Ask Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Coral contributor, Kinsey Institute Research Fellow and internationally-recognized sex educator answers your sex questions.

Every time I have sex, I have an excess amount of vaginal secretions? Is there something I can do to minimize the amount of wetness I experience during sex?

Experiencing vaginal wetness during sexual activity is perfectly normal and healthy. In fact, during sexual arousal, natural lubrication is released that makes intercourse easier and more comfortable because it reduces friction. It’s sort of your body’s way of saying that you’re ready to go, so having a wet vagina is a good thing!  

That said, for people with vaginas, there is considerable variation in the amount of lubrication produced. Some people release more, others release less. This can also change over time for a given individual. Age, menopause, and other factors that affect hormone levels can alter the amount of lubrication produced.

The most common issue with vaginal lubrication is when not enough of it is being released. Because dryness can make sex painful and uncomfortable, having more lubrication is generally better than less.

Concerns about “excess” vaginal lubrication sometimes stem from lack of knowledge about what’s normal and the wide variation that exists across bodies. However, these concerns are also sometimes rooted in shame that derives from the various ways in which women’s bodies (and sexuality) are judged and policed. For example, some people associate being wet with being hypersexual, with the idea being that it’s a sign of a woman wanting “too much” sex.

With all of that said, odds are that what your body is doing is normal. However, if the amount of lubricant your body is producing bothers you from a pleasure standpoint, I’m afraid there isn’t much you can do to change your body’s natural response. One thing you might consider, though, is charting your menstrual cycle and altering the timing of sexual activity, given that the amount of lubrication produced tends to be higher around ovulation. So it’s possible that changing up your sex schedule could potentially address this.

Lastly, if you notice high levels of wetness outside of sexual situations, a persistent change in the amount of lubrication released, fluids with an unusual color or smell, genital pain, irritation, or swelling, or any other symptoms, it’s worth talking to your healthcare provider to see what’s going on.

On average how much do people watch porn? What’s too much? If I’m finding more pleasure in it than actual sex with my partner, is that normal?

There’s a lot of variability in how much porn people consume. However, research finds that recreational users, which is what most of us are, watch an average of 24 minutes per week. Recreational users tend to be pretty sexually satisfied, they don’t feel ashamed or guilty about using porn, and porn isn’t causing any problems in their life; it’s just an added form of sexual novelty that they turn to here and there.

That said, some people watch a lot more porn than that, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you don’t feel like it’s interfering with your life, it’s not a problem. It’s when people start to feel distressed about their porn use that it becomes an issue.

However, being distressed about one’s porn use isn’t necessarily a function of how much porn one is consuming. In fact, some people consume less porn than average but feel highly distressed about it because they think porn is shameful or disgusting. In light of this, it becomes highly problematic to say what “too much” porn is because it depends a lot on how people feel about porn in the first place. So don’t get too hung up on comparing yourself to average. The important question is how you feel about your own porn use, and if it’s something that’s really bothering you, it’s worth talking to a certified sex therapist.

As for finding more pleasure in porn than with a partner, you’re not alone in that. However, it could potentially signify that you’re not getting what you want when it comes to sex. People often turn to porn as a way of vicariously living out their sexual fantasies, in part, because they’re never communicated those fantasies to a partner.

Sometimes it’s easier to turn to porn as a substitute than it is to tell our partners what we really want. Conversations about sex (and especially revealing your deepest desires) can be really intimidating because we’re worried about being judged or rejected. Also, when we’ve been with our partners for a long time, it’s easy for sex to become routine and boring. Human beings are wired for sexual novelty, and porn is a potent source of that. So, a preference for porn can sometimes just reflect a need for excitement that isn’t being met in one’s current sex life.

I want to have a threesome with my wife and another woman but she is not up for it. What do I do?

It’s not uncommon for people in relationships to sometimes have different sexual fantasies and desires, whether that centers around threesomes or something else. There are a few things that are important to keep in mind when these discrepancies arise.

First, whatever you do, don’t try to pressure or coerce your partner into doing something they don’t want to do. If a threesome just isn’t something your partner desires, then that’s that. It’s important for you to respect her wishes.

However, it might be worth stepping back and having a conversation about why this particular scenario is a turn-on for you but not for her so that you can each have a better understanding of where the other is coming from.

For example, what is it that you hope to get out of a threesome? Do you want to be the center of attention and feel overwhelmingly desired? Does the idea of seeing your partner with another woman turn you on? Do you want to see your partner pleasured by someone else?

Likewise, how does she feel about the prospect of being with a man and a woman at the same time? Does she have any desire for a same-sex experience? Does she feel uncomfortable about the idea of seeing you with another woman? Does she feel that her pleasure isn’t being considered in this situation? Would she be open to a threesome if the third person was of another gender?

Once you understand each other’s feelings about the situation, you’ll have a better idea of how to deal with your discrepant desire. For example, if she just isn’t into a same-sex experience or isn’t comfortable bringing anyone else into the bedroom, then you have your answer. It’s not happening. You then have to decide whether that’s a relationship dealbreaker for you.

However, if she has concerns that could potentially be addressed (e.g., her pleasure isn’t being prioritized), you can work together to find potential solutions, which might mean adapting the fantasy scenario in a way that is mutually agreeable and gives both of you what you want.

As always, communication is key.

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