So That's Why You Get So Horny During Your Period

Photographed by Ruby Woodhouse.
If sex drives followed the perfectly-laid plan of your menstrual cycle, then you'd feel your sexiest around 10 to 13 days after your period ends, because that's when you'd be ovulating. And, from an evolutionary standpoint at least, sex is all about making babies. (We have to further the human race, amiright?) So, then why do some people get super horny when they're on their periods?
Periods are the time of the month when your uterus sheds the endometrial lining that has built up over the last 28 days (or more, or less, because periods are all different), which doesn't exactly create an ideal environment for a foetus to set up shop. You can get pregnant on your period, but it's much less likely than any other time of the month and definitely not a time when your body is actively encouraging procreation. So, it turns out that the ebbs and flows of a cisgender woman's sex drive aren't as simple as evolution would predict.
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While science hasn't found one solid answer for why some people feel extra frisky during their menstrual cycle, it at least partially comes down to hormones, says Nicole Bullock, D.O., an Ob/Gyn in Texas.
"During a normal menstrual cycle, most women will feel a libido surge during ovulation. This makes sense from a reproductive standpoint," she says. Right before ovulation, a cisgender woman's body has its highest levels of oestrogen, which makes you feel good. "The week of ovulation is the week you feel like a queen and could save the world," Dr. Bullock says. Your oestrogen is kicking your sex drive into high gear.
On the flip side, oestrogen is at a low during the week of your period, and so is progesterone (the hormone that prepares your body for pregnancy). So, it'd make sense for your libido to be at an all-month low during your period, too, right? After all, libido starts to wane as women get older because their hormones are also waning, Dr. Bullock says.
But, unlike when someone goes through menopause, not all hormones wane during your period. You actually experience a small surge in testosterone. While testosterone is known stereotypically as the hormone that makes men want to have sex all the time, cisgender women have low levels of testosterone, too. So the slight uptick in testosterone during menses could cause increased libido for some people. Of course, there may be other factors, too, including the psychological effects of knowing that period sex is (mostly) safe, and the benefit of added lubrication, Dr. Bullock says.
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No matter the reason, there are some clear benefits to having period sex. "Having increased sex drive during menses may not make sense from a reproductive standpoint, but maybe our great creator knew that," Dr. Bullock says. "Maybe it's for our relationship or just to feel good." Sex isn't all about making babies, after all.
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