From cravings to mood swings, menstrual cycles can be the root cause of some unwelcome changes to our daily routine. Many of us experience a tightness in our jeans from bloating, or a desperate need for a long nap, and yes, some of us even experience a change in our sexual appetite (cue the whomp whomp sound). If you’ve found that your sex drive fluctuates throughout the month, we feel you, and you’re not alone! Due to the changes in hormone levels, your body may be giving you clear signals on when your engine is ready and roarin’ to go, and when it may need to pop into the garage for an oil change (i.e. marathoning Gilmore Girls in your favorite sweatpants).
“From what we know, your sex drive increases in the weeks before ovulation, which is typically day 1-13,” explained Dr. Navya Mysore. “It then can decrease shortly after ovulation and luteal phase, which is the second half of your period. When progesterone levels are higher, you can feel a lower sex drive.” So if you’re feeling especially frisky in the weeks leading up to your period, or you feel apathetic or disinterested towards the end of your period and the days or weeks after, that's most likely due to your hormone levels rising and dipping like a twisted, stomach-flipping roller coaster.
While it’s helpful to get some clarity and a better understanding of how our body reacts to changes in hormones, Dr. Mysore pointed out that we still don’t have enough scientific research to make any definitive statements on why our sex drive changes, which prompts us to ask, “Who the hell do we need to call to get some funding?” But Dr. Mysore does have some good news: these spikes and dips in your sex drive is totally normal. So if you find yourself digging through your bathroom for some old period sex towels (a beloved bathroom staple) or only feeling turned on by the freshly baked cookies to accompany your reality TV binge, know that your body is most likely just doin’ its thing! Our bodies are constantly in one big cycle, making subtle or noticeable changes, and we have the challenging job of keeping up.
However, if you find yourself stuck in a low-labido-funk that the pottery scene in Ghost can’t even pull you out of, you may want to change up some other lifestyle habits and see if that helps. “Increasing aerobic exercise, reducing stress levels, eating a healthy balanced diet can help with increasing your sex drive,” Dr. Mysore explained. “If you are taking any medication or supplements, review them with your primary care physician to see if they might be contributing to your lowered sex drive.”
Tracking your cycle can be helpful, too. Getting a deeper understanding of your internal clock may help you better prepare for temporary changes due to hormone fluctuation. Apps like Clue or Flo can help you feel more in control and better prepared for changes in your cycle, and can help find consistencies and patterns in your sex drive so you have a better idea of what to expect each month.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we’re going to Youtube that scene from Ghost again. If you haven’t seen it, that’s our final suggestion-- what can we say? We like to end on a high note.