How a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle Impacts Libido
How a woman’s sex drive depends on the time of her cycle
The average woman’s cycle lasts between 23-35 days and consists of four stages, follicular phase, ovulation, luteal, and menstruation phase. With each phase, the hormone levels rise and fall, which can impact how a woman feels about having sex and overall sexual pleasure. While every woman is different, and some people's libido doesn’t fluctuate, others very much feel the difference in hormone levels.
Phase 1: The Follicular, or Proliferative Phase
The follicular, or proliferative, phase starts on the first day of your period (yes, there’s an overlap between the follicular phase and menstruation phase) and ends around 2 weeks later, when you ovulate. For most, finishing their periods is enough to lift spirits, but there are actually hormonal differences too that contribute to this “free” feeling.
During this stage, your progesterone levels are rising, and your estrogen levels are at their peak, and this sexy feeling you get a few days after your period is your body’s way of telling that it’s ready for a baby! This phase can feel lighthearted and fun. This is usually the time where you feel more experimental, and willing to try new things. Why not try add a dual motor vibrator to the mix, or even just experimenting with edging?
The Double Entendre
Phase 2: Ovulation
Ovulation happens straight after the follicular phase. An egg travels down the fallopian tube, ready to be fertilised by the sperm. Evolutionary speaking, it is the time you’re most likely to get pregnant, so your sex drive will definitely spike.
You’re also more likely to produce a larger amount of cervical fluid, making you more lubricated down there, which makes sex more enjoyable. During this phase, more women tend to masturbate as well as show a greater interest in sex. For those moments where you are wanting more, but your partner is already finished, why not try getting them to wear a c-ring to help even out that orgasm gap? Or better yet, let them pleasure you with a bullet vibrator!
Phase 3: The Luteal or Secretory Phase
The luteal, or secretory, phase happens straight after ovulation. This phase goes on for about 2 weeks, and it sees a sudden drop of estrogen and an increase of progesterone (aka the passion killer).
This phase is usually when we start seeing symptoms of the upcoming period, such as bloating, fatigue, irritability and more. As we are facing more uncomfortable symptoms during this phase, there is no surprise there is a drop in sexual desire! Even though some suggest that having sex during this time helps with PMS, please listen to your body and do what makes you feel good.
Phase 4: Menstruation
This is the final phase of the cycle, and is often the one that is talked about the most. The menstruation phase, or the period, usually lasts 3-8 days, and is when the uterus lining is being shed, which results in bleeding. There’s a myth that this is the time where your hormones are unruly and at a high, but this is untrue.
During your period, both estrogen and progesterone are actually at a low. Though there are no rules to whether or not you have sex during this time, many choose not to as it can get messy and for those that experience bloating and cramping during this time may not be in the mood, understandably.
However, those that do engage in intercourse during this phase say that it helps relieve some of their cramps, and the blood actually provides extra lubrication which makes having sex more enjoyable!
At the end of the day, every person’s cycle is different, and there is no right or wrong time to have or want sex. What works for someone may not work for you, and that’s ok. The aim for having sex is to not plan it around your period, but rather to listen to your body and become aware of how you’re feeling. If you have a low libido that is concerning you, please get in touch with your doctor as there may be some underlying issues that can be supported!