    I just want to say something on the “lack of spontaneity” issue: lube can be both fun and spontaneous :) Just keep it by the nightstand, at the ready. My wife and I use it all the time, and our sex life is wonderful :) As long as you don’t get too preoccupied about not making your own lube, you can enjoy playing with that little magical bottle :) Turn it into a sexy game, and enjoy it :)
    As for which type of lube to use, we prefer JO. We’ve discovered it can be a little hard to find; some (but not all) CVS stores carry it, and we’ve not seen it elsewhere. They make both a water-based and a silicone-based lube. Both are very good; we have a slight preference for the silicone-based one. It stays slick for a really long time; one application can last us an hour or longer. And it doesn’t get tacky like AstroGlide can.
    Remember, sex is supposed to be fun :)
    Good reply, Professor, and good luck, Toba :)

  • Brett K

    Agreed. Now that my partner and I have incorporated into our sex life, it is far from awkward and is, as you and Prof. Foxy both said, a fun and erotic part of the whole sexual experience. Also, I highly recommend Hathor Aphrodisia for anyone interested in trying a new type of lube. It’s a bit hard to find, but definitely worth it.

  • cebes

    Just for gods’ sakes, don’t run out and get some crud like KY or Astroglide. Find one that’s actually female-friendly. I’ll make a plug for Sliquid. Good texture, zero taste, doesn’t get gross and sticky. But that Babeland sampler pack looks like a great deal.

  • JGirl

    Hi. I’m not sure if this is the route you want to go, but I used to take Damiana (the herb) for that same problem. It makes me lube up like there is no tomorrow. In fact, I ended up not taking anywhere near the dose on the bottle, because that was just way too much.
    For me, that situation was temporary, though, and related to my health. AND it might not work for everyone. Herbs are like that.
    Also, I think a good quality lube can add to the fun and play rather that taking away. I like that Babeland sampler pack idea.

  • uberhausfrau

    astroglide has a gel (comes in a purple tube) that’s much nicer than the oldschool liquid stuff. doesnt get near as sticky and less messy to apply.

  • paperispatient

    Just a reminder that if your bits are sensitive or if you’re prone to yeast infections, be careful what kinds of lube you try. I’m pretty YI-prone but have had no trouble with CVS’s glycerin- and paraben-free lube, though it tends to get a little sticky after a while.

  • bifemmefatale

    “Think of how sexy it will look when you apply it to yourself or your partner’s fingers, toys, or penis.”
    Can we not assume heterosexuality, please? The questioner didn’t specify what her orientation is or describe her partners with anything but “partner”.
    Otherwise, I agree with your reply, Prof. Foxy.

  • Josh Jasper

    I’m partial to silicone lube. For a guy, it’s important to have one that won’t dry out the same way water based ones do, but can also be used with a condom.

  • cebes

    No, that’s what the “or” means.
    If Foxy had written “fingers, toys, and penis,” that would have been assuming that the partner had a penis. “Fingers, toys, or penis” merely makes the assumption that when TOBA engages in “penetrative sex” she involves at least one finger, toy, or penis. That seems like a pretty reasonable assumption, no?

  • bifemmefatale

    But why not mention “penis or vagina” or just say “partner’s genitals”?

  • Carlynn

    Great response, Professor Foxy. I just want to add my two bits and make a plug for eco-sexy lubes (i.e ones that aren’t sketchy when it comes to the environment and your health). Two great ones were already mentioned: Hathor (paraben-free, Canadian made, and comes in a couple flavours) and Sliquid (vegan, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free). Two others that come to mind are Capotain (vegan, recyclable packaging, paraben-free) and YES (certified organic lube made by a company that received the Ethical Small Business Award and who signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics pact). I am a huge fan of the sisters behind Red Tent Sisters in Toronto who run this website where you can find all these lubes and more body-safe toys.
    Have fun! :o)

  • cebes

    Because Foxy is talking about TOBA’s concerns about her own wetness. And thinking about “how sexy it will look” is about helping to overcome concerns about her anxiety. She’s “been associating [her] vagina with anything but pleasure,” remember? This is a letter about helping TOBA with questions about her own lubrication and penetration.
    You’re just being a little trigger happy on the charge of heterosexism.

  • marissafromboston

    because the writer spoke about penetrative sex, during which one needs either a finger, object, or penis. the writer cannot be penetrated by a vagina.

  • chirizca

    just curious…why are ky and astroglide not female friendly?

  • AngeliKlaw

    TOBA –
    I feel what you’re going through. I’ve actually thought about my level of wetness while masturbating and having vaginal intercourse. When alone I barely seem to get wet – even when I’m hella turned on.
    But if the chemistry is shooting sparks with someone else, then I can get pretty wet. Unfortunately, I don’t turn myself on that much. I also tend to be wetter inside my vagina, but not around my vulva. So maybe your concern and anxiety might be further contributing to your level of wetness? Try to relax and let your juices do the talking.
    Now, I don’t know what other peoples’ thoughts are on this but my motto is: If you’re going to stick anything in me, you better lick my pussy first! Of course, you have to take the necessary precaution against STI’s and such, but if you find someone you trust and you both have been tested I say slobber away!
    Also, about the lube. Yes, have that ready! Just be mindful of silicone lubes. They can feel pretty fabulous, but do not use them on silicone sex toys or even condoms. Silicone lube has a liquifying agent in it that will literally melt silicone toys/condoms. So, you can use silicone lube just be careful. As far as I know, water-based lube has no bounds.
    Good luck with everything, TOBA!

  • paperispatient

    Just to clarify, you can use silicone lube with latex (and polyurethane) condoms. :)

  • Sex Toy James

    NO, you are spreading misinformation. Silicone lube is condom safe. You’re confusing it with oil based lubes which can break down latex. It does not have a liquefying agent. It’s just made of silicone and silicone toys can be silicone soluble.

  • MK

    I actually like KY, and have not found it to be “female unfriendly.” I think lube preference is a personal thing.
    Sliquid makes one of my favorite lubes, Sliquid Sassy Booty Formula.

  • firefoxx66

    I just wanted to point out that many health offices and sex-option offices/buildings/organizations often have small ‘trial-size’ packs of lube sitting around. They’re often pretty compact and can be fairly discrete (sometime even look like candy!). Perhaps see if you can source a box of those somewhere and you’ll have a great way to carry a few packets of lube with you in your purse to enable even more spontaneity!