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July 21, 2011 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Why does my sex drive INCREASE when I get my period?

I'm 26 and on Yasmin birth control. In a very good, serious, committed, long-term relationship and we live together. I wouldn't consider myself a highly sexual person (although I've been on this BC since the beginning of this relationship--my first real one--so it's hard to say for sure)...I'm content having sex once every 1-2 weeks, and taking care of myself occasionally in between. (It's always GREAT when we do it, but we get really into it...'quickie' is not in our vocab and we sort of have to set time aside....we've both conceded that quality is preferable to quantity. I can get myself off in under 5 minutes so sometimes it's just more convenient, sorry!) Anyway, this all seems to work out fine between us so that's not where I'm looking for feedback.

What I *don't* get is that I've found that my sex drive goes up when I'm in my period--especially the first two days! Any females out there might find this particularly perplexing in that this tends to be the most uhhh...messy and most cramp-laden point in the period. What gives?

And before you go the psychological route, I have to say that I don't think it's a matter of "You want it more when you can't have it"...I'm sure that's true for some but there's no issue with period sex here; i.e. if I want it I can have it.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has ever experienced this and/or if anyone knows whether this could have anything to do with hormonal birth control (and this kind in particular).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I am the same way. Don't really have an answer. hormones raging?
posted by Pork n Beans at 7:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Because you are a human being and different than what is expected of you? Seriously, you are the only you that will ever exist. If you don't fit the expected models, well then you should just have to deal with it. And enjoy your ride.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:55 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's got to be the hormones. I remember having this conversation with my college roommates, and if subsequent conversations with friends count, then this is actually pretty normal.
posted by smirkette at 7:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hormonal birth control messes with the sex drive of many, many women. You're getting a break from the hormones during the week of your period because those pills are just blanks.
posted by corey flood at 7:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm this way, too. I don't know why it happens, but it's pretty common for me.
posted by woodvine at 8:15 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not just about getting a break from hormones during the week off for the pill, because it happens to women who are not on hormonal contraceptives as well.

There seem to be many articles about this on the internet.

Go Ask Alice: Is it weird to feel hornier than usual during my period?

Cosmo mag: Can menstruation really affect my libido?
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:22 PM on July 21, 2011

Yep, happens to me too, and I'm not on birth control.
posted by Specklet at 8:23 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Happens to me every time I get my period and I'm not on birth control.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

This has always been the case for me, and I have a high sex drive to begin with. I'm on birth control now, and it's actually blunted the effects since I'm not on my natural cycle.
posted by Fire at 8:37 PM on July 21, 2011

It's not my horniest time, but close. There are advantages - orgasm seems to relieve cramp, and the period seems to last a shorter period of time.
posted by b33j at 8:37 PM on July 21, 2011

I've found that my sex drive goes up when I'm in my period--especially the first two days!

I don't think I've been in a relationship with a woman who wasn't like this.
posted by spaltavian at 8:48 PM on July 21, 2011

Never had this on HBC (Triphasil). Since I went off, though I definitely notice an uptick in desire at the beginning of my period. I don't know if the orgasms truly minimize the cramps or just make me care less, but there's that.
posted by desuetude at 8:49 PM on July 21, 2011

I actually think this is normal, at least based on my casual research and chats with the sexually-open women I know.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:05 PM on July 21, 2011

In my experience, it's about a 50/50 split between the first few days of the cycle and the first few days before the cycle.
posted by davejay at 9:25 PM on July 21, 2011

Chiming in to add to the chorus of, yep, me too.

No hormonal birth control here. Stronger and more... kinky? than when I ovulate. Usually the day before and the first 1 or 2 days of my period.
posted by Gucky at 9:44 PM on July 21, 2011

Happens to my girlfriend too. Also on birth control.
posted by smorange at 10:20 PM on July 21, 2011

Another one for yep, that's often my body's helpful reminder that my period's on its way.
posted by honey-barbara at 11:38 PM on July 21, 2011

Estrogen and testosterone both rise when your period begins, and that's probably why you feel an upsurge in libido.

(For many women, the sexiest time is during ovulation, when both estrogen and testosterone peak. But I think Yasmin suppresses ovulation, so the period might be your most chemically-libidinous part of the menstrual cycle.)

You might be interested in this book about how women's hormones affect their mood throughout their cycles. Or the author's website, which has some of the same information:
posted by hungrytiger at 11:44 PM on July 21, 2011

Not on BC here, and this is normal for me.

On the upside, orgasms tend to help lift my spirits when I'm having an awful period.
posted by Mizu at 3:01 AM on July 22, 2011

Absolutely natural and logical. Remember that when you're on hormonal BC, you're not having periods; you're having periodic weeks of withdrawal bleeding when you stop taking the steady dose of hormones. You have a different hormonal balance during the withdrawal week (to simplify: less estrogens relative to the testosterone we all naturally have) so it's completely logical if you feel more horny then.
posted by kalapierson at 5:44 AM on July 22, 2011

I am like this too. I have always attributed it to the accumulation of random feelings going on down there. Eventually, with all the new activity, I assume my body subconsciously starts thinking about.... well... sex.
posted by LZel at 6:43 AM on July 22, 2011

I think it probably has something to do with hormones, but also something to do with the increased moistness in the area.
posted by coppermoss at 6:59 AM on July 22, 2011

Happened with my wife also, back in the day. We kept a big soft red towel around and did not miss a beat.
posted by Danf at 7:17 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

That Go Ask Alice link above says "Also, there is more pelvic congestion during a woman's periods, so she is already experiencing this heaviness, which may trigger or translate to arousal." That seems to jibe with my experience.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:34 AM on July 22, 2011

Never been on HBC, this happens to me too. Also don't have the "want, can't have" issue. Period sex is fun.
posted by purplecrackers at 10:12 AM on July 22, 2011

I've experienced this as well and always assumed that it was from the constant subtle stimulation from the extra wetness.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:44 PM on July 23, 2011

I've never been on hormonal birth control and this used to happen to me. It hasn't in the last few years, but I'm a lot closer to menopause than menarche.
posted by deborah at 2:12 PM on July 26, 2011

I was just reading this page on MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt blog linked above and the author actually says this: "In fact, this week your libido returns, though technically that’s not due to hormones. Researchers believe it’s because the nerve endings down below get stimulated as your body prepares for menstruation." Apparently the testosterone doesn't surge until the end of your period, and most women here as well as myself report being hornier at the beginning. So this nerve stimulation theory must be correct, since it's counter-intuitive to be more libidinous during pre-menstruation. I would like to find the actual research she's talking about.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 9:30 PM on July 27, 2011

Oops I meant this page. Also this is an amazing website.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 9:31 PM on July 27, 2011

I've heard this before. Personally, I'm always more turned on shortly before my period (like, during ovulation time). I'm not on birth control, but I can always tell my period is coming because the week or so before I'm much more easily turned on. I've always just heard/assumed that it was because, in the time period before your period, your body is trying to make it easier to get pregnant. But that doesn't totally make sense if the time period is DURING your period. Which makes me super fascinated as to why this happens to some women. The nerve stimulation someone mentioend before is SUPER interesting. I"m going to have to check this out.
posted by KodyKeplinger at 12:09 AM on July 31, 2011

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