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Yes Your Cycle Can Affect Your Libido: Here’s How

There’s no denying it, our period can – and does – impact our body in a variety of ways. The infamous seven-day cycle – otherwise known as menstruation – has the power to not only affect our mood, appetite and energy levels but also our hormones and the degree to which they fluctuate.

That said, here at The Fix we were not surprised to learn, that yes… our periods can in fact impact both our libido and sexual health.

Although all women are different and will therefore experience different hormonal spikes, it is widely known that the vast majority of women will notice an increase in libido and sexual desire during their cycle of menstruation.

With periods of ovulation and menstruation now recognised as the cycle points in which women will typically experience their highest levels of estrogen, it is only expected that this will result in a heightened sex drive.

Whilst there is a variety of factors that have the power to impact our libido, today many medical experts associate changes in sex drive with changes in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone hormones produced by the ovaries.

In order to gauge a deeper understanding as to why and how this increase inlibido occurs, The Fix sat down with Brisbane-based clinical Sexologist, Naomi Hutchings.

From identifying the reasons behind these hormonal spikes to effective management strategies to deal with such spikes, Hutchings explains the full extent to which our period can – and does – impact our libido.


So it’s true our period can actually increase our libido?

Although Hutchings agrees that every female is different and will therefore experience different hormonal spikes, she does confirm that for the vast majority of women, experiencing an increase in libido during menstruation is not just normal but expected.

“If we’re talking about getting horny, then we definitely know that some people will get a spike, in the middle of their cycle, it all depends on who you are, but this is absolutely something that clients have shared with me” Hutchings confirms.

Now although this surge in sexual desire is to be expected, it is important to remember that our level of desire can be influenced and stimulated by a variety of factors – not just our periods.

“This is the thing, you have to remember with libido, there are so many things that impact it…the context of your life at the time, are you in a relationship? Are you having casual sex who are you being sexual with. Our libido can be impacted by many things and so it might even be that, say, for example, you do feel like, oh, I'm a bit more sexually aroused than usual… but then if you've got relationship issues, or other things going on around how you feel about sex, that's also going to impact you wanting to engage in sex or not”, Hutchings states.


At what stage of the menstruation cycle should women expect to experience this increased sexual drive and desire?

With research suggesting that women will typically experience a heightened sexual desire during the middle of their cycle, Hutchings further supports this statement in that the majority of her clients have also found this to be true.

“If you're talking about getting horny, then we definitely know that some people will get a spike, in the middle of their cycle. Everyone's cycles are different but generally, these feelings are felt halfway through” says Hutchings.

This rise in desire during the middle of our cycle can also be a result of changing levels of both estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen typically drops at the beginning of one’s cycle, only to then increase in the following two to three days – which therefore prompts an increase in libido.

Whilst a vast majority of women may notice an increase in their sex drive during their cycle, others may find that they are at their most sexually aroused in the lead-up to ovulation – commonly known as the period during the menstrual cycle when an egg is released from a woman's fallopian tube and made available for fertilization.

As ovulation is recognised as the cycle point at which women are most likely to successfully conceive, it is only expected that one may therefore feel more hormonally driven to do so.

“Some women will just get this spike where they know they are sexually aroused…the ovulation period is usually when women comment that this is happening”, says Hutchings.


Will all women experience this heightened sexual desire as a result of menstruation?

Despite Hutchings, stating that the majority of her clients do experience a heightened sex drive whilst on their period, she does mention that this is certainly not the case for all women.

“No, not everyone will experience these feelings, so don't get freaked out if you don't, because that's absolutely also a very common experience. Women can be caught up with all the horrible feelings and symptoms of their period that sex becomes the last thing on their mind. For some women, they do not want to do any of that stuff and sometimes their lovers won't want to have sex either, so even if they want to{ have sex} their sexual partner may not.”

“A lot of women actually don't feel an increased sex drive, they feel absolutely tired, anxious, and in pain…in fact, they might not want to have sex at all. It all depends on who you are. But this is absolutely something that not all women experience.”

“For some people, nothing impacts their sex drive… it's always there. For others. tiredness, stress, relationship problems, not having sex that they enjoy…there are lots of reasons they may not be in the mood. I suppose you have to take all of this into account as well” Hutchings stresses.

The type of relationship a woman has with her sexual partner also has the power to dictate whether she may – or may not – feel a heightened sense of sexual desire during her cycle.

“If you're at the beginning, of a new relationship, it doesn't matter what's going on, a lot of people just feel really sexually aroused” Hutchings explains.


What advice would you give to those currently menstruating and experiencing the full effects of a heightened libido?

Considering that all women will experience and find relief from their periods in varying ways, what might work for some women may not be effective for others. When it comes to embracing these hormones and acting upon your sexual urges, Hutchings is in full support of doing what works and feels best for you and your body at the time.

Although engaging in intercourse may seem like the easiest way to deal with these heightened hormones, period sex is an act that not all women – nor their partners – feel comfortable engaging in.

“Period sex is something people have been doing for a long time and I still think there's a lot of stigma around it. Sometimes the individual menstruating might want to engage, but the lover makes a comment that then negatively impacts the situation instead” Hutchings informs me.

That said, other women find period sex to be an extremely effective form of pain relief for menstruation symptoms such as cramping and pelvic congestion. Considering that period blood can also act as a natural lubricant, many women find this to actually ease the discomfort they feel when engaging in intercourse whilst menstruating.

“We know that having an orgasm can be a form of pain relief, so for some women period sex actually makes them feel better” Hutchings states.

At the end of the day, it is up to the individual menstruating to decide whether they would like to act upon their urges or not.

“I suppose it's your choice, and who your lover is because some people will happily engage in penetration or some kind of sexual activity while they're bleeding, but for some others, they'll be completely turned off or their partners might be” says Hutchings.

It is also important to remember that these urges do not need to be necessarily actioned with a partner. Self-pleasure is an easy and effective option, to relive and tend to such urges without a sexual companion.

With the topic of period sex still being considered rather taboo, Hutchings is passionate about making these topics and conversations surrounding these topics more normalised.

Striving to shift these matters into more mainstream media, Hutchings continues to advocate and openly discuss these topics in the hopes that others will feel comfortable doing so too.

“I've been in this field { sexual health } for 18 years, and I'm super passionate about it, so I'm always about getting on my soapbox and banging on about how important it is to talk about this stuff”, says Hutchings


Naomi Hutchings is a clinical Sexologist, who provides relationship therapy and education to clients around the world.

Having completed a Masters of Health Science in Sexual Health, A Bachelor of Arts Degree (Majoring in Gender Studies and Politics) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling, Naomi’s role as a sexologist has seen her work in schools, prisons, youth agencies, TAFE’s, Universities, health services as well as facilitating many support groups.

To learn more about Naomi or book a consult with her directly, visit




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