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  • Dr. Joe Malone

Vicious Cycles

In 28 Days, Gabrielle Lichterman lays out how women can practically chart their lifestyle by where they are in their cycles. It is pointed out that hormones travel from one organ of the body to an other organ through the blood with the purpose of telling that organ to change its action. Knowing how these hormones affect them can help women better self-regulate their behavior and understand their interactions with others as well.

Day one starts with a woman’s period beginning. This is when PMS ends. Depression levels drop as the estrogen and serotonin levels they are tied to begin to rise again (more on serotonin later,but for now, it is one of the feel-good hormones). Testosterone levels also begin to rise at this point. This makes women feel more self-assured and assertive.

For the first five days, these factors enable women to feel better and focus more. In the sex department though, surprisingly,these first few days of a woman’s cycle can prove to have arousal potential. Congestion in the uterus plus the slow but steady rise in estrogen and testosterone can contribute to this and orgasm is easier to achieve for some women during this time. A potential benefit is that orgasm can relieve cramps by pushing out the menstrual fluid and lowering tension in the uterine muscles, so it is actually recommended. With progesterone gone and estrogen on the rise, women’s breasts become less tender and the bloating they were experiencing pre-period begins to go down. These subtle changes continue until around the fifth day when women’s periods typically end.

Bow Chicka Wow Wow

The days immediately following the end of their period are when women gradually start feeling their best in almost every way. Sex drive increases as levels of estrogen and testosterone rise, and women typically lubricate at the first sign of arousal. Increasing testosterone levels also make the nipples and clitoris more sensitive. In the next fourteen days, women’s thinking changes from more creative and right-brain dominated to more logical and analytical left-brain dominated. Among both married and unmarried people, sex happens most often on day eight of a woman’s cycle.

As the days move towards day fourteen, rising estrogen and testosterone give women increasing sexual confidence and sexual assertiveness levels. The mounting estrogen levels also raise women’s optimism levels.

In the last couple of days before ovulation occurs on day fourteen, women begin to emit higher levels of pheromones. Even though males don’t perceive the aromas consciously, they’re very attractive to men. Men who are married to women that aren’t taking birth control pills (which alter the hormone changes) initiate sex about 30 percent more often around women’s ovulation time. Women’s orgasms during this time have a powerful, all-over-the-body effect. It is during the time between days thirteen and fifteen that women’s sexual desires are directed toward high-testosterone, masculine, dominant guys.

This is the time frame when women are most likely to get pregnant. It seems that instinct has developed over the years to make them desire men with greater genetic fitness when they are most likely to conceive. Day fourteen is a turning point when estrogen and testosterone begin to drop. Women are still near peak levels, so the sexiness continues for a couple more days.

Don’t Look at Me. Don’t Touch Me.

By day fifteen, with estrogen and testosterone levels starting to decline, a new hormone pops into the scene: nor adrenaline. That hormone starts to make women be less optimistic and more edgy.

From day sixteen on, libido starts to drop, and instead of opting for sexy clothes, women start going for comfort. The brain makes the determination that the body will not get pregnant this time around. Women become more introspective and less extroverted. They also start to shift their sexual focus from the macho guy, who might be less dependable and good at being a husband and father, to guys who are lower-testosterone men. These less macho guys often invest much more in being loyal, good husbands and loving fathers.

For the rest of the month, this is the kind of trajectory women’s love lives are on. The lessening of estrogen and testosterone also make many women lose some of their body confidence, which has a tendency to lower their levels of extroversion. Rising progesterone levels plug up testosterone receptors in women’s brains and make them less interested in sex as the days wind down towards a new period. On about day twenty, women’s brains switch to being more right-brain oriented again. Estrogen and testosterone do start to rise again, but their effects are blunted by the domination of progesterone. This causes women during this phase of the cycle to have a higher need to nurture. This state also decreases the sensitivity of women’s nipples and clitoris, causing them to take a very long time to reach orgasm. By day twenty-three, PMS is on the horizon. This can bring on some miserable symptoms for the next several days with increased, ravenous appetite being one of them.

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