Every woman is familiar with them: the various symptoms and ailments that accompany the menstrual cycle. They can range from abdominal pain to headaches to cravings. But one aspect of the cycle which was widely ignored up until recently, is now being investigated by scientists: the extent to which fluctuating hormones during a cycle can also influence the relationship between a man and a woman.
Your hormones and their influence on your partner.
Hormones not only influence the more obvious physical symptoms, but also have a major impact on the female psyche and consequently also on her relationships.
Scientists from the Netherlands recently published very interesting research results on this very subject: with the support of a clinical study, they showed, very conclusively, how hormones can influence daily relationship dynamics.
Over a period of fifteen days, they interviewed 33 couples who had been in a relationship for several years. As well as the daily interview, urine samples were taken and examined to determine the levels of the hormones oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone in their bodies.
One discovery was particularly significant: when the women’s oestradiol level was high, i.e. during the fertile phase around ovulation, the women tended to feel more negative towards their partners. The partners also reported viewing the relationship more negatively at this time, possibly allowing their opinion to be influenced by the negative vibes communicated by the women.
From an evolutionary point of view this behaviour makes sense, even if it sounds harsh: women subconsciously disengage from their long-term partner in order to consider other possible options for reproduction.
The good news, however, is that this behaviour does not seem to last very long. As soon as the woman has ovulated, the progesterone level rises again and with it the mood in the relationship. The trial participants rated their partners much more positively after the fertile window had passed and described the relationship as more harmonious.
What do men find attractive?
Men are also subject to hormonal fluctuations, unlike women however, these occur as daily fluctuations. Typically, male testosterone levels are highest early in the morning and drop rapidly after waking up, this could explain why men tend to be more in the mood for physical contact first thing in the morning ;-)
An exceptionally interesting discovery was made in a Mexican trial on the influence of a woman’s scent on men’s testosterone levels.
A woman’s natural body odour during her fertile days is not only perceived as more attractive by men, but also increases testosterone levels and consequently their interest in sex. Body odour during the less fertile period, on the other hand, caused testosterone levels to drop and reduced interest in sex.
Testosterone, however, not only affects sexual desire, but also triggers aggression. From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense, when men encounter a potential mate or a threat, but since a high testosterone level would provoke a lot of conflict throughout the day it is good to know that the levels drop again during the day.
All these events take place subconsciously, but it is still really interesting how the hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle affect a woman’s partner too! What can we learn from this new information? That understanding hormonal patterns by tracking and monitoring your whole menstrual cycle, can lead to more tolerance of moods in the partnership and therefore a more harmonious relationship.