Vaginal dryness: It’s a topic no one really wants to talk about at length, aside from those silver-haired seductresses in the Osphena commercials, but as of late, “cotton vagina” has kind of become a thing. There’s been a fair amount of hype over the fact that smoking cannabis might temporarily dry you out. And all this time we were thinking it was making sex better! Or maybe I’m the only one who’s that oblivious. But, really? As if there’s not already enough to worry about, what with remembering to keep tampons around once a month and trying not to get pregnant. All guys have to deal with is coke dick. Big deal. And yes, while on the topic, doing cocaine or drinking too much alcohol, as well the accompanying hangover, for that matter, can rudely dry you out as well, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Some revere cannabis as a delightful aphrodisiac, hailing it as “nature’s Viagra,” while some condemn it as a libido depressant. Many say it helps you slow down, making sex a more sensual, languid experience and helping you enjoy the moment. I’d say it stands to reason if you like cannabis to begin with, you’re going to like having sex when you’re high on it. That is, of course, if you like having sex. It also depends on the strain and your mood. Some claim it’s only certain strains that will cause the mucus membranes to dry, which only reasserts the truth that your choice of cannabis strain is paramount. Most sexologists will recommend a sativa or a hybrid mix for the occasion, since they’re known to create euphoric feelings. There are also some strains, like “Fucking Incredible” and “Love Potion #9”, whose names say it all.
Side note: A 2009 study performed by the Australian Research Center in Sex reported daily cannabis users have double the likelihood of reporting two or more sexual partners as opposed to non-users. Perhaps it makes you hornier or maybe smokers are just hornier to begin with. Who knows? This same study also found a connection between premature ejaculation and frequent cannabis use in dudes. Other studies have linked it to increased levels of oxytocin, or more casually known as the “cuddling hormone.”
But little had ever come up about the issue of dryness until Vice brought it to attention back in May, noting it had been brought to their attention by a bunch of internet forums. And yes, “cotton vagina” is on Urban Dictionary, and has been since early 2012, defined as—duh—“an experience of dryness when stoned during intercourse.” I mean, a vagina is similar to a mouth, so it’s only logical that if something makes your mouth dry it will have a similar, if not essentially identical, effect on other mucus-producing orifices, right? Sexy stuff, I know. But it had never come up amongst my friends and me, and we enjoy cannabis just as much as we enjoy sex—and at times, talking about sex. Which is a lot.
Personally speaking, I have never noticed dryness, at least not a hindering amount, the times I’ve had sex while high. Perhaps that’s because I was high, but doubtful. That’s the sort of annoying thing you observe, much as you might prefer to ignore it. To get the crux of the matter, Iturned to a group of unofficial experts: my aforementioned cannabis-smoking, sex-having friends. One had this to say: “We [my boyfriend and I] smoke so much and have sex pretty much every day, but no dry vag. Maybe if I only smoke once in awhile, but it’s always, so maybe if it affected me my body adjusted to it.” She then changed the subject: “Giving BJs is tough with dry mouth.” True! (If you’re all about oral sex or making out for hours, opt for a THC-dosed hard candy instead of a joint or blunt, especially one made with tobacco leaf, since that will dry your mouth out even more.) Another simply said, “I love having sex stoned.” One reasoned it should only cause dryness if you were to smoke with your vagina, not your mouth; she was probably high when I asked her. When I wrote a third, inquiring her opinion on “smoking pot and dry vaginas,” she responded, “This text made me cry with laughter. I’ll think about this.” I have yet to hear back from her. I asked a few guys, too, and the general consensus is that no one had particularly observed such a pattern.
This is because it might not be true after all. The reason smoking cannabis can cause cotton mouth is the existence of a cannabinoid receptor in the mouth’s salivary gland, which decreases the amount of saliva. It doesn’t affect the production of spit on a deeper level, like by going through the bloodstream. Dissimilarly, vaginal lubrication is a result of blood flow to the area, and vaginas swell with blood when they are aroused. The swelling increases pressure, which lubricates the vaginal walls, also known as a “sweating reaction.” Backing up, natural lubrication is essentially just water and proteins, which can also contain amino acids and carbohydrates, that’s emitted from the blood via capillaries. Then again, there is a common misconception—and not to generalize, but it’s a falsity generally made by men—that there’s necessarily a direct correlation between lubrication and arousal. Sometimes there’s just no rhyme or reason to it. If I had a nickel for every time I had a guy tell me how turned on I must be just because I’m wet… well, I won’t tell you how much change I would have.
Perhaps it’s because there are a plethora of factors that influence wetness, or lack thereof, like hormone levels, which affect the production of cervical mucus; birth control, which lowers the amount of estrogen in the body (low amounts of estrogen can cause dryness, which is why women who are breastfeeding or post-menopausal might experience it, too); and anxiety, which inhibits blood flow. Some women happen to get more lubricated during ovulation, others experience the opposite. Like snowflakes (okay, sometimes dry snowflakes), every vagina is unique, different and most particular.
Regardless of the cause, there’s an obviously easy fix for this: Lube! You can also just use old-fashioned coconut oil, which has cemented itself as a permanently popular do-all (literally) natural product in recent years. Just remember if you’re using a latex condom, oil can break it down, rendering it useless. Or opt for Foria, the super-lube that’s made with cannabis. Also, drink lots of water. Drinking a lot of water is basically the answer for everything. So go off: get high, get it on, and, of course, stay hydrated.