The Normalcy of Feeling Aroused Before Your Period

It is completely normal to experience sexual arousal or horniness in the days leading up to your period, whether it happens every month or once in a while. Studies have found a rise in sexual desire around ovulation time, approximately two weeks before your period starts. While there is little research into how many people feel a surge in libido before menstruating, it is important to know that it is not uncommon.

Why Does This Happen?

There are several theories as to why this happens, with hormones thought to play a significant role. As estrogen and testosterone levels increase during ovulation, this can trigger a rise in libido. As ovulation is the time of high fertility, our bodies are supposedly biologically wired to procreate, which can further explain the increased sexual desire during this time.

However, there are other theories as well. For instance, having penile-vaginal sex just before your period reduces pregnancy risk, making people more horny. Additionally, pre-period discharge can increase sensitivity, leading to feelings of arousal. Bloating before menstruation can put pressure on the G-spot, making it more sensitive. Finally, having an orgasm is known to relieve physically painful symptoms of PMS, like cramps, and can even alleviate migraines.

The Possibility of Pregnancy

While it is highly unlikely to get pregnant from having penile-vaginal sex just before your period, it is not impossible. The time you are most fertile depends on when you ovulate, which typically occurs about 14 days before the start of your period. However, this only applies to those with a "typical" 28-day menstrual cycle, which may vary from person to person.

Can Sexual Activity Induce Your Period?

Sexual activity can cause your period to start, but only if you are just about to start your period, within a day or two. It is thought that hormones found in semen can soften the cervix, encouraging menstruation, or vaginal contractions during sexual activity can stimulate the shedding of the uterine lining.

How to Prepare for Possible Bleeding During Sex?

If you do have penetrative sex close to the start of your period, you may only leak a tiny amount of blood, if any. You can prepare for possible bleeding during sex by wearing a menstrual cup or a dark-colored towel on the bed, using a condom, communicating with your partner, and using water-based lubricant.

Masturbation During Your Period

Masturbation will not induce a period, but it is important to prepare for potential blood spotting by keeping a towel or wet wipes nearby, wearing a menstrual cup, focusing on clitoral stimulation if you do not want to penetrate, and cleaning any toys before and afterward to prevent the spread of infections.


In conclusion, feeling horny at any point during your menstrual cycle is completely normal. Whether you are weeks or days away from your period or in the middle of it, do not be afraid to be sexually active. It is essential to be aware of the possible risks and to take precautions accordingly. It is also important to note that everyone's body is different, and what may be normal for one person may not be for another. So, always listen to your body and seek medical attention if something seems out of the ordinary.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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