Getting Wet During Sex: Types, Causes, And What Is Normal
Getting Wet During Sex: Types, Causes, And What Is Normal

Getting Wet During Sex: Types, Causes, And What Is Normal

Vaginal discharge, also known as vaginal wetness or lubrication, is a normal part of female anatomy essential to sexual health and functioning. However, misconceptions abound regarding how much wetness is normal, what constitutes “too much”, and what the various types of discharge mean.

This article explores the physiology behind vaginal lubrication, the healthy purpose it serves, and the many reasons natural variation occurs from day to day or woman to woman. You’ll also learn how to categorize discharge by sight, feel, or smell to distinguish normal secretions from potential infections needing evaluation.

Demystifying Your Vagina’s Varied Vaginal Secretions

The vagina is masterful at keeping itself clean thanks to a combination of mucus, fluid, cells, and bacterial flora which maintain an optimal chemical balance. This discharge comes from three places: 

  • Cervical Fluid – Produced by the cervix, this clear, stretchy mucus facilitates sperm motility and travels through acidic vaginal channels. Quantity peaks at ovulation.
  • Bartholin Glands – These secrete mucus around the vaginal opening, moistening the vestibule area during sexual arousal or stimulation.
  • Vaginal Walls – Complex vascular structures within the canal walls “sweat” fluid during the arousal phase as blood flow increases.  

These secretions commingle to create various types of wetness:

1. Arousal Fluid: Lubrication

Bartholin and sweat gland secretions provide welcome slickness, getting wet during sex, and facilitating frictionless penetration. Texture can range from thin and watery to thick like egg whites over a woman’s cycle. Women note increased lubrication when ovulating.

2. Daily Discharge: Cleansing Agents

Most days the vagina maintains itself through lighter secretions carrying away dead cells or bacteria. This discharge varies from whitish to clear strings with mild odor. Texture may seem cottage cheese-like due to changes over the menstrual cycle.

3. Period Fluid: Menstrual Flow 

The most familiar wetness comes during menses, turning red/brown with blood from the uterus. Clots may pass through cervical mucus, extending flow beyond the typical 3-7 days. Regular variation or inconsistencies are common.

What’s Normal? Interpreting Common Characteristics 

When is vaginal discharge considered normal or abnormal? Some pH testing and microscopic analysis provide definitive answers. However, looking for these general characteristics offers helpful guidelines: 

  • Color – Healthy discharge ranges from clear to white depending on cycle timing. Any shades of yellow, green, or grey likely indicate infection or chemical changes.
  • Texture – Consistency varies from thin and slippery to pasty or clumpy when examined between fingers. Menstrual flow appears thicker and heavier.
  • Odor – Normal secretions carry mild scents from bacteria or body chemistries. Fishy, foul or pungently sweet odors suggest potential imbalances or foreign microbes.  
  • Volume – Only a teaspoon or two of wetness each day is needed to keep the vagina healthy. Significantly more overflow likely signals excess fluid production.

What Influences Vaginal Lubrication Volume?

On average, women produce around 1-2 teaspoons of discharge per day needed for optimal functioning. However, volume varies greatly based on these factors: 

  • Age – Puberty brings increased estrogen thickening mucus. After menopause vaginal tissues atrophy causing dryness. 
  • Menstrual Cycle – Estrogen surges mid-cycle and boosts cervical fluids dramatically to facilitate conception. 
  • Sexual Activity Levels – More frequent arousal from foreplay or intercourse stimulates glands to release moisture.
  • Contraceptives – Birth control pills or vaginal rings adding estrogen promote mucus production and lubrication.
  • Pregnancy – Rising progesterone thickens fluids to form a protective mucus plug in the cervix during gestation. Postpartum discharge clears this excess.  
  • Medications – Antibiotics, antihistamines, antifungals, and more influence chemical balances, thin secretions, or change odor.
  • Vaginal Infections – Yeast, bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted illnesses increase thin white discharge.  
  • Chemical Irritation – Douches, lubricants, vaginal sprays, scented soaps, or laundry detergent residues can strip protective oils.

When Wetness Warrants a Doctor’s Visit 

See your physician promptly with any of these discharge changes:

  • Heavy discharge flooding through pads/tampons
  • Burning pain around the vulva or labia
  • Visible cuts, sores redness, or swelling  
  • Loss of elasticity, tissue paper-thin feeling
  • Green/grey/yellow coloring
  • Strong fishy or foul odor
  • Itching or inflammation
  • Discomfort urinating   

Getting to the Bottom of Bothersome Wetness

If excess vaginal discharge bothers you – take action beyond guessing or worrying. Even if symptoms subside, take notes of all characteristics to share with your practitioner. 

Primary care doctors assess symptoms and use pH tests or microscopic analyses to determine infections. A pelvic exam checks for signs of cervical inflammation and takes vaginal cultures to uncover imbalanced bacteria levels.

If initial testing is inconclusive, referral to gynecologists allows for advanced hormonal blood panels, ultrasound, or exploratory scope inserts. The goal is to pinpoint causes for appropriate treatment.

Managing Excessive Lubrication Medically: Getting excessively wet during sex is a common issue that many women face, but rest assured there are solutions. Being open with your partner and trying different positions, barriers, or toys can help overcome the obstacles of over-lubrication. Most importantly, accept that generous lubrication is a sign of functioning anatomy, not anything gross or shameful despite How Not To Get Too Wet During Sex.

Treatments target diagnosed specific issues:

  • Bacterial or yeast infections – Antibacterial/antifungal medications prescribed
  • Hormonal imbalances – Hormone regulating contraceptives recommended
  • Menopausal atrophy – Vaginal estrogen applications ease dryness  
  • Foreign irritants – Advise vagina-friendly soaps/cleansers 
  • Allergic reactions – Identify and eliminate trigger allergens
  • Autoimmune disorder symptoms – Immunosuppressant therapy

In 5-10% of women reporting bothersome excessive wetness, no definable cause emerges. When no infection or anatomical irregularity shows up, referrals to pelvic floor physical therapists or sexologists prove most helpful.

Adapt Intimate Habits – Reduce Wetness Woes

Until resolving medical issues, try this adaptation to minimize interference from moisture:

  • Avoid douching or harsh chemical cleaners
  • Change sanitary products often to reduce skin irritation 
  • Choose breathable cotton underwear over occlusive synthetics
  • Rinse the vulvar area with water only – no perfumed soap
  • Blot excess wetness before oral sex or intercourse
  • Apply pressure with thighs during sex to absorb some lubrication
  • Use condoms/dental dams as barriers to limit fluid contact
  • Opt for positions allowing gravitational flow away from genitals 
  • Keep washcloths or small towels near bedding for moisture removal
  • Request a vibrating penis ring to promote friction if lubrication lessens sensation
  • Time arousal pacing and intercourse to happen at optimal wetness

While managing physical comfort, also address emotional aspects. Silence and shame surrounding struggles with sexual functioning delay resolution. Instead, open up dialogue with partners, support communities with women facing similar issues, and set realistic expectations about sexual response variation.  

Honor Your Body’s Unique Baseline Wetness

Aim to understand your individual anatomy and how it uniquely functions instead of judging variability. Avoid negative self-labeling surrounding symptoms of “too much” wetness. The vulva and vaginal canals have no numeric norm in lubrication volume produced during arousal. Variability exists across women, and even in the same woman from day to day.

Rather than pathologize temporary increases, view extra vaginal moisture as a sign of functioning healthy glands kicking into action when sexual stimuli prompt a need.

No matter what fluctuations occur short-term, long-standing excessive wetness or dryness deserves assessment to rule out solvable medical conditions interfering with sexual satisfaction.

Implementing healthy intimate habits and addressing underlying issues makes achieving your unique ideal lubrication landscape possible. With some effort in assessing and adjusting physiological, mental and emotional pieces influencing vaginal wetness, balanced moisture conservation supports incredible intercourse with less mess, stress, or shame.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Vaginitis.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bacterial Vaginosis.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Vaginal Discharge.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Vaginal discharge: What’s abnormal?
  5. MedlinePlus (NIH). Vaginal discharge.
  6. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Vaginal and vulvar atrophy.
  7. International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Female sexual dysfunction.
  8. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Bartholin’s gland cyst.
  9. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Vaginal discharge.
  10. Women’s Health Concern. Vaginal discharge.
About author


"Dr. Kamal Kumar, MD, a medical expert, and valued contributor to Article Thirteen, offers insightful healthcare perspectives and expertise on our platform."
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