Women's perceptions about lubricant use and vaginal wetness during sexual activities

J Sex Med. 2013 Feb;10(2):484-92. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12022. Epub 2012 Dec 4.


Introduction: Exogenous lubricant use in the United States is common among women; however, there is little empirical research describing women's perceptions of lubricants, lubricant use, and vaginal wetness or dryness during penile-vaginal intercourse or other sexual behaviors.

Aims: To assess women's perceptions about lubricant use, women's perceptions about vaginal wetness during sexual activities, lubricant purchasing and application patterns, and the relationship of age to women's perceptions of lubricants and vaginal wetness.

Methods: Cross-sectional baseline data from an online daily diary study of 2,451 women enrolled in a study of lubricant use were analyzed.

Main outcome measures: Demographic items, women's lubricant purchasing patterns, lubrication use, perceptions about lubrication, and perceptions about vaginal wetness.

Results: Overall, women felt positively about lubricant and lubricant use, preferred sex to feel more wet, felt that they were more easily orgasmic when sex was more wet, and thought their partner preferred sex to feel more wet than dry. Perceptions varied by age group with women in their forties reporting more positive perceptions of lubricants than women under the age of 30.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that women generally feel positively about lubricants and lubricant use and prefer vaginal-penile intercourse to feel more wet. Such insights into women's perceptions of lubricants and lubricant use can be helpful to medical and other health professionals as well as sexual health educators, who routinely make recommendations to women about ways to incorporate products, such as lubricants, into their sexual activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Coitus / physiology*
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lubricants / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm / physiology
  • Sampling Studies
  • United States
  • Vagina / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Lubricants