Increased Sex Drive During Ovulation

Couple in bed having fun
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Many women will tell you that their sex drive is stronger at certain times of the month. Those tracking their monthly cycles will likely discover that these urges increase right before ovulation.

Nature wants you to get pregnant and increases the output of hormones to give your libido a boost. Not only does your sexual desire spike when this happens, but your partner is likely to feel more attracted to you too.

Libido Before Ovulation

Your fertile window—the time in which you can conceive—lasts for about seven days each month. You are most likely to experience increased libido as you approach ovulation and a drop in libido once ovulation occurs.

According to research, this phase of increased sexual desire lasts for around six days and coincides with the production of luteinizing hormone (LH). More specifically, studies show that a woman's sexual desire starts to increase three days before her LH levels peak.

Since LH peaks 24 to 36 hours before ovulation, your chances of getting pregnant are high if you have sex within this timeframe. Three days before ovulation, your odds of pregnancy are between 8% and 23%. A day before ovulation, the odds increase to between 21% and 34%.

An older study asked women to track when they had sex over a period of 90 days. The women provided urine samples every morning, which scientists used to track LH levels. Most women reported having had sexual intercourse during peak LH levels in each of the three months.

Another more recent study found that sexual desire peaked when estrogen levels were higher. Increases in estrogen levels typically start earlier than LH but generally peak at the same time.

Libido After Ovulation

The hormones like LH and estrogen can indicate approaching ovulation and seem to be correlated to an increase in sexual desire. As such, this would suggest that a drop in these hormones would have the opposite.

One study found that when the hormone progesterone was higher, sexual desire tended to decrease. Progesterone is the hormone that starts to increase after ovulation and remains high until your next period comes.

This could explain, in part, why some women experience reduced libido when taking birth control pills. The pill not only suppresses ovulation but decreases testosterone and can influence your moods and sexual desires as a result.

It is not entirely clear how much progesterone contributes to the loss of libido or if the depletion of LH and estrogen also play a part. It is probably both. Either way, if you find yourself feeling more turned on during the first half of your cycle, and less so during the second half, this may be why.

Contributing Factors

At their most basic level, hormones play a role in our emotions. For example, if you have a hormonal imbalance, you may experience depression or anxiety. Fertility drugs can also cause mood swings by altering your normal hormonal balance.

The influence of hormones during your monthly cycle affects more than just your libido. Research has found that, around the time of ovulation, women report feeling less lonely. They may also have an increased sense of well-being. All of this can contribute to increased libido.

Another possible cause for increased sexual desire is the increased production of elastic, stretchy, egg white-like cervical mucus prior to ovulation. (In fact, one of the best ways to time sex for pregnancy is by checking for these cervical mucus changes.)

Changes in cervical and vaginal secretions prior to and during ovulation correspond to increased vaginal sensitivity and moistness, both of which enhance sexual pleasure and desire. Increased blood flow to the pelvic region also has a stimulating effect. 

A Word From Verywell

While checking cervical mucus or charting body basal temperatures are more reliable methods of detecting ovulation, our bodies seem to be programmed to have sex at the right time anyway. You may be able to just follow your sexual desire signals when trying to time sex for pregnancy.

With all that said, sexual desire isn't always a sign of approaching ovulation. If you're stressed or depressed, you may not get that boost in desire during your fertile window. You can also feel turned on without ovulation. While high libido isn’t a sure sign of ovulation, it is one that you should notice if you are trying to get pregnant.

If you don't have increases in sexual desire for whatever reason, don't keep it to yourself. Speak to your partner and your doctor. In some cases, low libido can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or other medical conditions for which treatment may be available.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Hedricks C, Piccinino LJ, Udry JR, Chimbira THK. Peak coital rate coincides with onset of luteinizing hormone surge. Fertil Steril. 1987:48(2):234-238. doi:10.1016/S0015-0282(16)59348-0

  3. Larson CM, Haselton MG, Gildersleeve KA, Pillsworth EG. Changes in women's feelings about their romantic relationships across the ovulatory cycle. Horm Behav. 2013;63(1):128-135. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.10.005

  4. Roney J, Simmons Z. Hormonal predictors of sexual motivation in natural menstrual cycles. Horm Behav. 2013;63(4):636-645. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.02.013

Additional Reading

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.