Vaginal dryness is extremely common and can result in discomfort and painful sex. Violet talks about some of the causes of dryness in other articles, but here we are looking at natural vaginal fluid is all about when everything is flowing as it should.
So what is vaginal fluid? It is basically a mixture of secretions from mucus, oil and sweat glands. This fluid keeps the tissue of the vagina moist and healthy, as well providing lubrication during sex.
Glands (there are a few hundred of them) in the cervix contribute a substantial amount of mucus (a slippery substance bursting with proteins) to the vaginal fluid. These cervical mucous glands get particularly busy during ovulation, producing 10 times the amount of fluid than at other times in our menstrual cycle.
These glands have nothing to do with fluid during sex. There’s also a couple of glands at the entrance to the vaginal. Called Bartholin, they provide a small amount of lubrication to help with initial penetration. They only do this when there is sexual arousal and otherwise the Bartholins don’t contribute much.
Another set of glands, called Skene glands, secrete a small amount of mucus that lubricates the urethral opening. During sexual arousal, they increase production.
The amount and composition of the vaginal fluid changes throughout the menstrual cycle, and in the time leading up to and after menopause due to hormonal influences.
The vaginal tissue itself does not contain mucous, sweat or oil glands. But the vagina does have a rich blood supply and bloodflow greatly increases during sexual arousal. As the blood vessels in the vaginal wall become engorged with blood, the increas in pressure causes liquid from the blood to seep through the vaginal wall. This fluid is called vaginal transudate and accumulates within the vagina very quickly with sexual excitement.
The outer lips of a woman’s genitals, the labia majora, contain a large number of sweat and oil glands. The inner lips, or labia minor, also contain many oil glands. These help lubricate the vaginal opening, but they don’t really get turned on with sexual arousal.
“Make friends with mucus”- Your Friend, Violet