If you've ever seen a cheesy college movie from the '80s, you've probably witnessed some version of the universe (read: alcohol) hindering a drunk frat boy's ability to, ahem, perform. What's discussed less, but is certainly not less important in any way, is how alcohol impacts the vagina during sex. So, does drinking impact getting wet during sex for those with vaginas as well? Or to be crass, is 'whiskey d*ck' a thing for people who don't have penises?
To unpack the effects of alcohol when it comes to getting wet, it's important to start with a refresh on what actually happens to a vagina during arousal. "In general, vaginal moisture is a function of arousal — so if a person is aroused, there is more pelvic blood flow, leading to more lubrication," Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB/GYN at at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, tells Elite Daily. "Vaginas getting moist is basically the equivalent of erection with penile blood flow." Similar to penile erection, vaginal moisture occurs due to increased blood flow. And while "getting wet" often comes with sexy feelings, the two aren't always linked. "It’s a myth that if you’re not wet, you’re not excited," Dominique Karetsos, resident sex expert at MysteryVibe, says. "Those who have a vagina can confirm that while 'being wet' accompanies sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication is not just an erotic experience, and the two aren’t always necessarily linked."
Of course, getting wet also affects the crown jewel of the vagina, the clitoris. "When a person with a vulva is aroused, blood flows to their the clitoris and vulva and both begin to swell — this causes the vagina to lubricate," Karetsos says. The human clitoris holds 8,000 nerve endings (that's double the nerve endings in a penis), which connect to around 15,000 other nerves throughout the pelvis. And while vaginal, cervical and G-spot orgasms are a thing for some people, most orgasms happen from clitoral stimulation, so blood flow to the clit, is well, it.
Dr. Sherry A. Ross, Women’s Health Expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period. also stresses the importance of being mentally aroused in order to get wet and ultimately, orgasm. "Unlike men, women’s sexual desire, excitement and energy tend to begin in that great organ above the shoulders, rather than the one below the waist," Dr. Ross says. Needing to be mentally and emotionally stimulated to be able to be fully sexually stimulated, it's no wonder alcohol can have a number of effects on vaginal sex. "It's really more a function of arousal than the alcohol's direct effect," Dr. Minkin says. "If the alcohol is inhibiting her arousal, she will have less lubrication, especially if she is really inebriated and out of it." Although alcohol is known to decrease blood flow, the real culprit here may be alcohol's ability to decrease your mental or emotional connection. Cue every drunk text you've ever sent or bizarre combinations of drunk foods you've consumed.
While having a few drinks on a date or when talking to a new cutie at a party may appear to calm you down, the alcohol may actually make it harder for you to get aroused, physically and emotionally. If you've had a few drinks and you're struggling to get aroused, it may be time to slow down a bit. "It is so important that any sexual activity is done with consent and authentic intention," Karetsos says. "If you are feeling the need to 'loosen up,' think about why that is."
Although it may feel impossible not to have a drink or two on a first date, it is paramount that sexual activity come with consent and authenticity. If you feel like you need to "loosen up" before getting it on with someone, it may mean that you're not totally comfortable with them yet or you're not super in the mood to get it on (both of which are perfectly OK). Whatever the case may be, you never need to engage in sexual activity that you don't entirely want to, especially if you're starting to not feel super aroused. "Many people think of alcohol as a great way to loosen up if they’re feeling nervous before a sexual encounter, but it can actually produce an opposite effect," Karetsos says. "Alcohol can inhibit the natural process of lubrication, as alcohol dehydrates."
Though some may call healthy drinking a "social lubricant," when it comes to getting it on after drinking, you may be in need of some personal lubricants. "Some bodies don’t naturally lubricate," Karetsos says. "Using lube just makes movements like penetrative sex more fluid, easy and comfortable for you to experience the most pleasure possible." If you're feeling a little sheepish about buying lube, Karetsos emphasizes how universal the tool can be. "Lube can be used by all types of people, solo or with partners, and in all stages of the sexual life cycle — be it as an extra cushion between skin, an erotic accessory, to enhance arousal sensations, or just for fun." Karetsos says. If you're wondering what kinds of lube are right for you, Karetsos suggesting trying a bunch, but making sure you're using a designated genital lubricant. "Try and stay away from household products like baby oil, almond or coconut oil. These are best for back massages, but oils can cause irritation on mucous membranes such as the vaginal canals, anal canals and urethra opening of penises," Karetsos says.
If you're struggling to get wet before having sex, especially after drinking, there are many different methods you can try. "Direct clitoral stimulation can be helpful, you can always use a vibrator as an adjunct, to see if they will lubricate better — of course, one can always use over the counter lubricants as needed," Dr. Minkin says. Whether using toys or fingers, having the best sex for your body will mean something different for everyone. "Living a fulfilling sexual life means embracing healthy pleasure and exploring all the possible ways to positively enjoy it, and it’s your right," Karetsos says. "Be sure to give yourself plenty of warm-up time before penetrative sex. Touching and kissing all help with arousal, and you may find your body needs a bit more time to get heated. You can even add lube to finger play, or a flavored lube during oral sex." It's important to warm-up before any workout, including those in the bedroom. Especially if you've been drinking, taking a moment to center yourself and really feel present in the moment, can make all the difference.
From decreased blood flow making it harder to get wet, to hindering your mental and emotional ability to connect, drinking can make it harder to get aroused and ultimately, to orgasm. But remember: It's completely natural to not get monsoon-season wet every time you're getting it on. Using lube or incorporating some direct clitoral stimulation (with toys or fingers) can be a great way to maximize your "Omg" moments, especially after having a few drinks. You deserve to be having great sex, and understanding what's best for your body can make all the difference in the bedroom.