Written by Cloé Vaz-Wiggins
Image via Pinterest
I can’t help but wonder how many people would raise their hand, if in a packed room someone asked: ‘Raise your hand if you know how the menstrual cycle impacts your sex life?’
How many women would raise their hands? Would men raise their hands? How many? Lots of hands in the air? Or not so much? I wonder, because even though cycle syncing and cycle talk is becoming more and more trendy it’s not something that has always been, one trendy, and two, common knowledge.
The menstrual cycle is a complex physiological process that affects various aspects of a woman’s life, including her sex drive or libido. Understanding how hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can impact your sex life is essential for the development of a healthy and fulfilling intimate relationship.
Let’s break it down:
The Menstrual Phase (Day 1-5):
During the menstrual phase, which marks the beginning of the cycle, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest. This phase is characterized by the shedding of the uterine lining, resulting in menstruation. While some women may experience a decrease in libido due to discomfort or fatigue during this time, others may find that the release of endorphins during sexual activity can help alleviate menstrual cramps and uplift mood, thereby increasing sexual desire.
Follicular Phase (Day 6-14):
The follicular phase is marked by the development of follicles in the ovaries, preparing for the release of an egg. During this phase, estrogen levels gradually rise, stimulating the growth of the uterine lining. Increased estrogen levels can lead to a surge in libido for many women, enhancing sexual desire. More, heightened energy levels and a sense of overall well-being can contribute to a heightened interest in sexual activity.
Ovulatory Phase (Day 14):
The ovulatory phase occurs around day 14 of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle (this is different for everyone woman). During this phase, estrogen levels peak, triggering the release of an egg from the ovary. This surge in estrogen can have a profound impact on libido, making women more receptive to sexual advances. Increased blood flow to the pelvic region can also heighten sensitivity and lead to more intense sexual experiences.
Luteal Phase (Day 15-28):
The luteal phase is characterized by increased progesterone levels. Progesterone can have a mixed effect on libido, with some women experiencing a decrease in sexual desire due to physical discomfort, bloating, or breast tenderness. However, other women may find that the emotional stability and relaxation induced by progesterone enhance their sexual experience.
I wonder if both men and women consider the immense impact the menstrual cycle has on their sex life. The hormonal fluctuations influence libido throughout the different phases of the cycle and are realest piece of information you can tune into. By understanding these variations, individuals and couples can navigate their sexual experiences with greater awareness and adapt to the changing needs and desires of each phase. Open communication, empathy, and exploration of alternative forms of intimacy can help maintain a fulfilling and satisfying sex life regardless of where a woman is in her menstrual cycle.