Female Sexual Desire, Testosterone and the Menstrual Cycle: For Dummies

by Stephen

A year ago when my wife and I were invited on the weekend retreat with Nicole Daedone and OneTaste (from the 4 Hour Body) she mentioned that a 15 minute orgasm was just what your partner needed to break the funk of PMS.

Now I don’t know about this one, but I can tell you that beyond the mystery of  a 15 minute orgasms lies a greater complexity:

The world of female hormones!

As a man, when I approach the topic of sex with my partner (this case my wife of 10 years) I do so even today with a beginners optimism.

Pretty much just hoping that she will be as excited as I am about the idea of sex. This of course depends on the strength of my sales pitch.

But with a house full of clutter and kids and diapers… sometimes it seems I may be adding another “to do”  (no pun intended) to my wife’s already full plate.

As men it is easy to feel hurt when our partners do not respond positively to our sexual advances.

The staff at OneTaste and possibly Tim Ferriss, claim they have a solution to this.

But, there is much more to a women’s libido than the promise of a long extended orgasm.

Hormones, effect more than just our desire for sex, but also, as you will see, many other aspects of our day to day lives.

Testosterone and a Woman’s Libido

A woman’s desire for sex is correlated to her menstrual cycle, with many women experiencing a heightened sexual desire in the several days immediately before ovulation.

This cycle has been associated with changes in a woman’s testosterone levels during the menstrual cycle. According to many specialists, testosterone levels have a direct impact on a woman’s interest in sex.

Testosterone levels rise gradually from about the 24th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle until ovulation on about the 14th day of the next cycle, and during this period the woman’s desire for sex increase consistently.

The 13th day is generally the day with the highest testosterone levels. In the week following ovulation, the testosterone level is the lowest and as a result women will experience less interest in sex.

Also, during the week following ovulation, progesterone levels increase, resulting in a woman experiencing difficulty achieving orgasm.

Although the last days of the menstrual cycle are marked by a constant testosterone level, women’s libido may boost as a result of the thickening of the uterine lining which stimulates nerve endings and makes a woman feel aroused.

During these days, estrogen levels also decline, resulting in a decrease of natural lubrication.

Although some specialists disagree with this theory, menopause is still considered by the majority a factor that can cause decreased sex desire in women.

The levels of estrogen decrease at menopause and this usually causes a lower interest in sex and vaginal dryness which makes intercourse painful. Also, the levels of testosterone increase at menopause and this is why some women may experience a contrary effect, of an increased libido.


Thanks to Gabrielle Lichterman here’s a brief summary of how your hormones affect your emotions, pep, impulsiveness, libido and more!

Week of your cycle:

Week 1
First day of period to Day 7:

Men: Don’t take your partner shopping!

Women: Smart and Risky!


Both estrogen and testosterone are at rock bottom. Both of these hormones will help boost your energy and mood. Testosterone will get your libido going; with this many women feel more confidence and are more comfortable taking risks. Also it is a time to avoid shopping as you may be more impulsive or more likely to buy items on the spur of the moment.


Estrogen makes you chattier and you are more likely to start a conversation and feel comfortable in a group setting.  You are also more likely to follow your diet or exercise routines and chose lighter healthier foods than during the last two weeks of your cycle.


Week 2
Day 8 to Day 13

Men: Cue up the Barry White

Women: Smart and Sexy

Estrogen and testosterone rise till they peak this week, amping up all the affects you enjoyed during Week 1.


You’ll find yourself laughing more easily, dragging your partner into bed, accepting every party invitation offered and letting out your inner wild child.


You’re feeling more confident about your appearance and, in fact, estrogen is making you more attractive by evening out your skin tone and making your face and ears more symmetrical. There is one downside to be aware of, however: high estrogen makes you more prone to stressing out over issues big and small.


Week 3
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22

Men: Take a cold shower to stimulate your brown fat!

Women: Not the week to start the slow carb diet!

The first half of Week 3 is your “pre-PMS” phase. The symptoms are like a less intense version of PMS—they may include slight irritability, fatigue and a down mood. Like PMS, pre-PMS is caused by plunging estrogen. Luckily, by the second half of Week 3, pre-PMS disappears as estrogen rises, which levels out your mood. All throughout Week 3, rising progesterone has you feeling sleepy, quiet, less interested in socializing and more cautious. It’s also causing your libido to evaporate into thin air and is triggering cravings for comfort foods rich in sugar, fat and salt.


Week 4
Day 23 to the end of cycle

Men: Proceed with cautious optimism

Women: Anything goes

During this premenstrual week, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone plunge, which can trigger moodiness, the blues, aches and pains, insomnia, headaches and a myriad of other PMS-related symptoms.


Not every woman suffers from PMS and symptoms can be milder or more severe from month to month, often due to diet, stress or your body’s personal sensitivity to hormones. But, it’s not all bad news. In fact, this week your libido returns, though technically that’s not due to hormones.


Researchers believe it’s because the nerve endings down below get stimulated as your body prepares for menstruation. Also good to hear: This week, treating yourself to your favorite indulgences is actually medicinal! Why? As estrogen plunges, it depletes your body of mood- and sleep-regulating serotonin. But, when you buy your favorite ice cream, take a bubble bath, watch a much-loved movie, head to the mall or do anything you enjoy, it helps boost serotonin levels right back up.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

david September 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hey Stephen,

For me, the chapter on tripling Testosterone – at least as it relates to female desire to have sex and pheromones – was the hardest pill to swallow of all the book’s claims.

Not one to dismiss blindly, however, I tested out the protocol for sparking testosterone with Brazil nuts, cod liver butter oil, sauerkraut, cholesterol the night before, etc.

I am just curious if you’ve tried this yourself? (I’d be forever in your debt if you know of anywhere I could see a forum or community discussion on this protocol to see more anecdotal data on this protocol…)

Personally, I felt a little deceived by the results after reading the dramatic introduction about him having women staring at him and being irresistible due to his increased testosterone.

I definitely did feel a change from the protocol – however it wasn’t nearly as desirable. I felt a little more irritability, shorter patience, even anger. Another curious – – but very noticeable, and repeated – result of my experiments with this was butting heads with others. It was very weird. Every time I tried this in a social situation, rather than having women flock to me, I always seemed to get into arguments or draw the ire or mocking of other people – which is very unlike me normally.

Anyway, I love your blog and just thought there’s a good chance you’ve tried this yourself. What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance.


Stephen February 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Hi David,

I am 4 months late on this response. I am not sure if you will get this but I hope so. Somehow your comment slipped through the cracks.

I have not tried the protocol as it is in the 4 Hour Body. That being said, I have increased my Vitamin D3 to 5,000 IU per day and have been taking daily cod liver oil blend for some time now. I have not yet tested this against my serum total testosterone only because I have not had a noticeable drop in libido. And then again this is hardly Tim’s protocol.

Is it possible that Tim’s testosterone boosting protocol could cause the typical symptoms of short temper, irritability, and “hyper masculinity” that we often relate to performance enhancing steroid injections? Sure, why not. Maybe the key is to attempt this with a soy milk chaser.

Either way, I received one comment from a reader who said that he did complete blood work before and after the protocol, although his results were modest at best. I think you have to go by how you feel. I believe Tim would not tamper with the results. But I am not sold that they are repeatable, or fully attributable to just this protocol.



mike July 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

thx for post.


Stephen July 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Thanks for the nice comment :-)




Mike November 15, 2015 at 4:36 am

I mean wouldn’t the answer be spiking the women with testosterone rather than turning into a testosterone hothead yourself? just kidding btw….but this could be the next rufies for granolas.


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