Now for something a little different. . . vaginal wetness

by | Aug 16, 2014 | Sex | 22 comments

sex comfortable underline So I’m standing in CVS after a workout (flushed and sweaty from kickboxing class) taking a look at More magazine, my favorite magazine for mature thinking women, and I flip through and notice a full-page ad for Premarin, a vaginal cream. The ad says something to the effect of, “No one tells you this will happen after menopause.” Premarin promises to ease pain during sex. The last line of the ad copy strikes me. The ad says this cream will help make intercourse more “comfortable.” Not pleasurable. Comfortable.

Comfortable sounds like a contrast to all the ads for Viagra, which are about taking charge. Virility. Masculinity. Theoretically, one takes Viagra for comfort (to feel more at ease knowing you can get an erection) but also because you have a desire to have sex. Comfortable sounds more like an accommodation to someone else’s desire to have sex rather than a desire the woman would have herself. Comfortable doesn’t sound like a very high goal to aim for in sex.

This ad sparked my interest because the title of my new book will be Wet. The literal definition of Wet when it comes to women is juicy down there (not dry or painful). I’m thinking about Wet on a metaphorical level, about what it means to have a quenched, intuitive, and turned-on life rather than a dry, dessicated, totally planned life.

In the many conversations I’m having with women and men, especially with women in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, the literal distinctions of wet vs. dry are popping up in conversation. It’s quite the topic–staying wet.

In Colorado at CU-Boulder, where I gave a talk Sex: Just Do It or Not earlier this year, I met J., a 71-year-old woman who told me she was in a very dry 27-year marriage, but now, with her new boyfriend, she is discovering a new level of sexual connection and turn-on that she never knew in two marriages.

She went from totally dry to wetter than ever.

This sense of wetness shows up in her verve for life too, which is one of the connections I’m drawing out in this book–authentic sensual energy fuels our desire and energy for life in general.

I loved meeting and J. and her story because it provides a counterpoint to the dominant message we hear about sex and getting older–that it’s all downhill, and that dryness is inevitable. And certainly she’s aiming for and discovering something for beyond comfort in sex. She’s discovering herself, a new vitality. Sex that turn her on as a woman, vs. just doing sex to please.

Sex that is “pleasurable” and “life-giving” and not just “comfortable.”

That’s something that women and men of all ages can aspire to.

From the wet point of view, that Premarin ad should be a little more aspirational.

P.S. In the Quirkyalone Labs we will dedicate time to discovering wetness. You can check out the details here.

P.P.S. You can also read about my Wet coaching here!

22 Comments

  1. Meena Avery

    Love this! Let’s go beyond “comfortable” as our goal for everything in life, especially sex!

    Reply
    • sasha

      Yes, totally! Especially when so much is possible through sex. . . comfortable is just the starting point.

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    Hi Sasha!

    It’s kind of disheartening that in 2014, women’s sexual enjoyment is still being undermined and put on the “back burner”. Isn’t the whole point of having post-menopausal sex to be pleasurable? After all, I would expect menopausal/ post-menopausal women not to be engaging in sex for procreative purposes, but for the purpose of pleasure! But there that thing called “culture”. And I can see how this dynamic can allow mere “comfortability” during sex to strike a cord in some people. A woman of particular culture may only really care about being comfortable during sex as opposed to enjoying it. Or maybe this statement about being comfortable is a way of telling women that they needn’t really enjoy sex, but at least not be in excruciating pain while their men get off!

    And by the way, the Kegelmaster has the dual benefit of decreasing vaginal wall atrophy (which equals pain) AND increasing pleasure by allowing more blood flow and sensation to the vagina. Better orgasms? YAY! Pleasure is the new comfortability!

    http://www.kegelmasters.com/kegelmaster-reduce-painful-intercourse/

    By the way, I love the metaphorical title of your next book, and I think it is so very fitting for the way life should be approached in general. Awesome! When will it be coming out?

    Reply
    • sasha

      I love that, pleasure is the new comfortability. Yes, let’s raise the bar here!

      I will check out the kegelmasters device. That’s very interesting. As I have started to talk about Wet more, and the coaching I will offer based on what I learned in writing and researching the book, women who suffer from vaginismus (vaginal pain) have been reaching out to me so I am learning about that. I see that vaginismus is listed on that page as a reason to use the device. In my own experience, I have used a Jade Egg to “tone” and exercise–a sensual experience on its own that maybe merits its own blog post.

      The book is coming along. Optimistically I would say in two years (the publication process is a long one). I am gathering an inner circle of wet readers to collaborate on the concept so if that interests you be sure to click here and sign up! https://sashacagen.com/wet

      It is fabulous to hear that the book is wanted, gives me motivation through the long journey of writing it!

      Reply
  3. Sharon

    Hell yeah!
    Cause who wants comfortable sex? Plus the five pages of side effects it probably has.
    How about a little coconut oil – a nice juicy, natural, silky slippery alternative to make sex way better than comfortable.

    Reply
    • sasha

      Nice! Coconut oil has so many great uses and it can be used for lube too–as long as it’s not used with condoms.

      Reply
  4. Camila

    I love this observation, Sasha! I also love hearing about older women and their good sex stories, gives me inspiration!

    Reply
    • sasha

      Absolutely. I love meeting and hearing stories from older wet women!

      Reply
  5. Dawn

    Yes! Sex should be “juicy” because we love it, not because that’s what’s expected. I just recently discovered “Quirky Alone” and can really relate. I’m excited about your new book, Wet, Sasha!

    So, to add a bit of uncomfortable truth and education to the whole Premarin thing…. Just another reason not to buy it.
    http://www.lcanimal.org/index.php/campaigns/other-issues/horses

    Yep, I’m one of “those” quirky-conscious-consumer-animal-lovers 🙂

    Reply
    • Mallee

      EXACTLY Dawn – what a turn off – torture of a poor horse for a woman to have comfortable sex – YUK – would rather NEVER have sex again thanks !

      Reply
      • Dawn

        Yes, Mallee! Women deserve to feel their bodily desires from a soul-place, not from a place of societal obligation. Especially not when other living creatures are being killed.

        Reply
    • Sandra

      Thank you for sharing that link…I’m often ashamed of how we treat our animals and our earth. It’s hard to read, but as a consumer it’s good to know.

      Reply
  6. gina

    I loved this post. Things like this and the issues that have come up regarding birth control make me anxious. In other countries where women are disfigured, the complete disregard for female sexual pleasure is overt. Here it is thinly veiled like in the example you pointed out. I’ve felt that my quest for sexual pleasure is a journey I take alone without the counsel or assistance of professional advice. It’s only me and my latest issue of Cosmo or my girls on the phone or over drinks or even chats with my 70 year old mom. My experience with the medical community now as I face peri-menopause is that my vagina must be “maintained,” kept moist and in good working order, but not necessarily for me. I never feel like the questions I’m asked about my sexual activity are genuinely about me. Through all my issues (and at no time since I’ve been going to the gyno now that I’m thinking about it), my pleasure is never a topic of conversation. “Here is a gel, put it on him, here is a pill, it will make it easier.” Just keep it in working order for all the men in my age group who need (or want) to take Viagra, remaining steadfastly penis-focused. I don’t need a pill, I don’t need a gel, I just need a partner who will take the time I need and do more than down a blue pill to get in the mood. I don’t want to be comfortable – I want my head to blow off. Can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
    • sasha

      Wow, Gina. This is a powerful comment. I’m so glad you shared this. “I never feel like the questions I’m asked about my sexual activity are genuinely about me.” That idea that your body, your vagina, is for others and not for you is exactly the attitude I want to counter with the book.

      I want to offer to you and others that I’m going to start offering “wet” coaching this fall to a limited number of people. This will based on all my experience and research in writing this book. . . about this literal wetness, but also wetness in life. . . how opening up this energy affects everything else in terms of empowerment, the ability to ask for what you want in the bedroom and out in life (at work, in stores, in relationships).

      If you want to explore that with me then write me a message!

      Reply
  7. Nina in Cleveland

    Okay I have a really different take on this, you guys. While I truly love the passion I hear in these comments (to say the least!)I think that maybe, just maybe, sexuality gets overly-politicized in general, and here is where I differ. I am post-menopausal, and not fighting it tooth and claw anymore…Have any of you respondents ever experienced the sheer DISCOMFORT of which we’re discussing? Is there anything wrong with taking a cream or a pill if it provides RELIEF from a condition that is frustrating and sometimes painful? This vaginal dryness is a NATURAL (not necessarily terrible) consequence of one’s aging hormones, specifically the reproductive system’s aging and, rail against it all you want, it’s a FACT OF LIFE FOR WOMEN (and our sexuality) WITH OR WITHOUT A PARTNER. You simply DON”T WANT TO BE DOING SEX if you’re not sufficiently lubricated (which, yes, when sexual relationship is new and thrilling, and for a while after, isn’t difficult BUUT what about down the road, assuming you want ‘down the road’ too) and guess what, that DOESN:T ALWAYS HAPPEN as readily in post-menopause: Does that make it BAD, or UNFAIR?? Maybe… BUT IT IS JUST WHAT IT IS. I am fifty-three and speak from experience; I believe comfort physically, and mentally, is pretty damned important as well, sometimes EQUALLY IMPORTANT. If you were really turned on by someone you were seeing but didn’t know them well and didn’t feel like you trusted them yet, wouldn’t you be a bit LESS COMFORTABLE about getting naked with them?(your answer might be different than mine..) Also, while feeling desire is a powerful thing, an amazing, transcendent thing, there is a point where it is NOT THE ONLY THING. Especially as I mature physically, and do experience that dryness more often, and also the lessening of intense sensitivity sometimes, I feel a sexual partner must take your pleasure (and your person) seriously: a really good partner WANTS to have you BE COMFORTABLE as well, because she or he knows that REALLY PLEASURABLE, SUSTAINABLE SEX- while you always have to be ‘horny-uncomfortable’ to start with OF COURSE- is also grounded in comfort and mutual sensitivity. So it really all depends on your viewpoint, and mine is from the ‘other side’ of the coin, so to speak. Just saying…

    Reply
    • Margarita Kleinman

      Wow, Nina, thanks for your comments! As a post-menopausal woman I totally relate to what you’re saying. And Sasha, I love your article, everything you said, and the points you make are very good ones. But it’s definitely true, that sex can’t be pleasurable if it’s not comfortable, and when you are a woman of a “certain age”, it can be very uncomfortable for all the reasons that Nina mentioned in her post. Of course “comfort” is not the ultimate goal, “pleasure” is……and that pleasure is not only about physical sensations, but the whole beautiful experience of closeness and oneness with a loved partner. But because the problem of discomfort (and even pain) is a reality for many post-menopausal women, even though the desire for love, sex, and intimacy is there, an ad that talks about making sex more “comfortable” is something we can relate to! Of course there are other, more natural ways and approaches to reducing the dryness without using a druggy cream that can have side effects and was made through causing suffering to an animal! Coconut oil sounds great, by the way:)

      Reply
  8. Sandra

    Hahahahaha, perfect. I knew I was getting old when my ob/gyn stopped asking me if I need birth control and instead asks if my periods are still coming regularly. Agh!
    And I agree, the way the ad addresses the benefits of the cream is a bit suppressive…society as a whole is still uncomfortable with female sexuality – omg, we might enjoy sex – gasp!!
    I have heard that vaginal dryness is a problem for aging women…I’ve also been told that taking Omega-7’s can help 🙂

    Cheers Sasha, I love your perspective on things

    Reply
  9. Laura

    I’m in my early fifties and have had vaginal dryness to the point of intercourse being impossible due to severe pain. After trying many types of lubrication, I finally decided to go on bio-identical vaginal estrogen cream. My symptoms improved dramatically, and I have been able to have sex without pain. I would never have imagined that vaginal dryness could be so severe. For women who have never experienced this, it may be hard to understand how severe, difficult, stressful, and depressing this condition can be. I also felt very anxious that I would never be able to have sex again.

    Reply
    • sasha

      Hi Laura, thank you for sharing your perspective here. It is really valuable to hear your story and the stories of many women on this . . .

      Reply
  10. Trainless Magazine

    That was such an inspiring post to read! People should have sex for shared pleasure, not just for their partner’s pleasure! Thank you for writing this!

    Reply
    • sasha

      Absolutely :)! Thanks for your comment. . . your magazine looks cool too. Congats on that!

      Reply
  11. Marit Risto Fagerli

    Hi. I was Googled to find out about wetness not only increasing after menopause, but also feeling more pleasant than before.

    Ha ha not speaking about pleasant sex 😀

    “Wet” is a good name
    fora book.
    But all this Viagra talk I don’t understand…..

    Would rather have looked for something natural, if I needed afrodisiac.

    But of course that’s ruin for big pharma, therefore unacceptable.

    Have fun
    Marit (60 next April)

    Reply

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Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

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