Throughout the menstrual cycle, your hormones are undergoing lots of changes, so it makes sense that your sexual preferences and needs might shift as well. But rarely do we pay attention to the ways our menstrual cycles affect us in the bedroom.
According to Alisa Vitti, functional nutritionist, creator of the MyFlo period-tracking app, and author of In the Flo: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life, the lack of attention paid to these cyclical changes is one of the top reasons so many women are sexually unsatisfied.
Here’s what you might be experiencing during each phase of your cycle and how to have the best sex possible at that time, according to Vitti.
1. The Follicular Phase
During the week after your period, you’re producing less vaginal lubrication than usual, so you should use lube if necessary and engage in extra foreplay. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to take their time on you, particularly when it comes to clitoral stimulation. This also might be a good time to experiment with toys and other ways to get extra turned on.
2. The Ovulatory Phase
Ovulation is your most fertile time of month, and accordingly, your testosterone is at its highest — or, in layman’s terms, you’ll be horny. This is a time to get playful — engage in sexting with your partner throughout the day, or whisper to each other while you’re out about what you want to do to when you get home to draw out the anticipation. Plan lots of time with your significant other (or any sexual partners) this week, and get adventurous by bringing in role-play, new positions, kink, or anything else you’ve been itching to try.
3. The Luteal Phase
In the beginning of the luteal phase (the week before your period), your testosterone will still be elevated, so you might be extra in the mood for sex. But toward the end, you might be more in your head and need some help getting into your body. This could mean planning a sensual activity together, like exchanging massages, or engaging in extra cuddling and kissing. A date night can also help connect you with your partner and prime your body for lovemaking during this time.
4. The Menstrual Phase
Period sex is underrated — orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps, and some people actually feel more sensation during their periods. Remember, though, menstrual blood doesn’t exactly work as lube — you’ll actually be producing less vaginal lubrication than usual, so use lube and lots of foreplay.
This is a general guide based on the most common hormonal changes people experience, but remember that everyone’s cycle is different, and everyone responds differently to these physical phenomena. The best way to figure out what works for you is to use a period-tracking app and keep track of how your libido, arousal, and sexual preferences change throughout your cycle. Don’t be afraid to share this information with your partner(s) — you’re only helping them out by teaching them how to please you all month long.