Sex Advice: I can’t sleep unless I’ve had an orgasm

Sex Advice: I can’t sleep unless I’ve had an orgasm
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At certain times during my cycle I can’t sleep without having an orgasm. If I do nod off I then wake up in the middle of the night feeling really, almost unbearably aroused. I don’t want to masturbate with my husband next to me, but I don’t always feel like having sex. Is this normal?

Female hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle and this has an impact on levels of desire. 

Lots of research shows that women are more interested in sex just before or around the time of ovulation. 

This makes sense from a reproduction perspective, and typical hormonal changes would support this.

During the ovulatory period the level of oestrogen in the body peaks. 

Once an egg is released from the ovaries, the level of progesterone increases temporarily, and then before your period oestrogen and progesterone levels are low.

However, this is not universally true. Some women feel more sexual immediately before their period and register no changes to libido in the middle of the cycle. 

Similarly, most studies find that there is a progressive decline in sexual desire during pregnancy, yet about 20% of pregnant women experience an overwhelming and seemingly inexplicable increase in sexual appetite.

Historically, studies that have tracked changes in desire have explored the issue within the context of a sexual relationship. 

However, in 2010 Susan Brown and her colleagues at the University of Hawaii conducted a study that included single women and those in relationships, none of whom was using contraception, so their cycles were natural. 

The study confirmed that single women experienced increased libido and masturbated more mid-cycle, or just before ovulation. 

In 2013 Salvatore Caruso, at the University of Catania in Sicily, conducted a similar study that found 96% of women without a partner masturbated at or around ovulation.

You don’t say how long you have been feeling this way, but the chances are it is a temporary phenomenon. 

Female hormones are affected by age, stress levels, environment, what kind of contraception you are using and whether or not you are taking medication.

If you are anxious or under a lot of pressure, achieving orgasm probably helps you to unwind, releasing a powerful cocktail of melatonin, dopamine and oxytocin that is an effective natural sedative. 

Sex Advice: I can’t sleep unless I’ve had an orgasm

However, it is worth considering why you find it so hard to get to sleep. 

If you are anxious about something, exercise that pushes you physically, such as going for a run or playing squash, will provide the same endorphin boost and stress relief as an orgasm, while also ensuring that you are physically tired when you go to bed.

It is also worth talking to your husband about how you are feeling. 

If you explain to him that you experience a sharp increase in your libido mid-cycle I’m sure he will make himself available for additional sex sessions for when you are ovulating. 

If that suggestion leaves you cold, you may be using masturbation as a way of satisfying your needs, while avoiding having sex with your husband — and the added element of secrecy may be adding to the erotic thrill for you.

Like hormones, relationships are in a constant state of flux. 

However, one surefire way to make any kind of relationship friction worse is to stop talking and start keeping secrets. 

Although I am 90% sure that this is a phase relating to a temporary monthly imbalance in your hormones, if it persists the real problem may be marital rather than menstrual.

Send your queries to suzigodson@mac.com

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