Friction, which is a force resisting motion between two surfaces describes aspects of motion. In absence of the material to sufficiently smoothen the contact and movement between surfaces, it continually goes on and most often leads to corrosion of surfaces involved. Sex, which follows similar physical motions, is affected by friction in the same way as it affects every other surface.
Female human bodies produce sufficient levels of lubrication triggered by arousal to help smoothen movements and limit pain caused my negative effects of friction. Sex, which is most often and conventionally characterized by thrusting to achieve penetration requires lubrication. The lubrication is naturally produced to lubricate a woman’s vagina, it is always present but significantly increases around ovulation or when sexually aroused in anticipation of intercourse. When there is little lubrication, the act of penetration often causes pain and discomfort which has far reaching consequences such as psychological effects. The condition of insufficient lubrication is part of sexual pain disorder, with a subtype called dyspareunia.
The causes of dryness vary and may include: Insufficient stimulation, hormonal changes that come with menopause, pregnancy, breast feeding, some medications, and anxiety about intimacy. Vaginal dryness can also be a symptom of an underlying illness such as Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder where the body destroys its own moisture producing glands. Less estrogen levels associated with old age are also synonymous with vaginal dryness.
Since the vaginal lining has no glands, external lubrication is usually the only way to alleviate most of these problems, personal lubricants have been used, many of which have been reported to be very helpful in handling painful intercourse associated with vaginal dryness.
Personal lubricants also usually termed as lube which is applied at the opening of the vagina, on the penis helps to add to the lubricating properties of natural lubricants and relieve pain and discomfort, a vaginal pessary can also been used for lubrication.
The recommended lubricants are usually water or silicon based and fertility preserving lubricants. Since water based lubricants are usually absorbed into the skin, evaporate and dry out during sex, they usually require reapplication after some time.
The use of oil based lubricants is often discouraged as these can reduce the effectiveness of condoms by weakening latex. These usually cause the slipping and breakage of condoms due to loss of elasticity.
There are some disadvantages associated with the use of lubricants, some lubricants contain antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine that can cause imbalance to natural vaginal flora which may lead to infections. Some people experience irritation when they use certain types of lubricants.
- “Optimizing Natural Fertility” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- “SEXUALITY IN OLDER WOMEN AND THEIR PARTNERS: AGE-RELATED FACTORS THAT IMPACT SEXUAL FUNCTIONING”. sexualityandu.ca. 2008. Retrieved 10 August2010.