Does Having Sex Change Your Hormones?

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There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not sex can ease menstrual cramps, speed up your period, or even delay it. What is known is that regular sexual activity releases feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin, which reduce stress and make sleep better (especially if you orgasm!).

In fact, studies show that women who have sex regularly are less likely to enter menopause.


Testosterone is known for fueling sex drive and muscle strength, but it also plays a role in mood regulation and bone health. It’s produced in both men and women, but it plays a much more important role in the body of males.

Testosterone is one of many hormones, chemical messengers that travel throughout the bloodstream to affect different organs and bodily functions. When a man has low testosterone, it may cause him to lose weight and have less energy. It can also increase his risk of heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer.

A male’s testosterone production begins about seven weeks after conception, but it surges during puberty and peaks in his late teens or early 20s. It’s essential for the development of male traits like a deeper voice, beard and body hair and is required to make sperm. It’s also necessary to maintain bone density, fat distribution and muscle mass.

As men age, their testosterone levels decline naturally, a condition sometimes called “male menopause” or andropause – This section was prepared by the website Some men experience physical symptoms or a loss of sexual desire due to low levels, while others do not. Doctors may prescribe shots, gels or patches to boost a man’s testosterone. Testosterone is converted to estrogen, so a decrease in a man’s testosterone may also reduce his levels of estradiol. Both estrogen and testosterone help promote bone health, and high levels of both are linked to better cognitive function in postmenopausal women.


Estrogen is a hormone that plays a key role in the reproductive system of people assigned female at birth (cisgender women, transgender women and nonbinary individuals with vaginas). Together with progesterone, estrogen helps with the development of secondary sex characteristics like breasts, wider hips, pubic hair and armpit hair. It also fuels sexual development during puberty, and it can cause changes in your menstrual cycle.

Both men and women make estrogen, but the ovaries in women produce more of it. The hormones estrone, estradiol and estriol are the major types of estrogen in the body. They are produced in the ovaries and fat cells and are part of the endocrine system. Estrogens work with testosterone and androstenedione to control ovulation and the growth of a woman’s uterine lining. They also play a role in the development of secondary sex characteristics and control menstruation, pregnancy and lactation.

However, estrogens may increase a woman’s risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer. They can also increase the risk of uterine fibroids and polyps, which can lead to a less healthy uterus and vagina. People who are on long-term estrogen use for treatment have an increased risk of blood clots, which can cause a stroke, heart attack or death. They can also have an increase in the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.


Cortisol is your body’s natural alarm system. It works with parts of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear to keep you on edge in dangerous situations. When a threat is gone, your cortisol levels should calm down and your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. But sometimes those levels stay high. During sex, the hormone oxytocin is released, which decreases cortisol and keeps your level of stress low.

Sex can also increase testosterone in both men and women, which can boost muscle mass and improve bone density. It can also stimulate ovulation and cause your menstrual cycle to become more regular. In fact, the fertile window surrounding ovulation is when conception is most likely to occur from heterosexual sex.

During orgasm, your pelvic floor uterus contracts rhythmically, which can kick-start the process of shedding the lining that eventually becomes your period. But it’s important to note that if prostaglandin had already started this process, sex won’t make your period come earlier.

It is possible that sex can impact your menstrual cycle, but most people’s cycles aren’t exactly the same every month anyway. In one study, 46% of cycles varied by seven days or more. This is because of all the various hormones involved, including estrogen and testosterone, that interact with each other to influence your menstrual cycle.


Known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin has many benefits for both your body and your mind. It’s the chemical that triggers bonding, trust and empathy. It’s also released during sex and is linked to orgasms, as well as the feelings of closeness you experience when cuddling or having physical affectionate contact with your partner. Interestingly, it’s also the hormone that triggers labor and breastfeeding in females. In males, it promotes ejaculation by stimulating sperm transport and production of testosterone.

During sex, your levels of estrogen and progesterone increase along with the release of oxytocin. This causes a surge in your natural fertility, which can lead to pregnancy. But even if you don’t get pregnant, the rise in these hormones can cause your uterus to begin shedding its thickened lining and start your period for the next month.

The rhythmic contractions that occur during orgasm can help speed up the process of getting your period started. But, technically, sex only has this effect if you’re already in the luteal phase of your cycle, or about to start one.

It’s important to remember that sex, especially in a non-consensual situation, may lead to elevated oxytocin and testosterone. And, if you aren’t trying to get pregnant, regular sex can actually have some health benefits including strengthening bones and muscles and improving your heart disease risk factors.

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