If you are like me, I had spent years not being in tune with my body. As a recovering people-pleaser and woman on the go, my focus was outward. Knowing and honoring how I felt and how my hormones influenced my mood and energy was never something I even considered as a possibility. But it is vital as a woman to take a look inward including knowing your monthly hormonal cycle to understand the ebbs and flows of your energy. Knowledge of our inner world is essential and luckily I have come a long way in understanding that I need to show up in the world based on the inside out, not the outside in. Join me on the inside and be curious about the ways your monthly cycle influences how you show up in intimacy with your partner and how to navigate the changes.
Stop All Physical Intimacy When on Your Period (Kidding!)
I’m totally kidding with that subheadline. Although that’s often what I hear happens from the women that I work with. Either she, her hubs, or both have a mindset during period week that this somehow automatically means it’s hands-off time as iff caution tape is wrapped around your body and no physical intimacy occurs. That’s a lot of time that you are spending not physically connecting with your partner! Although every woman's period length and frequency is different, if we think about this in math terms and your period is maybe every 4 weeks, then that is 12 weeks, or 23%, of the year. That’s a quarter of your year where there is no physical contact!
Let’s keep in focus that being on your period doesn’t have to automatically mean this is a time where you and your partner have to resist intimate connections like two opposing magnets. If this is the case then you are not practicing awareness and being intentionally intimate. Sure, period time may mean intimacy may look different. So instead of having this time being an intimacy “no-go” zone, let’s explore below how you can use the information of your cycle to allow physical intimacy to occur when good ol’ Aunt Flo comes to visit while also managing you and your partner’s expectations of what that looks like.
Tracking Your Period
Thank goodness we are in a digital age where tracking our periods is ridiculously easy. So you totally don’t have an excuse not to know how many days are in your period cycle, when your period is, when you have the highest energy, when you have the lowest and where your libido level may be. There are so many options out there to not be left in the dark when it comes to your cycle and I personally love the Hormonology App (totally not getting paid to say this I just love it!). This app not only tracks your period but it also gives you a pretty dang accurate “horoscope” of information based on what day of your period that you are on including information around your predicted mood, energy, libido, sleep, etc. There is also a book as well called 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health and Potential if you are more of a paper-in-hand kind of gal.
For example, as I am writing this I am on day 4 of my cycle and that means I’m in week 1 of my period where raising Estrogen will be giving me a boost in my physical and mental energy. I feel this for sure because I’m feeling more motivated and energized and way more social, which as an introvert is important to note. This is in stark contrast to when I’m on, say, day 26 in week 4 of my cycle when Estrogen is taking a mega dive and confidence is low, energy is low, and basically all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch the Great British Baking Show while eating buttered toast and drooling over the danish cake the bakers are making on the TV. I want to empower you to be intentional around being knowledgeable about your period so that you have more information about how you can and want to show up in intimacy.
Managing Intimacy Expectations
When you understand your energy ebbs and flows based on the influence of your hormones during your cycle, this helps you to not only manage your expectations around if planning a presentation at work is a good idea in week 4 of your period (hint it’s not!), but also what you will be open and available to in regards to intimacy with your partner. As you learned in a previous blog post on not depending on spontaneity, it is important to set aside intentional time for intimacy with your partner ideally every week. This allows the physical side of your relationship to reliably be fed consistantly to help ensure it’s not sent to intimacy limbo-land.
Although I want you to feed the physical side of your relationship consistently, I also know you aren’t a robot. We established that when I talked to you about your Inner Miss Desire. So that means each week you are not going to be ready for the same type of physical intimacy. In weeks 1 and 2 where you will likely have more energy, you may be more open to intimacy that requires more energy, including penetrative sex and roleplaying for example. You will also be feeling more magnetic and open and confident, all of which influences how you feel sexually in a positive way. Although your hormones may contribute to more of this opening within yourself, keep in mind there are other variables that you need to pay attention to when you are transitioning into intimacy.
In contrast, week 3 and especially 4 will likely be a time when what you can say yes to in intimacy will be more mellow, like a kiss and cuddle in bed. Knowing how you are going to feel throughout your cycle will help you to choose the pleasure pie intimate activity that matches best with your hormonal energy. This will also help you not be so hard on yourself when you are on day 26 of your cycle and you didn’t choose the “play with a new toy” pleasure pie slice but instead decided to use a rain check or cuddle on the couch. This also allows you to know that when you are on your period then it doesn’t automatically mean its hands-off time, although this is certainly an option. I just don’t want it to be the default setting for you each time without first checking in with yourself. You have the opportunity to choose a physical connection that is honoring you and your energy as well as honoring to the physical connection of your relationship.
Managing your Partner’s Expectations
Making sure we don’t put pressure on the intimate side of the relationship is a key factor in ensuring that intimacy flows freely. Remember, it’s important to decrease the pressure to increase the pleasure and connection. A helpful factor in making sure the pressure is nowhere near the bedroom is to include your partner in the conversation around your cycle. One way to do this is to practice vulnerability and share with your partner where you are at in your cycle. This isn’t so that you have an excuse but rather it provides helpful information.
In addition to talking with your partner to clue him in on where you are at cycle-wise, you can also easily include him in the loop daily by having him download the Female Forecaster, which is partner app to the Hormonology App. Honestly, I didn’t know this companion app existed until I talked to the creator Gabrielle Lichterman. I’m personally super excited about it and I’m going to have my husband download it ASAP! Having your partner clued-in will help him know where you are at in regards to your mood, libido, and energy so there that he is also not left in the dark. Knowledge is power and having both of you understand you and your body can help both of you to manage expectations around intimacy during your cycle as you are focusing on being a more intentionally intimate couple.