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Unlocking Libido and Intimacy: Embracing Your Menstrual Cycle's Role

If you're working on increasing your libido and intimacy, there's an important piece of the puzzle you may be missing: your menstrual cycle.

Understanding the menstrual cycle's impact on libido and pleasure leads not only to increased self-awareness and empowerment, but also helps you to live life at a more balanced pace. The female body is an amazing thing that’s primed for pleasure and sensitively tuned to rhythms and cycles. Integrating menstrual cycle awareness to your pleasure journey is a great way to help reclaim your sexuality with a deeper connection to your bodies and desires.

Your menstrual cycle is governed by hormones that fluctuate constantly and influence not only the physical body, but emotional, mental and spiritual states too. The cycle is made up of four hormonal phases, the effects of which will be individual to you. Tracking your cycle and the types of pleasure practices, sexual desire you gravitate towards (or not) means that you’ll be able to discover your unique pattern when it comes to pleasure work.

The Preovulatory Phase

After finishing your period, oestrogen - the hormone responsible for ovulation (the release of your egg) - starts to rise. The rising oestrogen also brings with it more energy and a willingness to be in the world after bleeding. This is a time in the cycle where you might start to feel your libido switch back on or crave more physical connection.

The Ovulatory Phase

When oestrogen peaks and your egg is released, your body is working to get you pregnant (whether you’re actually open to this or not). Cervical mucus becomes abundant, creating wetness (aka natural lube) which makes it easier for sperm to survive in the body and make it to your egg. Your cervix rises in your body to make more space for a penis to enter, making stimulation of the cervix less painful, and more pleasurable. This time of the cycle is a place where many feel more sensation which not only increases the capacity for pleasure, but also increases the likelihood of sex happening as a result (and therefore, more chances of fertilisation!).

The Premenstrual Phase

Once ovulation is over, oestrogen quickly drops and progesterone rises as the cycle shifts into the luteal orpremenstrual phase. This can be a difficult place to be emotionally, and while the need for penetrative sex might drop off for some, for others there can be an increase in the need for deep intimacy. Biologically speaking, there’s no chance of pregnancy happening here, which can give the permission to explore sexual intimacy for pleasure’s sake, instead of purely for procreation.

The Menstrual Phase

Menstruation is a place where sex and pleasure are taboo in many cultures, despite it being a place where libido rises naturally due to a small increase in testosterone. With physical symptoms like bloating, pain or exhaustion, the idea of sex might be the last thing on your mind, but sex doesn’t have to mean penetration! Orgasms produce dopamine and serotonin which are also natural painkillers, and can relieve cramps.

Understanding how your menstrual cycle impacts libido and pleasure can also help your partner(s) on your pleasure journey. Once you all know the ebb and flow of your menstrual and pleasure cycle, you can adapt your intimacy accordingly. By embracing these fluctuations with curiosity and compassion, you can reclaim our sexuality in harmony with your body’s innate wisdom.

Natalie Martin is an Author, Menstrual Cycle & Life Coach and recently she became a first time mum to her beautiful son. She is also a Certified Level-1 Year-1 Fembodiment™ Method Facilitator, and a a guest blogger at The Fembodiment™ Institute.

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