If your sex life is underwhelming, you’re not alone. Studies show that 60 percent of women are sexually unsatisfied. And that’s not just because we’re having less sex than we did a decade ago, which studies confirm, but also because the sex we’re having isn’t always satisfying. Sometimes it’s fireworks and other times it’s flat.
Shifts in desire and sexual response should not be unpredictable, nor should they feel random or mysterious—and they should never make you have a whole inner dialogue about how you may be suffering from low libido.
Sex drive and orgasmic response CHANGE across women’s second biological rhythm, the infradian rhythm, which follows our 28-day hormone cycle. And in order for you to have predictable pleasure — and to not be part of that 60-percent-unsatisfied statistic — you’ve got to learn how the infradian rhythm impacts your desire and pleasure so you can work with it.
When you understand and support your infradian rhythm, you can use food, supplements, and lifestyle to have better relationships, more intense orgasms, a stronger libido, and a more pleasurable sex life.
Why Bother Having Better Sex?
There’s the obvious reason, of course: good sex feels amazing, whether you’re engaging in a solo session or together with partner. But the benefits of sex don’t stop there. Good sex is good for health. Here’s what we know about sex and health:
– Sexual activity with a partner at least once a week helps regulate your menstrual cycle, according to research.
– Orgasm boosts fertility (in a couple different ways, including having a positive impact on your basal body temperature)
– Pleasurable sex can help mitigate the unpleasurable symptoms of PMS. A wide range of studies show that sex and orgasm trigger a rush of endorphins and corticosteroids in the body, which help decrease pain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that masturbation can ease menstrual cramps. This is especially good news considering that the pain relievers women often turn to for PMS—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen—can have serious side effects.
– Having regular sex makes you look younger! Research suggests that women who have sex at least three times each week look a decade younger than those who don’t get it on as often.
– Having frequent, satisfying sex is associated with a range of positive health outcomes, from lower breast cancer rates and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease to boosting immune system function and promoting neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells).
It’s safe to say that satisfying, pleasurable sex, whether solo or with someone else, does a woman’s body good.
So how can women have better sex? The secret is in your infradian rhythm, or your 28-day hormone cycle.
The Secret to Better Sex (Hint: It’s your “Second Clock”)
I refer to the infradian rhythm, or a woman’s 28-day hormone cycle, as her “second clock.” The infradian rhythm is an internal timekeeper, just like the 24-hour circadian cycle that governs the sleep-wake cycle, and when we know it’s distinct rhythms throughout each month, we not only have a better understanding of what our bodies need to look and feel their best, we also have the knowledge we need to boost libido and have more satisfying sex.
– Immune system
– Stress/adrenal system
– Reproductive system
During each of the four phases of your cycle, your hormones shift in ways that affect your mood, creativity, immunity, energy, communication, and… how interested or not you are in sex. Your natural hormonal shifts also play a role in how much foreplay you need, how intense your orgasms will be, and how long it takes you to reach climax.
Simply knowing that your body will not respond the same way to sexual activity every time, depending on where you are in your cycle, allows for better sex. If you’re in a phase where it takes a bit longer to orgasm or you need more foreplay, you can let go of the anxiety that it shouldn’t be that way, or that it wasn’t that way the last time you had sex. Letting go of self-blame and anxiety does wonders for having more satisfying sex!
The 4 Phases of Your 28-Day Hormone Cycle and What It Means for Your Sex Life
I do a deep dive on how each of the four phases of your monthly cycle affect your body, relationship, sexual function, and sex drive in In the Flo. Here’s a partial look at some of what is happening in your body—and to your libido—in each of the four phases of your cycle.
Follicular phase (the 7 to 10 days after the end of your period)
During this phase: Your sex hormones are low during this phase and your brain is primed for novelty.
What this means for your sex life: Your vagina may be drier during this phase, so using a natural lubricant is a great choice. With your brain ready for new experiences, don’t Netflix and chill during this phase. Find new activities to do, or new places to go and see, whether by yourself or with a partner. This is a fantastic time to try new things in the bedroom, too.
Ovulatory phase (the 3 to 4 days in the middle of your cycle when you ovulate)
During this phase: Your sex hormones are surging, you have lots of natural lubrication, and you are in the mood to socialize and connect – in the sexual setting that means more flirting and talking.
What this means for your sex life: Orgasms tend to come easier when you are ovulating and your verbal skills will be at their best, so be clear and confident about what you want—and don’t feel guilty about asking for the sexual activities that really make your body tingle
Luteal phase (the 10 to 14 days after ovulation and before your period)
During this phase: Your hormones remain high during the first half of this phase and then start to wane just before your period. Emotionally, this is an introspective and honest time for you, allowing you to see your relationship and yourself with clear(er) eyes.
What this means for your sex life: During the first half of this phase, your hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) are high and, likely, so is your libido. As your hormones dip, your sex drive will slow down and you might crave slower sex with more foreplay. Lubricant is valuable in the second half of this phase, too.
Menstrual phase (the 3 to 7 days of your period)
During this phase: Your hormones drop significantly, your uterus increases in volume (just before your bleed), and you crave “me time.”
What this means for your sex life: Your interest in sex is likely lower than normal during this time thanks to waning hormones, and you may face internalized or externalized messages to avoid sex during your period. If you don’t feel like having sex during your period because your hormones are low and your desire naturally went down with them, that’s great. The menstrual phase is a wonderful time to step back from socializing and connecting and focus on yourself. But if you want to have sex, don’t let cultural taboos get in the way. Sex can feel even more amazing during this period because the increase in uterine volume just before your bleed can enhance sensation in a toe-tingling way! Many women also find that sex helps ease menstrual cramps. You can think of it almost like an internal massage for your uterus.
Supplements for Satisfying Sex
Food comes first when you’re working to build up the key micronutrients you need to balance your hormones, boost your libido, and have more satisfying sex. But even if you’re eating perfectly, it’s often difficult to get enough of the micronutrients you need to benefit your sex life. Here are the supplements I recommend for better sex:
B vitamins. B vitamins promote a sense of calm and help fight the corrosive, sex-killing effects of stress. If stress is putting a damper on your sex drive, B vitamins can help.
Zinc. Testosterone (albeit in smaller amounts than in men) helps power women’s libido, and zinc supports healthy levels of testosterone. If you feel like you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, making sure your body has adequate stores of zinc is a great place to start.
Magnesium. While zinc helps promote healthier testosterone levels, magnesium helps keep testosterone circulating in the bloodstream. Like B vitamins, magnesium has also been shown to help reduce anxiety—and less anxiety leaves more emotional space for play and sensuality.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are linked to improvements in mood and overall health, two factors that can increase your desire for sex. Studies also suggest a link between healthy levels of omega-3s and better orgasms.
Probiotics. The power of probiotics to affect mood is so well established in the medical literature that they are now sometimes referred to as ‘psychobiotics.’ If low mood is behind your dwindling desire, taking a probiotic can help shift your internal microbial ecosystem in ways that elevate your mood—and make you naturally more interested in sexual activity.
If you’re ready to harness the power of your unique female biochemistry to have a more satisfying sex life, check out my new book In the Flo. I do a deep dive on everything you need to know about your cycle, your sex drive, and how you can sync the two… for positively orgasmic results!
BALANCE by FLO Living Hormone Supplement Kit
Because you’ve asked for hormone-friendly supplement recommendations, I created a solution that I am so thrilled to be able to offer to you on your hormonal balancing journey:
Balance by FLO Living Supplements are a complete package that work together to keep your hormone levels healthy. They include a 2 month(2 cycle) supply of the following formulations so you’re never caught short in any phase of your cycle.
When you take these 5 supplements daily, you’ll be giving your body excellent micronutrients to support healthier hormone levels. Which means that you’ll start to see your worst period symptoms get better… and even disappear after a while.