On average, women have 450 menstrual cycles across their lifetime. Learning to not only understand these internal cycles, but to also honour them, is the key to maximizing happiness and fulfilment in relationships.
Gift Not A Curse
A woman’s menstrual cycle is steeped in taboo, negativity and even dread. It is perceived as an inconvenience ― and in some cases a curse ― women suffer for simply being born a woman. The very fact that women all over the world complain and shun their monthly periods, influenced by the underlying seeds of entrenched attitudes or beliefs, demonstrates just how far society has removed itself from something that is a completely natural and fundamental element of being a woman.
However, far from being an inconvenience, menstrual cycles are in fact a gift. They offer women constant opportunities to continue developing the harmony within themselves and their bodies. Learning to pay attention, listening to and respecting the language of their bodies supports women in accepting the beauty and truth they hold such that their periods can become precious monthly checkpoints.
The Four Phases Of A Menstrual Cycle
While the length of a menstrual cycle varies from one woman to another, the average spans 28 days. Each cycle consists of four unique phases. They are:
- Menstrual Phase
- Follicular Phase
- Ovulation Phase
- Luteal Phase
A woman’s menstrual cycle is intimately linked with her hormones. Hormone fluctuations are responsible for transitioning the body from one phase to the next. With each change in phase, her needs in a relationship change too.
By understanding both the changes in hormones and the changes in needs within each different phase, couples can use this information to help a woman get the necessary and appropriate support, leading to a happier and more fulfilling relationship.
Below we’ll unpack each of the four phases and look at how couples can best navigate each phase.
- Phase 1 ― Menstrual Phase (Day 1-7) ― Social Bonding
Phase 1, the Menstrual Phase, is when a woman usually feels fatigued, emotional and slow.
During this phase, a woman needs to increase her levels of progesterone and decrease her levels of testosterone. She can do this by engaging in self-nurturing activities ― for example having a nice hot bath, yoga or going for a walk ― or social bonding. This is also a great time to plan a romantic date so both partners have something to look forward to.
A man can help by not making any demands and supporting his partner’s needs for social bonding ― whether she choses to do so with or without him.
Honouring a woman’s need for rest and relaxation during this phase will enhance her ability to maximise the potential of her more active phases.
- Phase 2 ― Follicular Phase (Day 8-11) ― Work Bonding
Phase 2, the Follicular Phase, is when a woman usually feels energetic, creative and driven.
During this phase, a woman needs to increase her levels of testosterone and estrogen. She can do this by engaging in activities that simultaneously express both her masculine and feminine side such as work or playing with children.
As this is a period when a woman feels more assertive and willing to take risks, it is a great time to make big decisions and take on new projects.
This is a time when a woman is attracted to the more masculine features of her partner.
A man can help by ensuring he makes his partner feel appreciated and admired.
- Phase 3 ― Ovulation Phase (Day 12-17) ― Pair Bonding
Phase 3, the Ovulation Phase, is when a woman usually feels playful, sexually aroused and social. It is the optimal time to conceive.
During this phase, a woman needs to increase her levels of estrogen and oxytocin and decrease her levels of testosterone. She can do this by engaging in activities that express her feminine side and by bonding with her partner.
This is when a woman feels most confident and when her energy levels and sex drive peak. Therefore, it is the best time to go on a romantic date. It is also a great time to enjoy scented candles, essential oils and dressing up. It is during this phase when a woman is most vulnerable and can most easily climax due to the high levels of oxytocin.
This is when a man can have the biggest impact during a menstrual cycle by supporting his partner mentally, emotionally and physically. Furthermore, pair-bonding stimulates vasopressin in men which increases his attraction to the woman and his motivation to protect her.
When a woman’s needs are satisfied in this phase it can have a lasting positive impact on the rest of the cycle. Similarly, when couples bond in this phase, their connection will increase during the rest of the cycle.
- Phase 4 ― Luteal Phase (Day 18-28) ― Social Bonding
Phase 4, the Luteal Phase, completes the menstrual cycle and transitions back into Phase 1.
During this phase, a woman needs to increase her levels of progesterone and decrease her levels of testosterone. You can refer to Phase 1 again for how best to honour a woman’s body during this period.
This is a time when a woman is attracted to the more feminine features of her partner.
Ultimately, it is essential for a woman to listen to her body’s needs throughout the menstrual cycle by using her incredible gift of innate intuition. Doing so will give her the necessary insight on what she needs and when.
Menstrual cycles are a beautiful concoction of hormones and fluctuations that manifest four phases: Menstrual Phase, Follicular Phase, Ovulation Phase and Luteal Phase.
The Menstrual Phase is a time for self-nurturing and social bonding with friends, the Follicular Phase is a time for work bonding, the Ovulation Phase is a time for pair bonding and the Luteal Phase is again a time for self-nurturing and social bonding.
By understanding each of these different phases and the different hormones that rise and fall within each phase, women can take the necessary and appropriate action to satisfy their needs as well as knowing how they can get the necessary and appropriate support from their partner, leading to a happier and more fulfilling relationship.