Nonetheless, a good deal of research shows that in reproductive-age women, libido is to some extent cyclical across the menstrual cycle, with peak erotic motivation occurring around the time of ovulation midway between menstrual periods. Libido Peaks at Ovulation: Each participant completed the survey twice, once mid-cycle around ovulation, and once pre-menstrually. The women reported significantly more interest in sex and greater satisfaction from orgasm at mid-cycle.
Increased blood flow is an indicator of physiological arousal. Genital blood flow increased the most around the time of ovulation, and in an accompanying survey, the women said they felt most aroused at that time of the month. Masturbation peaked around ovulation. Compared with the menstrual women, the ovulating group swayed their hips more, and the men rated them sexier.
Australian researchers asked college-age women to rate their arousal to various sexual fantasies. The women showed no significant cyclical differences. It makes sense for women to be most sexually receptive around ovulation. In addition, pre-menstrual and menstrual days can cause discomfort that turns women off to sex.
Studies vary but somewhere around half of women experience pre-menstrual upsets—irritability, anxiety, and blues—and every month, about half of reproductive-age women experience menstrual cramping. PMS and cramps tend to suppress interest in sex. Hormonal contraception alters the natural menstrual cycle.
A few of the studies showing cyclic libido divided participants by their use of birth control pills. Women on the Pill showed no monthly libido changes, but those not taking hormonal contraception did. Studies of women stressed at work show little cyclic change in libido and decreased interest in sex in general. But While on vacation, these same women experienced libido rebound and cyclic erotic interest became more evident.
Compared with women in established couples, single gals show a greater ovulatory spike in sexual interest. This lends some credence to an old joke among men: But always remember, the menstrual cycle is not destiny. Do you notice cyclic erotic ups and downs? Bullivant, SB et al. Burleson, MH et al. Gangestad, SW et al. Little, AC et al. Pillsworth EG et al. Provost, MP et al. Rudski, JM et al. Slob, AK et al. Tarin, JJ and V.