Hormone fluctuations are responsible for many physical processes in the female cycle, that much is clear. But to what extent do they also influence our relationships?
Every woman knows them: The symptoms that the menstrual cycle can regularly bring with it. From abdominal pain to headaches and cravings, everything can be there. What was not yet widely known, however, is something that scientists are now increasingly investigating: The extent to which hormones during the cycle can also influence the partnership between a man and a woman.
Hormones and the influence on your partner
Hormones are the body's own information transmitters. They control a wide variety of processes in the body. In women, they not only influence the clearly noticeable physical symptoms throughout the cycle, but also have a major influence on their psyche and therefore on their relationship.
Scientists from the Netherlands were able to present very interesting research results on this last year: With the help of a study, they showed very clearly how hormones can influence daily relationship dynamics.
They interviewed 33 couples who had been in a relationship for several years every day for 15 days. In addition, urine samples were analysed to determine the levels of the hormones oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone.
The following finding was particularly striking: when the woman's oestradiol level is high, i.e. during the fertile phase around ovulation, the women tended to rate their partners more negatively. The men also rated the relationship more negatively, as the women's negative behaviour was passed on to them or they were infected by it.
From an evolutionary point of view, this behaviour makes sense, even if you don't like to hear it: women detach themselves somewhat from their long-term partner in order to consider other options for reproduction.
The good news, however, is that this behaviour doesn't seem to last long: As soon as ovulation is over, progesterone levels rise again and so does the good mood in the relationship. The study participants rated their partners much more positively again after this time and described the relationship as more harmonious.
What attracts men
But men are also subject to hormonal fluctuations. Although these fluctuations do not occur over a multi-week cycle as they do in women, they are subject to major daily fluctuations.
In men, for example, testosterone levels are highest in the early morning and drop rapidly after waking up. This could explain why men feel more desire for physical contact early in the morning.
A Mexican study revealed an extremely exciting finding regarding the female influence on men's testosterone levels.
The Body odour in women during their fertile days is not only considered more attractive by men, but also increases testosterone levels and thus interest in sex. Body odour during the less fertile period, on the other hand, causes testosterone levels to drop and reduces interest in sex. However, testosterone not only affects sexual desire, but also triggers aggression. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes a lot of sense when men encounter a potential mate or a threat. However, as a high testosterone level throughout the day would trigger many conflicts, this level drops again during the course of the day.
Of course, all these processes take place unconsciously. Nevertheless, it is very interesting to see how the hormonal balance in a woman's cycle also affects her partner, isn't it? In any case, we think that gaining a shared understanding of hormonal processes, with Cycle tracking or Ovulation testspays off!
Righetti et al (2022), How reproductive hormonal changes affect relationship dynamics for women and men
Cerda-Molina et al (2022), How reproductive hormonal changes affect relationship dynamics for women and men