10"x7.5" (11.5"x9" framed) oil on wood panel by Hannah Moghbel
“Have you ever been having sex with someone, and they exclaim “you’re so wet,” yet you don’t feel turned on at all? You are not alone.
This is called arousal non-concordance and it is a common phenomenon, particularly among women. When we use the term ‘women’, we will be referring to people with vulvas because that is most consistent with the research; however, we know that arousal non-concordance affects people of all genders, including transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary folks, as well as intersex people.
Emily Nagoski speaks about arousal non-concordance in her book Come As You Are, where she finds that there is about a 10 percent overlap between how women are responding to a situation and what stimuli they feel subjectively aroused by. This means that when a woman experiences lubrication, it does not automatically mean that they are aroused. For men however, Nagoski finds that there is a 50 percent overlap between genital response and subjective sexual arousal.”*
The flip-side of non-concordance is when you feel excited but can’t get wet. Common causes for vaginal dryness are menopause, breast feeding (because it releases hormones similar to menopausal hormones) antihistamines and hormonal birth control. The level of vaginal lubrication that you’re secreting is not an accurate indicator to your partner that you are or are turned on. Therefore, verbal communication and consent is key.
* Excerpt from Embrace Sexual Wellness a site devoted to Sex Therapy and Education.
Watch Nagoski's fascinating Ted Talk here.