No, we're not talking about the cutesy term for the shape your pants make, guys. Tenting occurs when the vaginal tube expands, which is what makes intercourse possible. It's one of several key stages of arousal that clinical sexologist Dr Lindsey Doe explains in this video.
Even with compatible couples who are communicating well, it's not always easy to know at exactly what stage of sexual arousal your partner is at. When it comes to penetrative intercourse, jumping the gun and trying to insert too early can be painful and uncomfortable for everyone involved.
As Dr. Doe explains, the phase of sexual arousal in women called tenting not only increases lubrication production, but the cervix contracts and the vaginal tube extends, both in length and width. It's this action that makes it possible to receive an object, be it a penis, or your sex toy of choice.
When having sex with a partner, it's important to wait until this phase for penetration. Lubrication isn't the only factor that goes into making intercourse easier. Not everyone reaches this stage in the same time frame but, as Dr. Doe points out a lack of tenting doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of arousal. However, patience from both partners and an understanding of the various stages of arousal can make things go much easier.