Her Cycle – how to track it, and how it affects every aspect of her life (including her sexuality).

August 1, 2009

NOTE: If your wife is post menopausal, pregnant, nursing on demand, or on hormonal contraceptives, the following does not apply.

A woman’s menstrual cycle affects virtually everything about her life, including her sexuality. It would be difficult to overstate the impact her cycle has, and knowing where she is in her cycle can make sex a lot better for both of you.  Her cycle also affects her mood, her energy level, and a number of other things. One study even showed it affects a woman’s ability to do math calculations! Some women are more affected than others, and some do better at covering, but all women are affected to some degree.

What I want to do here is give you the tools to track her cycle – then you can make notes about her mood or her sex drive or whatever else, and learn to be ready.

Traditionally a woman’s cycle is counted with the first day of bleeding as day one. This is easy, but it’s not overly useful because this day is not a hormonal starting point. If her cycle is very regular, using the beginning of her period as day one will work fairly well, but if her cycles vary much it’s not going to allow you to track her moods and desires. The reason for this is the number of days from ovulation (release of an egg) to menstruation is consistent for all cycles – 14 days for most women, a bit more or less for some. If her cycle length varies, the extra days are between the first day of her period and when she ovulates. Ovulation is the hormonal key – but you can’t know when ovulation occurred until 14 days later when menstruation starts. Leave it to a woman to be so mysterious!

There is, however a way to work around this unknown. If you keep track of her moods and desires day by day, then add her cycle after you know it, you will start to see patterns. You will see she is sexually aggressive a day before she ovulates, or find she strongly resists sex for the three days after she ovulates, or she is giddy on such and such day, or distant on certain days, or tired, or upset with the kids, or whatever. Once you put these things into context with her cycle, they will become sign posts you can use to know where she is even before her period gives you confirmation.

Enough explanation, let’s get to it. Get a date book or notebook for your records. Start making notes of the things you want to track about her. When she starts her period go back two weeks and make that day 0 (zero). So, if she starts her period on a Wednesday, she ovulated two weeks ago Wednesday. Then put in positive numbers forward, which makes the day she ovulates day 14. Next put in negative numbers from zero back to her last period. Once you have a few cycles you can start to look for certain moods or events occurring on the same or nearly the same numbered day. You may be shocked at some of the patterns – things that have always seems random suddenly have hormonal triggers!

Use your new found insight to bless your wife, and to make life easier for both of you. Don’t invite guests over when she will be tired or grumpy, help with the kids when she has a hard time coping, plan your activities and dates with her mood and energy in mind, and make the most of the times when she is more interested in, and most going to enjoy sex.

Sexual Patterns

As your wife moves through her cycle a variety of hormones ebb and flow. Many of the hormones affect others, increasing or decreasing them, or strengthening or weakening their affects. Aside from making her grumpy a few days each month, this “hormonal dance” has profound affects on her sexuality. Because every woman is somewhat different, you will need to study your wife to learn how her hormones affect her sexuality, but getting a handle on it is be well worth your time. Below are a few common things to look for, as a starting place.

  • Most women have their strongest sex drive just before they ovulate, at mid cycle.
  • Many women have a “receptive sex drive” prior to the above – she won’t chase you, but may enjoy being chased.
  • Following ovulation drive drops significantly and rapidly.
  • There may be a “rebound” in desire shortly before her period.
  • The type and duration of stimulation she wants/needs during foreplay can vary greatly during the month. Same thing for intercourse.
  • There may be certain days (probably the week before ovulation) when it’s easier for her to climax during intercourse, and other days (probably the week after ovulation) when it’s difficult (or essentially impossible) for her to do so.
  • She may want or be able to have multiple orgasms only during a certain part of the month.
  • There may be a part of the month where it takes longer to reach climax, but the result is more earth shattering.
  • She may be interested in receiving, or giving, certain kinds of stimulation at one time of the month, but not another.

Many women are not aware of these sexual side effects of their cycle, and very few are fully aware of them. By studying her sexual reactions over her cycle, you can learn how to use them to make sex much better for both of you. Learn to know where she is in her cycle, and keep it in mind as you are sexual with her.

25 comments
bunnygirl3
bunnygirl3

 Goodness... i chart my cycles as we use the fertility awareness method and there is so much accuracy in this post. I totally recognize all the patterns in myself that you mentioned (one hard time for us is a few days after ovulation and the following week; my only desire really is to give m husband what he needs, but right before ovulation I'll have multiple orgasms and beg him to do it as much as possible)!! My husband already has recognized these things, because we monitor my cycles together... it's helped him to better understand what to expect at different times. Would be great if more people were aware... especially husbands... :)


themarriagebed
themarriagebed moderator

@bunnygirl3  Thanks for the supporting voice. I think every husband should know his wife's cycle very well.

bunnygirl3
bunnygirl3

i think for men tracking their wives cycles as it says in the article, it should be noted that you cannot always count 14 days before her period and determine ovulation date. The cycles is not always half and half, follicular phase and luteal phase. it can be a good approximation. From ovulation to my period is only 11-12 days, so 14 doesn't quite apply to me. Fertility awareness is wonderful for having both people really get to know the woman's body and cycle. The only draw back, is that we pull out during that time, and it can be almost agonizing as it's the time where things are the most wonderful to be UP. I can't imagine how hard abstaining during that time would be. Kudos to the Catholics!

A real sexual woman
A real sexual woman

Well my best friend has a PhD in reproductive studies, my major is in a different field. However we analysed a lot of these studies and they are majorly flawed basically I could get a higher schooler to create studies with greater foundation. I cannot disagree that I am not different from other women , fortunately  I haven’t fallen foul to this strange conditioning that women are subject to. I may not be the norm but I am certainly not unusual.

The sexual variation in women is largely something that occurs naturally, the culture seeks to ruin or control it. For learned behaviour I cannot account for its impact.

Yes I am blessed to not be burdened with these silly issues, few things are beyond control in that sense. As you mentioned I am making a choice, I am allowing my mind to take control and not my emotions or silly culture. Women can get there if they refuse the brainwashing. 

A real sexual woman
A real sexual woman

Hmmmmm again a woman isn’t a science experiment that needs to be observed, if you’re having sex properly these things will become apparent.

Women do not have strongest sex drives before ovulation it’s a lie that has been spread to give the impression that women’s sex drives are linked to procreation.

Women have been conditioned to have a receptive sex drive to control their sexual behaviour, this is so ingrained into our culture we don’t even know the origins. Apparently this is something only men do.

Women, you are capable of having an orgasm ANY time of the month this includes multiple orgasms. Do not listen to you cannot, sex is an experience we want to engage all of our senses . For most men they are conditioned to ejaculate and then its all over, the sad thing is a much greater experience is waiting for them too.

themarriagebed
themarriagebed moderator

@A real sexual woman   I won't argue what you experience, but it does not match with what a wide array of studies have found to be the most common.

Clearly you experience sexuality differently than most women. It seems you would say this is because of how you choose to act sexually. I would argue some of the difference is beyond your control - it's just how are. In other words, which is cause and which is effect?

Women seem to have a great deal of variation sexually. Some of that is due to culture and learned behaviour, but some is not. 

It sounds like where you are is a good place. However I doubt most women can get to the same place via the same route.

MalachiNimmonsJr
MalachiNimmonsJr

How to tell when men want sex: 1. Circle a date on the calendar. Then circle them all. 2. You're done. 

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Kathleen - You are correct. Given the degree of nutrition we have in the West, it is an unreliable method of birth control even for the few women who do it exclusively and on demand. And since the first ovulation comes before the first menstruation, one women charting their mucus are likely know they are fertile before that first period.

Kathleen
Kathleen

Nursing EXCLUSIVELY on demand. No other food or supplementation. And no period, I might add. Wouldn't want people to think that just because they are nursing, they can't get pregnant. ;)

Hannah
Hannah

Lactational amenorrhea (not having periods while nursing) would be another instance where the above does not apply.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@YourFriendKimmy - Okay, but then don't we have to follow all of the Levitical law about menstruation? How can we say we must follow the limitation on sex, but that we need not follow all the other limitations? I certainly understand any woman or man who does not want to have sex at that time, and that seems to me to be a matter that each couple should decide. But I can't find a good way to separate out one bit of the law and ignore some much that is about the same thing. Blessings!

YourFriendKimmy
YourFriendKimmy

Nice article! And they seriously have an app for this type of thing?! Lol! Wow! And Generous Husband, that makes sense seeing how you broke it down. However I disagree because of Galatians 5:18-21... "But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." We are free from the majority of the law, but Leviticus is still a guideline of what sexual purity is. If this was not the case we could marry our cousins and homosexuality would not be a sin. Something to consider. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. " ~Galatians 5

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@bookworm - In my mind that is a personal matter for each couple to decide. Some men, and a few women, can't deal with the sight of the mess, and most women don't really want to deal with the amount of the mess that will happen during her heavy days. Some women are very desirous during menstruation, while others are cramping and that means no desire and pain if sex occurs. If she really wants it, I think he needs to "man up" and do it for her. If he can't deal with blood on his penis, a condom will solve that. If she really does not want sex during menstruation I think he should respect that - and I also think she needs to respect his desire and do something else for him. As to the biblical prohibition, that was a part of the law that is no longer followed. When someone tries to eliminate it based on that, I ask if they eat shrimp or trim their beard - both of which are also prohibited under the same part of the law.

bookworm
bookworm

What's your opinion about abstaining during the menstrual phase (while bleeding)?

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Ken - I personally have a problem with abstinence during fertile phase as I see it to be a violation of 1 Cor 7:5. Not looking to debate that, just being clear on how I see it. That said, my bride and I did FAM for several years - same as NFP except that you can have intercourse with a barrier or engage in other sex acts when she is fertile.

Ken
Ken

I heartily agree with this article- my wife and I are Catholic and have been using Natural Family Planning to space the births of our children for the last 10 years. We use a method called the Creighton Model, and it works GREAT. Using it, I constantly know what is going on with her body- and her hormones. I can easily anticipate mood swings, and when she will most likely be "in the mood". My favorite part? Because we abstain during times of fertility (to avoid having a dozen or so kids) we both eagerly await the times when she is infertile and count down the days to when we can join back together again. It makes intimacy that much better, and it allows us to anticipate it together. All pluses!

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@ - Yup, great book. I think any couple would do well to be able to know her cycle this well, no matter what form of birth control they choose.

bookworm
bookworm

There is a method of reliably tracking ovulation so that you know you've ovulated 1 day after (much better than 14 days later). I recommend a book called, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility." It's about charting the monthly cycle to determine which days are fertile so that you can more easily get pregnant (if that's your plan) or put the info to contraceptive use by knowing when a barrier method is necessary and when you can go condom-free! The book also talks about the changing chemical balance in the female body and which days of her cycle would be best to schedule annual exams, mammograms, diaphram fittings, etc. It's not a Christian book, but it has excellent biological information that all women should read. It would be great for men to read too, especially if they were willing to go as far as trying to track their wives' cycles based on her emotional responses.

Kathleen
Kathleen

Yay! *clapping!!!* Spot on! :)

macfly
macfly

If you have an iPhone or an iTouch there is a free app in iTunes called "My girl"; does the work of keeping track. With a few months of input it will tweek her cycle notifications. Very helpful.