Let’s set the scene: you’re mid-flow, period products of choice are in play and from the depths of within you feel a familiar stirring… You start feeling hot, turned on and horny.Increased sexual desire during your period is something many of us have experienced, but why does this happen?
An increased libido during ovulation makes perfect logistical sense (our body’s innate desire to reproduce makes us want to do it at the time when we can conceive – clever), but why would the gods of sex make us horny while we’re bleeding!?
The bumps and grinds of hormones
In order to understand the throws of period passion, we must first understand the role our
hormones play in regulating our sex drive throughout our cycle.
Period Phase (cycle days 1-7)
Day 1 of your period is classed as day 1 of your entire 28 day (more or less) menstrual cycle. (Hint: this is why the Doctor always asks you when the first day of your last period was – they’re trying to see where you are in your cycle.)
A day or so before your period, oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels all plummet to their lowest levels to enable your uterus to shed its lining, and for you to menstruate.
Hormonally speaking, oestrogen and testosterone are the lusty couple that spark your sex drive, so low levels of these hormones should mean a low libido, right? So why am I horny? 🤔
Well, when oestrogen levels start to rise a few days into your bleed, the growing levels of this hormone can ignite feelings of desire and arousal. Hello horn.
Follicular Phase (cycle days 7-14)
The follicular phase is when oestrogen and testosterone rule supreme. Levels of both of these hormones are rising fast during this phase, gearing your body up for ovulation, and boosting your sex drive while they’re at it.
Oestrogen and testosterone also boost our energy levels, mood and confidence. All the more reason to take advantage of this phase to get intimate with yourself – or a partner.
Ovulation (cycle days 14 - 21)
By now, oestrogen and testosterone have both reached their peak levels and life should be feeling pretty good.
The 3-5 days surrounding ovulation are the only days of the entire month when you can actually get pregnant. So, naturally, this is when your body kicks your sex drive into overdrive.
If you’re trying to conceive, this is your window to concentrate your efforts. If you’re not keen to get pregnant but still want to maximise on that lusty libido, make sure you're super vigilant about using protection (pull out method not advised here, m’kay hon?). Or, just get handsy by yourself.
Luteal phase (cycle days 22 - 28)
During this phase, the long, hot days of your personal summer are gone. Oestrogen and testosterone levels begin to fall, and progesterone takes over as a dominant hormone.
We love progesterone for its soothing, calming effect on the mind and body. However it can be a bit of a debbie downer in the doing-it department. Progesterone is our pro-gestation hormone: i.e. important for pregnancy, and each month progesterone assumes we may have conceived. Therefore, it doesn’t have much of an incentive to drive libido.
This doesn’t mean you can’t, or won’t want to have sex during this phase. Many people don’t notice a difference. But if your levels of desire do lower, just remember that this is totally normal. Listen to your body, babe.
If the months roll by and your libido hasn’t risen up at all, it’s a good idea to check in on your hormonal balance. The Eve Test Complete looks at 18 hormonal markers (including testosterone, 6 forms of oestrogen and progesterone) for a deep dive into the drivers behind your libido (or lack thereof).
Let’s get physical
In addition to the aforementioned hormonal reasons why you may feel horny on your period, there may also be some physical factors at play…1. Stimulation station
Firstly, during menstruation blood flow to the pelvis and genitals increases. More circulation leads to more sensitivity and engorgement (like how blood flow to the penis cause an erection) and voilà – all it takes is a confident seam in your jeans or going over some bumps in the car you’re turned on 😉
2. Nerves - the good kind
Secondly, scientists are exploring the theory that when our uterus expands and contracts during menstruation, it can put pressure on nerves in the pelvic region, triggering arousal.
3. Ready, set, wet
Next, when we’re menstruating things get pretty wet and slippery. This increase in vaginal lubrication is enough to get some of us feeling frisky.
Why period sex rocks. Period.
Whether you’re the kinda gal who enjoys period sex or not, there are some benefits to throwing a towel down and getting it on, while you’re on:
- Ease cramps: orgasms and sensual touch can help to ease the pain from period cramps. Move over panadol, there’s a new player in town.
- Helps sleep: some of us can struggle with sleep before or during our periods, and orgasms can aid in calming the mind and body by releasing a nice cocktail of hormones to relax us.
- Helps mood: feeling low, anxious or moody before or during your period? May we suggest some sex to help with that? Oxytocin released from an orgasm helps boost your mood, while the physical touch (from yourself or another) can also help to brighten a moody outlook.
- Connect with yourself: while your period may not be your favourite time of the month, taking time to connect with yourself physically is a good way to remember that your body is doing something that is literally phenomenal. Say thank you to your bod – it’s a good egg, really.