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The dangerous practice of dry sex

Naked woman in bed

When a woman's body gets ready for sex, the vaginal glands secrete a fluid that acts as a lubricant. This is a necessary process that protects her delicate private parts, and also readies her vagina for penetration, making it easier for her partner to insert his penis.

Lack of sufficient lubrication is a problem for many women, especially those who experience arousal problems, women on certain medications or those going through the menopause as it can make intercourse quite painful (for both man and woman) and cause tearing, inflammation and irritation while destroying the natural bacteria.

Curiously, some women (primarily from more traditional societies) are going against their bodies' natural instincts and are resorting to extreme measures to prevent lubrication and keep their vaginas bone dry and, thereby, 'tighter' and 'warmer'.

According to the US-based Guttmacher Institute that researches sexual and reproductive health across the globe "vaginal drying" appears to be most common among African (South Africa, Senegal, DRC, Cameroon, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe) and Indonesian women, although it also occurs in Haiti, Costa Rica, and Saudi Arabia.

Despite the pain that accompanies dry sex, men and women from these communities believe that a dry vagina adds friction and tightness during intercourse, making it more enjoyable - for men.

In a report for the Guttmacher Institute, author Karen E. Kun writes that ''In South Africa, men have reported that vaginal wetness during sexual intercourse is an indicator of a woman's infidelity, and have also associated vaginal lubrication with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the use of contraceptives.'

Dr. Marlene Wasserman, better known in South Africa as sexologist Dr. Eve, told Vice the continued practice of dry sex shows the lack of education relating to equality and women's rights. She also mentions that in some traditional households a woman's reputation depends on the size of her vagina, which they then hope to tighten by drying the vagina out.

According to Wasserman these men and women don't understand that the vagina is capable of expanding during sex - and then back to its usual size afterward. They also believe that if a woman has a partner with a large penis, her vagina will remain permanently 'stretched', and future partners will think she is promiscuous.

From a male perspective, the experience is not necessarily more appealing. Men's Health, in a report on painful sexual habits, noted that a dry vagina can make penetration not only more difficult but also more painful, causing a burning sensation and redness. It is possible for the delicate tissues of the penis to tear, further increasing the likelihood of transmitting an STI.

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