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Every month, your period arrives with the usual suspects in tow: cramps, bloating, fatigue—just to name a few. But it can also bring another (much, much more fun) guest to the party: a wild and crazy libido. So, yeah…it’s no coincidence you feel all kinds of horny on your period.

And that’s despite the fact that you likely don’t feel your absolute sexiest during this time. ICYDK, that particular surge in sex appeal happens during ovulation—about halfway through your cycle, or two weeks after your period—thanks to a slight increase in testosterone, says Dr Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Yale University Medical School.

Okay, so why do I get insanely horny on my period?

While the science isn’t entirely definitive, here’s what docs do know: “The menstrual cycle involves the cyclical rise and fall of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA,” says Dr Adeeti Gupta, an ob-gyn and founder of Walk In GYN Care. (Hence the name “cycle.”) All of those hormones play key roles in your sex drive.

In a 2013 study published in Hormones and Behavior, researchers explored the connection in a group of undergraduate women. They measured hormone levels over two full menstrual cycles and compared the results to daily journals, where the participants recorded sexual activity and feelings of friskiness.

The researchers found that changing levels of estrogen and progesterone had serious effects on libido. Likely because estrogen, which drops at the beginning of your period but then starts to climb steadily by day two or three, promotes libido and desire, explains Dr. Gupta.

Meanwhile, progesterone, a stabilising hormone that is “not sexy-feeling friendly” is at a low point, says Dr. Minkin, so it’s possible that you feel even more sexual in its absence, too.

On the flip side, can arousal affect menstruation?

In short: no. Your hormones are already fluctuating on their own, so sexual arousal has “no major effect” on your menstrual cycle, says Dr Minkin.

Still, “some women report that if they masturbate or have sex, they feel a relief of pelvic congestion or menstrual cramps,” adds Dr Nan Wise, a cognitive neuroscientist and certified sex therapist. (Plus, it feels a heck of a lot better than popping ibuprofen.)

And, of course, your friskier-than-normal feelings can certainly impact your mood during menstruation. Sex and/or orgasm are both known for relieving stress—something you might be subconsciously craving during that time of the month.

“In some cases, women may simply want to have an orgasm to relax and unwind,” says Janet Brito, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in Honolulu. “While in other cases, they may be yearning for an intimate connection. What’s important is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.”

To do that, she recommends keeping a journal on how your menstruation impacts your arousal and vice versa. This, Brito says, can help you get comfortable discussing your needs, promote body awareness, and ultimately enhance your personal and partnered relationships.

Can birth control impact how horny I feel on my period?

You may have heard the long-standing rumour that birth control all but kills your sex drive.

Because hormonal birth control works by stopping your uterus from ovulating, they also stop that little boost in testosterone, so it would make sense, says Dr Minkin.

The Pill, in particular, can affect your libido throughout your menstrual cycle, because it also increases something called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)…Continue Reading

By Ian Dei

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