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Can Your Menstrual Cycle Strengthen Your Relationship?

Your “Please Make Space” (PMS) time of the month is here. It’s been a long day at work, and all you are thinking about is a warm bath and some deep breathing…. Or possibly that pint of chocolate coconut bliss ice cream in the freezer waiting for you…

 

When you arrive home, the kitchen is a mess. Your beloved comes up behind you and gives you bear hug, while grabbing your ass.

 

You feel irritable, exhausted, and do NOT want to be touched.

 

So, you snap, tell him or her off- that you have had a hard day and need your space!

 

Ever had something like this happen before?

 

I am a firm believer that when we understand our monthly cycle and its fluctuations: our hormones, emotions, energy patterns, and libido… we are in a better position to communicate in our relationship about what’s going on, and share a generally predictable blueprint of how we wish to connect throughout the month.

 

When there is understanding and communication, the bond in the relationship can deepen… as together, you can flow with your cycle to create a deeper depth of connection.

 

I recommend first educating yourself on the menstrual cycle and its hormonal shifts, before sharing the information with your beloved. Study yourself for 1-3 months (record in a journal) to understand your personal rhythm in order to communicate. It’s best to share in a time when you are feeling more expressive and open, such as your ovulatory phase.

 

Here is a general blueprint of what hormonally happens in each of the four phases of your monthly cycle, and how this impacts your mood and energy levels. I have also provided some suggestions for tips in communication, the types of touch you may desire, along with rituals to explore with your beloved. In each of the four menstrual phases, we will explore:

  • Phase Overview
  • Communication
  • Touch
  • Rituals

 

Note: My writing will often have the pronoun “he” when referring to a beloved, as I’m often helping female bleeders communicate to their male beloveds who do not understand what it feels like to have high estrogen and the hormonal symptoms of bleeding. However, these principles of communication and ritual can be useful for same-sex couples, non-binary and/or transgendered folks. My overall main focus of this article is for couples, but these communication principles can also be applied to other family members and friends when it comes to needing space or wanting connection.

 

 

Menstrual Phase (Bleeding)

This is the time of the month where your energy is the lowest. Estrogen and testosterone levels have declined, as well as progesterone, the calming hormone, also declines. This could create irritability, and an imbalance in hormone levels could potentially lead to painful menstrual cramping as well as unwavering food cravings, bloating, and anxiety.

 

Communication:

If you have a need for space and desire alone-time, kindly communicate this to your beloved, preferably before you start bleeding so he knows when your cycle is coming. If you share a calendar, write it on the calendar. Perhaps prepare food ahead of time and stock your fridge so you can take a break from cooking or suggest you two order your favorite take-out. Your beloved may choose to make plans with friends outside the house at this time of this month, while you enjoy a luxurious bath and journal to center yourself. Perhaps your beloved will put the kids to bed this evening while you rest.

 

Many women feel they would like space to themselves at this time of the month. In fact, as history shows in many indigenous cultures, women actually had a space like a menstrual hut to go in and bleed with their fellow bleeding sisters. As all hormones return to a low level and the uterine lining sheds, a woman is going through a great deal of inner alchemical change. She is literally experiencing death and rebirth, as she sheds rich red blood through her cervix, so that new life may grow again. Experiencing pause and stillness is vital at this time, and women are more sensitive to touch, sound, light, and smells.

 

However, some women may desire connection and even sexual intercourse at this time. It varies per person, and stress can impact the desire to connect.

 

Touch:

If you desire connection during your flow, perhaps invite your beloved into your bath. If you have access to a sauna or Jacuzzi, enjoy it together. Heat is great for assisting in circulation to the reproductive organs, as it’s important to keep the lower abdomen and back warm at this time of the month. Perhaps exchange lower back and hip rubs, and some nurturing snuggling.

 

Ritual:

Invite your beloved into your “Monthly Shed & Claim Release Ritual.” This is something I do every month, where in prayer I “shed” what I am letting go of that month, such as repressed emotions, outdated ways of behaving, and unproductive patterns. Then, I “claim” my intention for what I want to focus my energy into birthing the month ahead. I noticed when I started inviting my beloved into this prayer, it gave us a chance to process our lives together.

 

The more our male- friends understand the menstrual cycle, the more I have found they are willing to be a part of it. Men need time to release too. They don’t have a 28-day cycle and a chance to let go stagnant energy. In indigenous communities, they would sweat in a sweat lodge and sing prayers together. The intense heat to the physical body, would break down ego and invite vulnerability (the lodge resembles the womb), and they could release in prayer to be renewed. Perhaps invite your beloved into your cycle. Get as “woo” with him as you both want: light candles, have a burning ceremony, and/or offer your blood back to the Earth together. Or simply talk about what was a challenge this month, and what patterns and ways of living you both are willing to let go of and change, personally and together. This is potent medicine and can create strength in relationship!

 

I am a believer that the need for the Please Make Space (PMS) is greater when women haven’t had enough personal self-care time for themselves during that month. Whether it was overcommitting due to challenges with creating boundaries, being a momma and working part-time or full-time, or repressing unprocessed emotions, this creates a buildup of energy that sheds along with the uterine lining. As we decompress from the stress, the pain may get louder as we release emotionally. Having a safe space to cry, feel our anger, FEEL our emotions is how we can process during this time and not keep the emotions repressed and trapped in our pelvic bowl. The more comfortable we become with ourselves about processing our emotions, the more comfortable we can feel allowing others to see us so vulnerably. Emotional expressing can be a powerful tool for couples to feel the raw depth of human-nature together.

 

 

Follicular Phase:

This is the time of the month where new eggs are released on your ovaries (one egg will eventually burst through the follicle during ovulation for conception to occur). Estrogen rises, which is a hormone making you feel energized, creative and flirtatious. This is a time of the month of new growth, as internally your eggs, follicles and uterine lining are all growing to prepare for conception.

 

Communication:

This would be a great time of the month, as well as during ovulation to communicate your menstrual cycle blueprint to your beloved. Your awakened energy can spark excitement in your communication with ease and flow, which may have otherwise been weighted with emotion during your menstrual phase.

 

Touch: 

You may now enjoy flirtatious connection like playful grabs from your lover that you didn’t care for during your bleed. However, it may take some time to build up sexual desire, as right after the bleed is finished, the libido may be lower and there may be vaginal dryness due to lower estrogen levels, so during this time, a lot of cuddling and foreplay is supportive.

 

Ritual:

Set the intention to try new things together in this phase: workouts, walks in the park, new friend couple dates, and restaurants. Consider planning a vacation in the upcoming year. This phase is all about honoring new ideas and letting your creative imaginations flow wild together. This type of connection brings spontaneity into the relationship, keeping things fresh and youthful. The follicular phase relates to the energy of the maiden and the waxing moon, a time of youthful energy. Find ways to play in your relationship.

 

 

The Ovulatory Phase:

Do you notice you easily desire deep penetration and naturally feel aroused? Our libido is highest at this time of the month. Testosterone and estrogen levels peak in our cycle, creating vaginal wetness, high arousal, and lots of energy. We may feel expressive and sexy. It’s important to be mindful about fertility, as this is the time of the month conception can occur. If you aren’t ready for pregnancy, abstain or use methods of protection.

 

Communication:

Naturally expressive due to high estrogen, this is the time of month to share what you may have been wanting to communicate in your relationship but hadn’t found the words or courage. Also, words of affirmation and adoration may effortlessly pour from you.

 

Touch:

Touch can be stronger, and less foreplay is needed. The vagina lengthens and the cervix moves up and back, which normally takes about 20-30 minutes with foreplay and arousal in other phases. You may find yourself having more quickies, adventurous sex, longer play, and deeper penetration.

 

Ritual:

Celebrate! The ovulatory phase relates to full moon energy of celebration- what has manifested in your lives since your menstrual phase ritual? Talk it over a dinner you share eating out or make a meal together at home. Go on a late-night walk to connect with the moon. Go out dancing with friends. Light candles, diffuse your favorite smelling essential oil. I like rose or ylang ylang scents for a sensual mood, or ginger or cloves to spice it up! Lay out roses. Have a sensorium where you engage all the senses, tickling each other with feathers, teasing each other with chocolate, and massaging each other with different pressures of touch. Dress up! Role play.

 

 

The Luteal Phase:

During this phase, progesterone should be high, a calming hormone, however low progesterone levels leading to Estrogen Dominance, is one of the most common issues in female reproductive health. Signs of progesterone deficiency can include early bleeding/spotting, brown blood before your red blood flow comes, intense cramping, as well as intense food cravings, irritability, exhaustion, headaches and breast tenderness.

 

Communication:

The beginning half of this phase still might feel expressive and easy in communication, as estrogen levels may be slowly declining. In the second half of this phase, you may feel it is a bit of a challenge to advocate your needs as well as create boundaries with your schedule.

 

Touch:

Invite your lover to rub your lower back, hips, and legs. This can ease any tension you feel. In touch, you may feel relief and relaxation from having your perineum rubbed, the space between the anus and yoni. This area of the body is related to the root chakra, and by pressing on it with massage, it may help you feel grounded and embodied in your pelvic bowl. In addition, lots of cuddles and massage release oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone which is needed for building progesterone. Sex may or may not feel pleasurable during the late luteal phase and it depends per person. As the uterus begins to swell to shed, it can put pressure on the organs, causing arousal. Sex can help circulation which may help bring on a stagnant menstrual flow.

 

Ritual:

Ground and nest together this time of the month, by cozying up for a movie, or organizing the house, together. A ritual could include eye gazing, massages and a lot of conscious touch. Begin to talk about what you are preparing to release, intentionally, in your bleeding phase. Have a naked dance party with each other- let the wild feminine be free! Dancing and movement can help move stagnant energy to help process your emotions as your “Please Make Space” phase begins.

 

I would love to hear what practices you are inspired to share in your relationship. There is a plethora of options here and it may take some time to implement, especially if this information is new. Remember, the more you understand what’s going on in your body, the easier it will be to communicate.

 

Blessings!

Allie

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