Cycle syncing your sex life: Pre-ovulation sex (Part 3)
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
This post is Part 3 of 3 of the "Cycle syncing your sex life" series. For an introduction to this series,start here.
Here I will cover my experiences with the "folicular" phase, which starts on the day your period begins and ends when your body begins to ovulate.
Let’s start with good news: there aren’t any health reasons to avoid sex on menstruation days. There is a small chance a woman could get pregnant during this time – specifically women with shorter cycles who have sex on the “light” days of her cycle -- so couples wishing to avoid a pregnancy should consult with their NFP instructor on this. Some couples avoid sex during this time (likely because it doesn’t sound very sexy), but many have found this to be a great time for sex. If you have never had period sex, try starting with the “light” days and experiment from there.
In our marriage, I typically encourage “light day” period sex. After a couple of days of feeling gross (I know we're supposed to "normalize" our periods, but when I'm bleeding I just feel gross), it is nice to feel like I’ve hit a re-set time. On my lighter days, I can already feel my an improvement in my emotions and my overall physical shape. I don’t think I ever had a “so how do you feel about…” conversation with my husband about period sex – that felt like a awkward conversation. I think I just initiated the first time and we’ve figured it out from there.
We have a few “sex towels” on hand in our bed room – towels we don’t care about – that we try to put under us during sex (especially during this phase). I usually stick a “light days” tampon inside me to do a quick clean out just before sex, so there’s less menses involved.
It generally feels easier to have sex during this phase (definitely easier than the prior week). It was interesting in my research to discover this is related to our biology: during menstruation, the increase in blood flow to the woman’s pelvic and genital areas can make these nerves more sensitive and she can be more easily aroused.
My research also suggested that this phase would be a good time for shower sex. The articles claimed that the menses works as a natural lubricant, so would make it easier to have sex in the shower. (Usually the water inhibits lubrication.) Also, it would make things cleaner! We have tried it once – “for research!” – and we’d both give that experience a 2/10. Maybe we’ll try again. Maybe we’ll learn not to believe everything the Internet tells us…
After menstruation, before your ovulation window
Depending on your cycle length, this may be the shortest phase of your cycle. On average it lasts 4 - 6 days, but length can be very different for each woman, and even for the same woman likely differs from month to month. Just after a woman's period, her progesterone levels (the hormone that decreases her sex drive) are at their lowest. Estrogen levels (the ones that increase her sex drive) are starting to build. This means her body and emotions will be changing fairly dramatically this phase, in a good sex kind of way. (Many couples who are trying to avoid a pregnancy avoid having sex during this phase altogether due to the uncertainty of this window).
This will be the shortest write-up of the series. Honestly, this week of the cycle is a toss-up! Every day is slightly different as my body approaches ovulation. My research indicated women might feel more creative or feel more focused (both good things for good sex!) but I'm not sure if I've noticed these things specifically improving our sex life. I do notice that I suddenly start finding my husband excessively attractive, in unusual ways … (Like, I recently complimented his sweatpants and tube socks look.) Communication is definitely key for figuring out what is working best for both of us on that day.
Ultimately I try to figure out how I’m feeling in that moment. If my body feels more easily aroused, I’ll encourage more creativity in positions and switching things up a few times. If my body is feeling sluggish to arousal, I encourage we take things more slowly and try for shorter penetration time. If I’m feeling especially interested in sex, I probably want to double check that I’m not already in the ovulating window. ;)