What’s Up With Your Sex Drive During Your Cycle

Fertility can come with a lot of baggage. And by baggage, we mean all the not-always-glamourous side effects associated with menstruation and ovulation. Women are no strangers to the ups and downs in our fertility cycle—especially when it comes to our sex drive during this time. But how much do we really know about how our sex drive can affect our fertility? We’re here to clue you in on the factors that play role in how our sex drive can influence our fertility.

If you have ever noticed that during a specific time of the month you feel a little more aroused than usual, you are probably ovulating. While it can vary from woman to woman, a boost in your sex drive is one of the signs and symptoms of ovulation. An increase in a women’s libido happens so that her body can give itself the best opportunity to get pregnant. Eggs are only viable for 12 to 24 hours, which explains why the body primes itself during ovulation to maximize the chances of pregnancy.

According to Dr. Kameelah Phillips, and OB-GYN in New York City, “if the sex drive is increased in correlation with the timing of ovulation, then that increases the likelihood of pregnancy because the egg and sperm have a greater chance of meeting.” But don’t worry if you aren’t stimulated during ovulation, it doesn’t mean you aren’t fertile or that anything is wrong. Chances of pregnancy is driven by the timing of ovulation, not just your sex drive.

So what about the times when we aren’t “turned on?” We each have experienced a decrease in our sex drives at one point or another, no matter how hard we tried to get in the mood. A number of reasons factor into why you don’t feel like having sex, like major stress in some other parts of your life: work, family, or relationship matters. Doctors Amin Herati and Dolores J. Lamb, Ph.D, of the Baylor College of Medicine Center for Reproductive Medicine and Department of Urology say that “stress can alter the physiology of the body.” When cortisol (a.k.a the stress hormone) rises, it can trigger a domino like effect that lowers the libido and testosterone.

Furthermore, there are some less obvious reasons why your sex drive isn’t at its best, including how you’re sleeping, what you’re eating, or how much water you’re drinking.  Surprising, right? According to a 2015 study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, more sleep led to higher levels of sexual desire and better arousal the next day for women. And researchers from the University of Chicago found that lack of sleep was linked to a drop in men’s testosterone, thus leading to lacking of sex drive. Not a bad reason to try to get a little more shuteye.

What you eat and drink to nourish yourself also contributes to how your sex drive functions. Consuming too much processed foods, especially those that are high in saturated fats will clog your arteries and prevent blood from flowing to your sexual organs. Fan of dessert after every dinner?  Spikes in your blood sugar can cause your testosterone to drop by 25 percent leaving you with less desire to have sex. What’s more, not having enough water in your system not only causes brain cloudiness, headaches, and irritability, but it can leave your vagina dry. If you needed more reasons to start eating healthier, this would be it!

Being in the mood is fairly significant in your fertility management. While the chances of getting pregnant don’t solely rely on your sex drive, it does help increase the odds of the sperm and egg meeting. Making some positive life changes such as eating healthier, establishing a sleep pattern, and finding stress relievers will not only make you feel better, but having sex much more enjoyable. We would say that these effects are a win-win in the long run.

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This article is the last of our three-part Managing Your Fertility series. Didn’t get a chance to read the first two? Catch up on the first article on menstruation, here, and second article on, ovulation, here. Both cover how these events affect the way you think about managing your fertility.

By: Shanice Perriatt