Menstrual cycle, birth control, pregnancy, and sexual desire

Couples often wonder why female sexual desire fluctuates during the menstrual cycle, the use of birth control, and while pregnant. There are many factors that contribute to this, however in this post I will only talk about the hormone shifts and leave contextual and psychological factors to another post.

Women experience more sexual desire leading up to and during ovulation and another peak along with menstruation (period). The sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are responsible for these shifts.

Hormonal birth control such as the depo-provera, NuvaRing, the Pill, the Patch may blunt sexual desire and can even give rise to issues of sexual functioning.

Two main sex hormones are elevated during pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone. Additionally blood flow to the vulva increases (vasocongestion). These changes can produce higher levels of sexual desire.