Cycle syncing your sex life: Ovulation sex (Part 1)
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
This post is Part 1 of 3 of the "Cycle syncing your sex life" series.
My husband struggled for quite a while (years?) to “figure out” sex. Then one day, we did it! We both had an amazing sexual experience! I figured now we were pros for life. (Ha!) The next time we had sex, it was suddenly awkward and challenging again. (What?!)
Here’s two things I have learned:
1) Sex is not meant to be “figured out,” but rather is a journey of discovery and growth within marriage
2) At the same time - knowing some things about sex and your bodies can definitely help make things easier.
One of the foundational things to understand about sex is directly related to the wife’s menstrual cycle. Every week(-ish), she experiences emotional and physical changes that will directly impact your marriage’s sexual intimacy. Using knowledge of your cycle to better understand a woman’s health and overall well-being is actually something that NFP instructors have been talking about for some time. This concept has more recently been picked up outside of Catholic-land and labeled “cycle syncing.” Women who are not using artificial birth control (artificial hormones alter a woman's cycle rhythm) can cycle sync their fitness routine, their diet, and even their productivity. Why not also use this knowledge to help with your sexual intimacy?
The first time I wrote this reflection, I framed it as a “how to” piece. After much research and reflection, I realized – because women are similar but also very different in their cycles and fertility - it would work best to simply share my own personal experience. My hope is it will empower you, reader, to do your own research and reflection on how you (or your wife’s) cycle is impacting your own marriage.
A few notes before I dive in:
There are several “phases” of the woman’s cycle, that each come with technical terms. My eyes glaze over with the jargon, so for easier understanding, I will refer to the phases as menstruation, after menstruation/before ovulation (aka "follicular" phase), the ovulating window, and after ovulation (aka “luteal” phase).
No woman is exactly alike, so my experience is unlikely to match up exactly with how you operate.
There is a myth out there that men are always interested in sex. You’ll find that a man’s libido also changes. One thing research has found is men tend to have their highest testosterone levels, and thus highest sex drive, first thing in the morning. Otherwise, a husband's sex drive is generally less “predictable” than his wife’s (in regards to her cycle being “predictable”). Learn to be comfortable with talking together about where you are both at mentally/emotionally/physically.
If you’re a woman who needs to start at the beginning with talking to your husband about your cycle, start with this article here: https://verilymag.com/2014/10/how-to-talk-to-your-man-about-hormones
While ovulation only takes places over 24 hours, the “ovulating window” covers the five or so total days leading up to and just after her ovulation. These are the days when a woman has cervical mucous (aka the days when pregnancy is possible).
It’s been statistically proven that during this time women have a higher sex drive, are more confident about themselves, and husbands find their wives notably more attractive.
“Fertile sex” is (almost always) the easiest, best sex for my husband and I. The cervical mucous provides a natural lubrication and I am more easily aroused. It’s been a great time to experiment with new positions, genital stimulation, and learn more about my arousal curve in general. We can have intercourse for longer lengths and take our time enjoying/loving one another.
Because my husband and I have unexplained infertility issues, the “silver lining” is we’ve had many more opportunities for sex during this phase. (As opposed to couples who are exceptionally fertile and find themselves pregnant almost every time they have fertile sex.) The ovulation window can become challenging for us in different ways however, as we tend to put too much pressure on forcing the sex to lead to a baby. All couples have their challenges!
The position of the woman’s cervix rises at this time, so because it’s “out of the way,” deeper penetration can feel more desirable. This can be achieved with a position from behind - the man enters his wife while standing or kneeling behind her. When my husband first suggested this position, it felt both mentally and physically uncomfortable for me. Once I realized this position could be done in a loving and (very) pleasurable way, it helped to know it would be easier (not painful) during the ovulation window.
In Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla (aka Pope St. John Paul II) suggested it is okay for the husband to help his wife orgasm after the husband has climaxed inside her. This sounds great in theory, but in practice it can become awkward, especially when the husband is trying his best but it’s not “working.” While I was still learning how to orgasm (I still am!), it was nearly impossible for me to reach orgasm in any other phase but this one. The female orgasm is helped immensely by the increase in her libido and natural lubrication during this phase.
I highly recommend couples (who are open to a possible pregnancy) use the ovulation phase to experiment with achieving the post-coital female orgasm. If my husband has climaxed and I have not, I direct his (dominate) hand toward my genitals and ask for some help. I’ve learned not to be disappointed (or consider our sex a “failure”) if I didn’t reach climax. We still had great, loving sex, and we can always try again next time!