There’s a lot going on.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about your period, there are always some aspects that seem mysterious. Like, why are you super into sex at some points and totally disinterested at others? What is going on with your hormones? Here’s a breakdown of what exactly is up with your sex drive during your period.
During the menstrual phase of your cycle, when you’re bleeding, you might feel more up for sexy time, since testosterone is on the rise and estrogen is on the way down. If you’re cramping, sex is a great way to alleviate the pain, and keep in mind that you don’t need a partner to have an orgasm (masturbation is your friend!). There’s a lot of stigma around period sex, but it’s just that – stigma, and has no impact on you or your partner’s health, so if you’re into it, go for it.
The follicular part of your cycle is when your ovarian follicles are getting ready to release an egg and your endometrium, the lining of your uterus, is thickening so it can ready for embryo implantation. This phase involves an upsurge of estrogen and testosterone, so that your lining can thicken, and because of that, you might be wanting to get your get it on on. If you’re looking to conceive, great – that’s what your body is gearing up for, but if not, remember to use contraception (in general, of course).
Ovulation happens at the middle of your menstrual cycle, which is when you might feel the most fired up about sex. Some people know exactly when they’re ovulating, not just because they want to get it on, but because other indications that you’re ovulating are sore breasts, a change in your cervical mucus, and even a better sense of smell. During ovulation, estrogen and progesterone are running amok (in a good way), and so that influences your libido. The way sex feels during your period can also vary – the position of your cervix changes as you get closed to ovulation, it rises, and so you’re less likely to get your cervix bumped (ouch), and positions that allow for deeper penetration might be optimal. The lubrication of your vagina can also change during ovulation, because, again, estrogen levels are higher and more cervical mucus is being generated. When ovulation is over, your sex drive might decrease, but it’s important to remember that every body is different.
The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is the last, and it’s when PMS starts wreaking havoc. In the luteal phase, which doesn’t happen if you ovulated and the egg was fertilized, the follicle that ruptured during ovulation closes up and forms something called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum disappears if the egg isn’t fertilized, but this whole time, your estrogen levels are super high because that endometrium is thickening in the hope that an egg will chill there. If that doesn’t happen, the lining is shed, and boom, you’re bleeding. The concept of sexual desire during PMS might seem bananas, but because of all the hormones besieging you, you could start to feel like some sexy time, since the nerve endings in your genitals are being stimulated. Your breasts might also get sore around this time, so if that’s true for you, let your partner know, and remember that communication is always key to good sex.
In short, however you’re feeling about sex during your menstrual cycle is real. Some people feel most powerful and sexual while they’re bleeding; after all, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that you’ll get pregnant then, so maybe you feel super urgent about going for it. The fact is also that we’re socialized to feel a certain way about our periods – ashamed, like we should hide it, and there’s basically no way that doesn’t impact how we feel about our sexuality during our cycle. Let’s not hesitate to interrogate that stigma, and in the meantime, remember that you deserve to have the best (consensual) sex you can, no matter what time of the month it is.
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