I'm seeking a single word. An analogue is "salivate" which is what someone sometimes does when they experience hunger and refers to the mouth secreting liquid.

  • "Elsa was hungry and began salivating"
  • "Elsa was horny and began _________"

I'm looking for a word where the person is the subject, not the vulva. A mouth waters but a person salivates-- I am seeking the "salivate" analogue.

Some Background

This is the best I've found so far, but "Elsa started sweating" is very likely to be misinterpreted.

A woman’s vagina usually begins to lubricate shortly after stimulation— what looks like beads of sweat form all over the vaginal walls; this is sometimes called vaginal sweating. Just below the vaginal opening are the ducts that connect to the vulvovaginal glands, which secrete a few drops of thick fluid that contribute, along with the sweating of the vagina, to the lubrication of the vaginal opening.

Kerner, Ian (2009-10-13). She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman (Kerner) (Kindle Locations 816-819). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


There is no physiological term for this phenomenon. If you don't believe me, please read this.

Salivation is an active process, as is lacrimation. Rhinorrhea (a runny nose) has no active verb either; the nose isn't mucorating, rhinorunning, or anything else. There is excess mucous production and gravity does the rest.

Similarly, the vasodilation and subsequent transudation of fluids in the vagina has no active verb. Nor does the tumescence of the penis (it's not "erecting".)**

There are slang words for these processes, but they are not akin to "salivation."

There aren't single words for everything under the sun.

Edited to add I was wrong. Tumesce is a verb. HT to @Frank.

  • argh! I fear you are right but I'll wait for a bit longer to see what else comes in. tyvm. Thanks also for the additional resources, will read. – sequoia mcdowell Mar 25 '15 at 19:37
  • 1
    No love for tumefy or tumefying? – Frank Mar 25 '15 at 19:53
  • 1
    @medica en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word#Forms ;) – sequoia mcdowell Mar 25 '15 at 20:14
  • 1
    @medica - I not a urologist either, but I do have a special interest in that area ;) – Frank Mar 25 '15 at 20:35
  • 2
    @Frank "I'm not a urologist, but I play one on TV" ...or... "I'm not a urologist, but I pretend to be one when the waiting room is left unattended" – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 23:59

Elsa was horny and became wet

If you can change the verb to "became", then this is probably the most 'tasteful' way to specify female sexual arousal in this sense. The first adjective eliminates any ambiguity.

I feel it is the most widely used present-day expression, found in almost all mediums - from novels to film. Given the presented sentence structures and limited context, I believe this may be more in line with what you are looking for.

  • 4
    "wet" is the most common expression, no woman I know says "I start lubricating whenever I see George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom..." etc. It's "I get wet just thinking about GC; DJ; OB etc.etc. – Mari-Lou A Mar 25 '15 at 22:47
  • @Mari-LouA Wait, back up- in your friend group, this comes up often enough that you only refer to these dudes by 2-letter abbreviations? ...Come to think of it, that would save a lot of time in my conversations as well. Although referring to Johnny Depp as "DJ" only makes sense within the context of the jokes I'm currently writing in my head. – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 23:20
  • DJ was a typo... :) – Mari-Lou A Mar 25 '15 at 23:21


to have an orgasm, especially to ejaculate or experience glandular lubrication of the vagina

...I can't believe it's not butter I just helped answer this...

  • See? I'm doing my part to make the internet more comfortable with human sexuality. How many other people can say that? – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 23:49

"Lubricating" seems quite understandable in context. Better than "Sweating".

  • so "Elsa was horny and began lubricating"? thank you! – sequoia mcdowell Mar 25 '15 at 19:40
  • 15
    What was she lubricating? A squeaky door hinge? – user9879 Mar 25 '15 at 19:47
  • 2
    @naomi - lol!!! Great visual. – anongoodnurse Mar 25 '15 at 19:59
  • 1
    NO!!!!! She began (to feel) lubricating??!! Whaaat? – Mari-Lou A Mar 25 '15 at 22:46

The verb phrase "became wet" though is a stative passive, which indicates state rather than action. (Also salivating and sweating are no more active processes than say.. hardening or moistening... and certainly less so than lacrimating. And all describe involuntary physiological responses to some stimulus)

Unfortunately, I don't know any canonical phrase for the active form.. but possibly this will be of interest:


Kind of I like the idea of using libate..

"Elsa was horny and began libating" ???

(The word labiate, though is an adjective already.means "having lips", labi coming from latin labium (lip) so using the suffix -ate as a verb form just sounds like "to lip" as in to engage with the lips, or to furnish something with lips... which, to me at least, makes no sense. But then I'm not in charge of English...)

  • 3
    "Libate" means to pour. – deadrat Jun 29 '15 at 7:08

If the process can be called “transudation of fluids,” why can’t you say a woman is transudating? “Transudate” is a legitimate verb.

  • Hi Porthos, welcome to English Language & Usage. If you think you might use our site again (and I hope you do!), please make sure you take the Tour. :-) – Chappo Aug 7 '18 at 22:51

OK I'm gonna go right in and answer this for you:

She began glistening.

  • 4
    That's also used to describe a woman that is perspiring in other non-vaginal places. – Kristina Lopez Mar 25 '15 at 19:58
  • 3
    Plus, it's still about as general as "lubricating", and arguably worse (because if a woman's reaching climax in darkness, no glistening is occurring). Waterfalls and rocks glisten. My first assumption, if someone said "she's glistening", would not be sexual (unless their inflection made that insinuation obvious- but then, if they said "she's making herself some toast" with enough inflection that could also sound sexual). – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 20:03
  • 3
    "The little Karin served/ Within the young king's hall; She glistened like a star,/ Among the maidens all." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. – anongoodnurse Mar 25 '15 at 20:08
  • 2
    @medica Perhaps, but you've always got to be suspicious given the guy's middle name was "Wadsworth" and his last name was "Longfellow". His name is a Hamming distance of zero from the nearest porn equivalent. – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 20:15
  • 4
    When you say she began "glistening" I imagine her smiling emphatically or something, like "beaming" or "glowing". – Jason C Mar 26 '15 at 1:16

I'm going to go with the Urban Dictionary suggestion, which is grool.

Technically, grool is a noun, but despite what Calvin says, I think you can use it as a verb.


I know this is an old thread, but I recently discovered a french word which describes exactly what english fails: Cyprine.

  • 2
    Welcome to English Language & Usage. As cyprine has another meaning in English, it can't be used so it doesn't really provide an answer to the question. – Glorfindel Aug 12 '17 at 8:12
  • 1
    @Glorfindel It may be a wrong answer, but clearly it is an answer. – MetaEd Aug 14 '17 at 13:53
  • @MetaEd I think it's an orange as described by Shog here, hence Not An Answer. – Glorfindel Aug 14 '17 at 16:23
  • @Glorfindel Shog, from your linked page: "if the text of the post contains an honest attempt at answering the question, then it is an answer - so don't flag it otherwise" – MetaEd Aug 14 '17 at 16:42
  • Laura - the asker is looking for a verb. I don't speak French but I get the impression you're offering a noun? – MetaEd Aug 14 '17 at 16:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.