When you first start out, tracking vaginal sensation may not be as straightforward to observe when compared to taking your BBT or taking note of cervical mucus at each trip to the bathroom. Developing awareness for this subtle body queue may take some time, but once this skill is honed, many find sensation to be a valuable part of accurately charting fertility.
What is Sensation?
Vaginal sensation is different from cervical mucus in that you can see and touch cervical mucus, but vaginal sensation is the quality of wetness or dryness at your vaginal lips (labia).
Why do I need to chart sensation if I’m already charting cervical mucus?
While both cervical mucus and vaginal sensation are related to the same hormonal changes in your body, sensation is considered completely separate from observable cervical mucus because sensation provides its own distinct information. Cervical mucus is something you can see with your eyes and touch with your fingers, but vaginal sensation is simply a feeling in your body.
Especially for those who have scant mucus, sometimes the wet or lubricative sensation is easier to feel rather than visually seeing cervical mucus. A change in sensation may be the first sign of change into the fertile time; you may start feeling lubricative vaginal sensation well before your cervical mucus transitions to the more fertile type, or the sensation may remain lubricative even after the cervical mucus starts to dry up. This is why the final day of lubricative sensation may provide insight when determining peak day.
How do I chart sensation?
Like cervical mucus, the general pattern for vaginal sensation is from dry to wet or moist to lubricative, then after ovulation, sensation will loop back to dry. Generally, sensation is categorized under 3 distinct descriptions that are similar to cervical mucus observations:
Dry: This could be described as completely dry, perhaps even a little itchy or somewhat uncomfortable, and no feeling of slipperiness or anything like that would be observed. When you wipe after using the toilet, the tissue might sort of stick and be dry or halting. In cervical mucus terms, this would be just like having a dry day and not seeing any mucus.
Moist: This could feel similar to something flowing down within the vagina, or like bubble bursting, and it is a more watery feeling. When you wipe after using the toilet, the tissue should move more easily than on a dry sensation day, but not as easily as on a lubricative sensation day. In cervical mucus terms, this would be like the equivalent of sticky or tacky mucus.
Lubricative: This is a very distinct runny-wet feeling inside and at the lips of the vagina. When you wipe after using the toilet, the tissue will smoothly and easily glide. In cervical mucus terms, this would be like having eggwhite, wet, or watery cervical mucus.
Be attentive to what your vaginal sensations are like throughout the day, then record the most fertile kind of sensation you felt, even if you only noticed it once.
If you’re having trouble, try cotton underwear instead of synthetic fabric; some find that cotton allows for heightened awareness due to the breathability of this natural fabric.
In some ways, dry sensation might be confusing to record because the vagina is a mucous membrane, like your mouth, and will usually have some level of moisture; this is part of why learning to observe this sign takes a bit of practice.
Remember that vaginal sensation is completely different from sexual lubrication, so don’t record the sensation if it’s caused by arousal fluid.
Be patient with yourself!
Though awareness of vaginal sensation can take several cycles to develop, it can corroborate the other signs you’re already charting and help even more with identifying where you are in your cycle. This particular sign may be ambiguous or confusing at first, but give it some time. As awareness increases, some find that sensation becomes the most easily tracked sign.
Singer, Katie. The Garden of Fertility. Penguin Group USA: New York, 2004. Print.