Why Do I Get Ridiculously Horny Around My Period?

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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If you menstruate, maybe you’ve noticed that along with all the usual symptoms, like cramps and needing tater tots this very instant, you tend to get way hornier than your baseline. If you’re a huge fan of period sex, you might wonder what’s behind your ramped-up sex drive. 

“Some people actually have a higher sexual desire when they’re on their period, which could seem a little wacky to some—but I bet a whole bunch of people will raise their hand” to agree that they feel more horny when the blood is flowing, Tia Jackson-Bey, MD, an ob-gyn and assistant clinical professor at the Raquel and Jaime Gilinski Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. Here, Dr. Jackson-Bey helps break down exactly what makes you so turned on around your period.

What’s going on during your period that might affect your sex drive?

As a quick refresher: Your menstrual cycle, which lasts for about 28 days, is made up of two different stages—the first is the follicular phase, and the second is the luteal phase. You’re likely to feel your horniest at the midpoint of your cycle, which marks ovulation (when an ovary releases an egg). Your hormones—particularly estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone—can influence how eager you are to get down.

When you’re actively bleeding, both your progesterone and estrogen levels drop. And those dialed-up urges to break out your sex toys or jump on another person happen because you, essentially, “get a break from [high levels of] progesterone,” says Dr. Jackson-Bey. When progesterone levels are high, you might have tender breasts or feel bloated or extra sleepy. So when progesterone then drops, you might get some relief from these annoying symptoms and feel more in the mood to have sex, Dr. Jackson-Bey says. (And if you weren’t boning or masturbating as much because of your symptoms, it only makes sense that you’d feel especially eager to get back in the saddle, blood or no blood.)

A perk of period sex, as SELF previously reported, is that orgasms might make your cramps feel a little more bearable—it’s possible that muscle contractions during climax and increased blood flow to the vagina and clit provide pain relief. Having sex can also be a mood-booster, which might help ease some of the period crankiness you could be feeling. As yet another bonus, your period blood acts as natural lube, which can make sex feel especially nice: “Lubrication can make or break a sexual encounter. If the lubrication is better, you’re going to have a better experience, and that might incite more desire,” says Dr. Jackson-Bey.

To be frank: Outside of hormonal shifts, it’s pretty tough to nail down the exact reason why people get horny at any point in their cycle, based on the available science. But regardless of what your progesterone levels are doing, you can get it in whenever you feel like it—or not! Some people don’t go through this kind of bloodlust, and that’s normal, too.

If you’re noticing especially dramatic changes in your sex drive (whether it’s higher or lower) during your period and you’re wondering what’s up, talk to a doctor to check in on what’s going on, says Dr. Jackson-Bey. But if you’re happy with your sex life, including lots and lots of period sex (if you’re into that!), keep on doing whatever gets you off. Just maybe put down a sheet first.

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