They say “timing is everything.” Well, that’s especially true when it comes to your monthly cycle and how it affects your dating life.
Fact: Women have approximately 450 menstrual cycles in their lifetime. These cycles are often viewed as a burden, especially when it comes to our dating and sex lives.
What if I told you that your monthly cycle has four unique phases and each of them brings about different physical and emotional strengths? You’d probably want to learn how to work with your cycle instead of against it, right?
Understanding the natural ebb and flow of how your hormones work in each phase of your cycle can be the key to maximizing your dating life!
The first day of bleeding is considered Day 1 of your cycle. The hormone progesterone plunges, which causes the uterine lining to shed.
During this week, your energy is the lowest it will be in your cycle and you may feel tired, withdrawn and introspective. This is probably not the time to go on a date with someone new. Instead, consider clearing your calendar of big social and dating events and make a date with yourself. Indulge in a hot bath, watch a fun girlie movie and take a moment to reflect on the events of the past month.
If you get headaches and menstrual cramps during your period, ask your main squeeze for a roll in the hay. Physical touch and orgasms trigger the production of oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding, which also happens to reduce physical pain.
Note: Oxytocin also boosts your level of trust in others so if you do go on a date this week, choose them wisely.
This phase follows menstruation. It’s called the Follicular phase because your pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH stimulates the follicles (which contain your eggs) in your ovaries to mature.
This causes estrogen and testosterone to rise which brings a boost to your energy, mood and brain skills. You will feel more confident and more willing to take risks. Testosterone stimulates your libido while estrogen makes you feel more extroverted and suppresses your appetite.
Make use of those increasing social superpowers! Reach out to the hottie you’ve wanted to ask out all month. Join a new social group or schedule date night with your current beau. Your body handles strenuous exercise well during this time too, so instead of dinner and a movie, go on a hike or go rock climbing.
Ovulation is the culmination of the hard work your body has been doing over the last couple of weeks. An egg gets released from its follicle in your ovary and will survive for 12-24 hours.
Estrogen and testosterone rise to peak levels, boosting the effects of the follicular phase. Estrogen, the juicy hormone, makes your skin glow and you’ll look more attractive to the opposite sex. Ever notice that men stare at you longingly during ovulation? Well, they do…next time pay attention to the looks you get.
As testosterone rises to peak levels, it might be difficult to focus on anything but sex. Testosterone continues to amp up your confidence, which makes this the perfect time to try something new and exciting between the sheets with a partner. You’ll also get a thrill out of flirting in new places, so attend a single’s event you wouldn’t normally go to, such as speed dating. You might even be more open to a brief fling during this time.
This phase lasts about 10-14 days. During the first week, you will continue to ride high off the ovulatory phase as estrogen and testosterone gradually decline. Take full advantage of this time!
The follicle that released the egg will begin to produce progesterone to prepare for a potential pregnancy. Progesterone is the “chill-out” hormone, like natural Valium, so you will find yourself starting to wind down.
In the second half of this phase, lower levels of estrogen and testosterone combined with slow-you-down progesterone lower your libido and calm your thoughts, making you less easily distracted. Now is a good time for organizing your home and taking care of your personal to-do’s.
The week before your period can be notoriously difficult. You might start to feel moodiness and cravings for carbohydrate-heavy comfort foods. These symptoms are not all in your head! There is a remarkable cascade of hormonal events taking place.
However, you may mistake something a potential love interest writes in an email or text as an indication that this person isn’t interested or you may misinterpret something your current partner has said. Keep in mind, plunging estrogen also drags down your feel-good brain chemicals, making you a more focused on why things may not work out.
Practice good self-care during the week before your period. This could mean clearing your calendar of big social events, eating healthy comfort foods, taking a yoga class, sleeping in later one morning or anything that makes you feel balanced. When you honor your body’s innate need for rest and relaxation during this phase, you will enhance your ability to get more out of the active phases of your cycle.
[photo: via Ben Husmann on flickr]