Ever wonder why some days of the month you feel extra amorous towards your partner, while other days you might rather just take a bath by yourself? Well, mother nature is playing a key role in this monthly orchestration of hormonal overtures.
You may be happy to know that there are significant fluctuations in your level of desire — and that you are normal! During the menstrual cycle, there a definite days when libido is revved up and others where it is shut down. In order to better understand this, we need to delve a little more deeply into what is exactly happening during these finely tuned 28 days. Day 1 will represent the first day of your period, or menstrual bleeding.
From Days 1-14, known as the follicular phase, tiny follicles are growing in the ovary. One follicle will eventually be the primary follicle and be released at mid-cycle, or ovulation.
Associated with this follicle production is a large rise in estrogen and testosterone. Huge surges in estrogen and testosterone around Day 13 lead the hypothalamus ( the main control center of the brain for hormonal release) to stimulate the ovary to ovulate. This means a significant boost in sexual desire. During this time of the month, a woman has thoughts about sex 3 -4 times per day. Additionally, she notices that her verbal ability to express herself is more acute and her memory for details is even more heightened.
At time of ovulation, approximately Day 14, the egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. All systems are go- the egg slowly moves its way down the fallopian tube in search of ascending sperm. Oxytocin, the bonding hormone, reaches a high point, leading to a higher need for intimacy and closeness. Dopamine levels are also increased, stimulating the motivation and pleasure circuits of the woman’s brain. At mid-cycle, desire for intimacy and social bonding and the sense of pleasure and well-being are at their highest. She may even be the initiator of sex at this time, so her partner may definitely want to be mindful of this stage of her cycle.
After ovulation, the luteal phase, Days 15-28, occurs and the ovary begins to produce large amounts of progesterone. A woman notices that she’s becoming much less interested in sex, levels of estrogen and testosterone decline and sexual desire is curbed. Breasts become more tender and she may become more easily fatigued. Thoughts about sex become virtually non-existent. If fertilization of the egg does not occur, a chemical signal is sent to the ovary to stop producing progesterone, and the uterine lining is shed ( menstruation). Then the entire cycle to repeats itself.
So next time you are feeling steamy hot for sex, take note of what part of your cycle you are in. Your partner would be smart to make note of this too! Enjoy this time— and remember to use some form of birth control if you’re trying not to follow mother nature’s plan for fertilization!