Why are my ovaries trying to make me cheat?
January 3, 2011 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Why are my ovaries trying to make me cheat?

I am in a happy relationship of three years. We have sex at least once a week which is fine for both of us. I can see myself staying with this guy indefinitely - he's a fantastic man and a real keeper in so many ways.


Once a month, as reliably as clockwork, I ovulate, and All Hell Breaks Loose inside my head. For about 48 hours, all I can think about is sex, I cannot get it off my mind, and it is sex with ANYONE.

It's like my hormones go completely overboard with the "encouraging me to procreate" thing. I look at my creepy co-worker, my mean boss, my attached male friend, and all of them are suddenly fair game. Right now I am slightly grossing myself out writing about it, but for those two days, I find myself plotting ways to make them want me.

My problem is that I occasionally feel myself actually going too far with this. One day, I'm terrified that one of these horrifically unsuitable targets will reciprocate, and I'll find myself actually acting on my insane urges.

Let me assure you that this really does ONLY happen when I'm ovulating. I'm so relieved every month when the urges pass and I can go back to normal old me. It's as powerful as the hormones on the opposite side of the month, which you will understand if, like me, you suffer from really bad PMT.

Please - tell me if you've experienced this and know ways of heading yourself off. Tell me if you know a way to curb the thoughts/urges. Tell me I'm not one day going to act on the hormonal impulse and ruin the best relationship of my life and even better, tell me how!

Thanks in advance and apologies for the anon - my other half lurks.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Have you discussed this with your other half? More specifically, have you discussed taking advantage of this time with your other half? I can't imagine he'd turn you down if you wanted it more than usual, and when you can't be together physically, you can keep in touch, ahem, a number of virtual ways that ensure he's the one who's on your mind.
posted by katillathehun at 4:06 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]

Are you on any hormone regulating medication for birth control acne? If so perhaps you could talk to your doctor about switching to a brand which might not carry that particular side-effect.
posted by sarastro at 4:07 PM on January 3, 2011

Yes, your ovaries aren't trying to make you cheat, they're trying to make you have sex so you can have a baby. So, you know, have more sex by yourself or with your partner at that time, so that your ovaries will shut up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:13 PM on January 3, 2011 [20 favorites]

Tell your SO. He'll be marking his calendar if he knows you're crazy horny a certain time of the month.
posted by rancidchickn at 4:13 PM on January 3, 2011

I'd talk to your doctor about this. While some might see these urges as a good thing, they're clearly too far over the line for you to be considered fun or a "bonus" or anything positive to be taken advantage of. I assume you're not on hormonal BC or you wouldn't be ovulating in the first place, but maybe a low-level pill might be in order for you (which might also help the "opposite side of the month" problems.
posted by Gator at 4:15 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Echoing everyone in that you're looking at this slightly askew - your ovaries aren't trying to make you cheat, they're just trying to make you fuck. It's you that's in charge when it comes to who you fuck.

There's no law that says you have to only have sex once a week. Just do it more often when you're ovulating and your ovaries will be happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:17 PM on January 3, 2011 [9 favorites]

I agree that if you're as reliable as hell, it might be worth letting your guy know that you two should REALLY try to take advantage of this surge when it happens. How flexible is his work schedule? How flexible is yours? Can you sneak out for a midday quickie?

But have you even let him know that you're in this fever state for 2 days, or are you hiding it from him because you're afraid to let him know how wide-ranging your lust is? Is some kind of grabbing-a-stranger roleplay something you can actually bring into bed with you?

However, it is interesting that you're presenting this as "[something else, not me] is trying to make me cheat". I believe that your hormone surge is real, and I also believe that you don't want to cheat on your SO, but are there potential issues in your relationship that are making you consider some blameless way of engineering a split from him?

But if you really are solid with your relationship, and you don't think you can channel this lust, but just want to damp it down, then I agree that you should talk with a doctor about ways of controlling these swings.
posted by rosebuddy at 4:18 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, you're not alone. It was quite a shock for me, as I didn't realize how much my libido had gradually lessened on the Pill. Once I went off (in my early thirties) I adjusted to the barely-remembered sensation of ovulating and noticed an increase in my libido overall, but it took about a year for the nymphovulation thing to really kick in.

I keep my cycle discreetly in my main calendar so that I have warning. I jerk off a lot. I get a little thrill of "conquest" by putting a little extra strut in my step and turning some heads on the street. I'm already a pretty physically affection person, so at least I can snuggle my friends all platonic-like. My SO obviously benefits.

I rather like it, now that I'm used to it. I think of it as payback for all those years when I was young and inexperienced and too bashful to fully enjoy being aroused.
posted by desuetude at 4:21 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

this is a well documented phenomenon. like most social studies a big grain of YMMV has to be applied - but you're not alone, not even a little bit. and it's not just "i want more sex" - the cheating angle has been specifically studied. i think it's probably some form of our lizard brain saying "well, this guy at home has been fucking me regular once a week and i'm still not knocked up - maybe this other guy can do it!" the best part about being an evolved creature is that we don't have to succumb to that way of thinking.

i used to be a cheater. and those episodes could absolutely be connected to ovulation. i work that out in my marriage by becoming super dirty and slutty at home once a month. i think about the guy bagging my groceries or the gal folding towels and i think about what filthy things i'd like to do if given twenty minutes and a list of supplies...and then i go home and i incorporate those things in my home. the important part is not just more sex with my husband, but raunchier, naughtier, getting away with something style sex.

personally, i went a little crazy trying to suppress it - finding a healthy way to act it out works way better.
posted by nadawi at 4:28 PM on January 3, 2011 [8 favorites]

Doctor. If your current Doctor brushes this off, find another opinion.

PS. you might consider the route of yoga or other exercise to help regulate your body's functions and your mind instead of medication. Meditation (believe it or not!) and also acupuncture might help "even you out" in regards to your concerns like sexual impulse, your sense of control, and the PMT. But a medical doctor's opinion might provide valuable starting point, since you find this whole thing so overwhelming.
posted by jbenben at 4:28 PM on January 3, 2011

You can probably figure out in advance when you'll ovulate, by taking and charting your temperature, and then plan on having lunch/sex/dinner/sex etc. with your sweetie.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2011

The really sure way to shut your ovaries up is to have a baby. Not saying you should. But is it possible you're at the time of life when your body is saying, "Time's running out!"

You mention you could be with this guy indefinitely. Is he good enough to be with permanently?

A lot of people put off having babies till it's really rather difficult to have them. It may not be a bad thing to listen to your body. You don't have to do what it says, but it may have some somatic wisdom, too.
posted by musofire at 5:19 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Aw, don't get down on yourself! This is one of the best things about being a girl. Enjoy your dirty fantasies without guilt and jump your boyfriend more often. I don't think that you'd cheat those two days if you wouldn't on the other days. Just be sure you don't start crossing any lines, like going for drinks alone with these guys. It's your actions you need to watch, not your thoughts!
posted by mrs. sock at 5:28 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

No matter how horny you get, who you sleep with is determined by your mind, not your ovaries. Simply don't sleep with anyone who is not your boyfriend.
posted by OmieWise at 5:44 PM on January 3, 2011

Yeah, it can be a little scary when it happens, but it's totally normal - and as others have said, frequent orgasms at the time help.

It sounds like the lack of control is what's really bothering you, so if a few months of extra orgasms around that time don't seem to do it for you, you might try talking to your doctor. Hormonal birth control pills made it go away for me, which makes sense, scientifically.
posted by ldthomps at 6:03 PM on January 3, 2011

You are not the only one who has suspected a trend. And it isn't just your ovaries trying to get you knocked up, it's who they're suggesting you get knocked up by. Here's the cite, if you're into that kind of thing:
Haselton, M.G., Gangestad, S.W., 2006. Conditional expression of women's desires and men's mate guarding across the ovulatory cycle. Horm. Behav. 49, 509-518.
posted by adipocere at 6:37 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Your hormonal urge to have sex with other people is not the same urge as wanting to have sex with your long term partner, but you can take the edge off of the need for strange by having different, dirtier sex with your own guy. If you're into it, tell him you've got these urges and that you want him to do different stuff -- maybe be forceful, maybe play like he's a stranger, maybe have him push you up against a wall outside somewhere, etc.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:53 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hormones drive you to sex, not infidelity. That particular twist is coming from elsewhere. That said, people in committed, exclusive relationships do continue to have sexual fantasies about other people, often to a significant degree. Don't beat yourself up too much.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:02 PM on January 3, 2011

Thanks, adipocere - I was trying to discretely question how attractive her husband was but your article did it for me. ;-)

As much as we hear in society about monogamy being the be-all and end-all for woman and polygamy being the desired quality for males, the reverse is actually usually the case. Scientifically (and if we're blaming the ovaries we have to examine things scientifically) women typically benefit in polygamous relationships by producing offspring with the most fit male. Males that are not attractive tend to not be chosen to reproduce with. So most the females will choose a couple of hot guys to sex up. So while polygamy is certainly advantageous if you're a hot dude, it's really not all that great if you are so-so - you don't get any chicks.

Monogamy is where men really get even. If one male will only mate with one female then the other females HAVE to look for another male, even if he's not the best genetically.

This is not to say that there aren't advantages to monogamy for females, but when it comes to producing kids, unless she is paired up with the most attractive male her future offspring could be at a genetic disadvantage. She knows this and it can lead to cheating (even in "monogamous" species females have been observed cheating with the hot males) solely to produce a more fit offspring. THIS is what your body is trying to do.

However, that is WHY your ovaries are trying to make you cheat - because your body does not feel that genetically your SO is best suited to creating offspring. However what humans consider "fit" is slightly different from nature (a man who has a naturally good immune system is just as fit as a man who is slightly ill but can afford top-notch medical care) and unless you are actively trying to reproduce there is no reason to give into your ovaries' urgings. If you feel these urges are so strong they may overcome you I would suggest seeking professional help.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 10:37 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Eh, I'm not sure how helpful the "just so" story about genetic fitness is. When I am in this phase (and OP says this too) almost any guy can be the focus; attractiveness is not really the only factor. It's better explained as an interest in sex in general, one which can easily be focused on a monogamous partner. Plus, what about those studies that show the beta male baboons have a lot of reproductive success because they are nice, not attractive?
posted by mrs. sock at 5:26 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is super normal I think. I get like this too and have for years and as suggested above, found it's actually a great opportunity provided you're communicating openly with your partner and they're excited at the thought of you so frisky. We do it like rabbits like clockwork that time of month, always have, and not only that but we TALK about it in goofy sextalk sort of ways, you know, like "man I'm so horny I'd go outside right now and fuck the guy we can hear talking in the parking lot" "oh yeah? Do go on...", talk about threesomes we know is just talk, etc. Not that that works for every couple, you should send out feelers/be sensitive to your partner first of course, but if he likes that sort of thing it can be quite win-win.
posted by ifjuly at 5:23 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

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