We’ve been talking this week about hormones and libido–how hormones can wreak havoc with our sexual arousal, and what we can do to be more aware, and to compensate when our hormones aren’t cooperating (like when we’re breastfeeding, pregnant, etc.).
Today I want to cap off our series by talking about tracking your hormones–and thus tracking your libido. And here’s why it matters. See if you can relate to this:
Sarah knows it’s been about a week since she and her husband Brian last made love. “He’s due,” she smiles ruefully to herself. But she doesn’t feel much like it today. In fact, she doesn’t feel much like anything today. Everybody’s been bugging her–she lost her temper when the kids didn’t come to dinner because they were playing a video game; the kitchen was a mess and she couldn’t stand that it was always her job; and she cannot find her favorite necklace.
She tries to put all that behind her as she slowly gets into her flannel pyjamas. Sure, Brian might want her to wear something else, but it’s still cold! And these are comfy.
As they climb into bed he turns towards her and starts playing with her hair. She sighs and decides to start kissing him. He begins touching her, and she feels nothing. Absolutely nothing. She tries to concentrate on what he’s doing but it doesn’t even feel good. Last week she was over the moon, but tonight he’s doing everything wrong.
When they start making love she doesn’t even feel aroused. She thinks to herself, “I hope he gets it over with quickly.” But he’s taking longer because he knows she isn’t in to it. And by the time he finishes they’re both just awkward with each other. “I don’t want you to do that if you’re not into it,” Brian says. “It’s humiliating.”
That makes Sarah fume. Look at all she does for him! He wanted it and she went through all that when she just wanted to go to sleep–and now he’s mad at her? What about him? He can’t even figure out how to make her feel good!
And they both go to sleep in a huff–with Sarah deciding that sex won’t happen for a long time now.
Okay, here’s the situation: a week ago she and Brian had a great time! And now they’re both tense and mad at each other–and Sarah’s been tense all day.
Maybe it’s just hormones! Maybe, like this chart I first showed you on Tuesday, Sarah’s simply in the red zone:
What would happen if both Sarah and Brian realized that before they started to make love?
What if Sarah could have said, “You know what, hon, it may not happen for me tonight. But I’d love to feel relaxed, and I’d love to help you feel relaxed. Could we start with a massage, and then I’ll show you a really good time?” And he could give her a massage, and then she could take the lead (maybe by getting on top) and make sex go quickly because it’s not about getting her aroused?
Of course, there’s no problem trying to get aroused when you’re in the red zone! Absolutely not. But if you find yourself living out Sarah’s scenario frequently, then maybe your sexual enjoyment really is affected by hormones. And if you could track that, and realize it, you’d likely be far less likely to get upset at each other when things just didn’t work one night.
So here’s my Tracking Your Hormones plan:
I’ve got a fun printable where you can track your cycle along with your mood and your sexual responsiveness.
Here’s how to use it:
Keep track of all of this for at least a month, but even better, for three months to get a real sense of your patterns.
I’ve got it charted for 35 days, but Day 1 is ALWAYS the first day of your period. So if your cycle is 27 days long, you’ll never get to day 35.
Every morning record your mood and your sexual responsiveness for the day before. Make sure you check off if you had any “sex dreams”, because those tend to coincide with the times that your body is in “peak” mode.
After doing this for a time, hopefully you’ll see a pattern. You may know that you’re raring to go on Days 10-14, but Days 15-20 are awful for you.
That’s great to know for planning vacations, getaways, even date nights! And it’s nice to know just for everyday life, too.
A Comparison of PinkPad and iPeriod Apps
Many apps also chart your period and other cycle symptoms, and I thought I’d review two today!
Now, in a way I’m comparing apples to oranges because I’ve got the free version of PinkPad and the paid ($1.99) version of iPeriod. But I wanted to take a look at how much better a paid version was, and I wanted to look at two different companies. So I hope you’ll forgive me!
I was looking for an app that would let me:
- Chart when my period was coming
- Chart my mood so that it was easily visible on the calendar
- Chart my libido so that it was easily visible
- Keep track of when we had sex
- Keep track of when I had an orgasm
- Keep track of other symptoms of your cycle
- Keep track of my weight
- Keep track of my fertility (not really relevant for me since we’ve had a vasectomy, but I know relevant to many of my readers!)
Here’s what I found. I’ll talk about each app on its own first and then give you a chart so you can see at a glance.
By the way, the info for the week I entered was fictitious. I was just trying to enter as much as I could to see what it looked like on the calendar. So this is all HYPOTHETICAL. (I love you guys, but I only want you to know so much about me. Not TMI).
Tracking your Hormones and Tracking Your Libido with PinkPad
It’s easy with PinkPad to chart your periods. On the main screen you just enter if your flow has started, how heavy it is, or whether you’re just spotting.
And then on the calendar you can see at a glance when your period was and how heavy it was when:
The app also shows you using dots when your next period is expected–and it sends notifications to warn you when your period is due and when you are ovulating.
You can also enter your basal body temperature if you want to track fertility, but that’s all you can do.
What about your mood? You can check off how you’re feeling that day:
You can’t chart your libido at all, though. The only thing you can do is choose “flirty” under mood and let that mean “I was in the mood” on that day.
You can keep track of when you have sex–you just tick off the “intimate” box on the home page, and it shows up as a heart on the month at a glance calendar. The problem is that if you other things noted for that day, the notification goes on TOP of the heart, so you can’t actually see at a glance when you’ve had sex. For instance, I entered sex for the 31st, the 3rd, and the 7th, but you only see it easily on the 7th, because the 31st and the 3rd have other information as well:
You can’t keep track of when you reach orgasm at all.
You can also keep track of other symptoms, like headaches and backaches, but the screen is kind of dark (I’ve got headache checked off here but it’s hard to tell):
These symptoms don’t show up on the calendar, but you do get a little symbol telling you there’s more info on that particular day.
You can enter your weight as well, but you can’t create a graph from it.
Tracking Your Libido and Tracking Your Hormones with iPeriod
Just like PinkPad, it’s really easy to enter your period:
On the calendar at a glance, it shows you when your period is expected, too, and it sends you notifications at your choice about ovulation/when you’re due.
iPeriod tracks your fertility really well. You can enter Basal Body Temperature every morning (it jumps by about half a degree when you ovulate), and you can track other signs of ovulation, like cervical mucus.
And you can keep track of all kinds of sex stuff! Like with PinkPad, you can enter when you had sex (just check off Love Connection).
And then you can see at a glance how many times you’ve had sex this month (the heart is always there!)
(So you see here that the 31st, 3rd, and 7th all have hearts).
You can also enter orgasm as a custom field (you get up to four). I chose the green upper left corner one. So if you look at the calendar above, you can see that this theoretical person had an orgasm on the 31st and 7th but not the 3rd.
You can enter your moods (the first one you enter is the emoticon for the day, but you can choose more than one).
You can also enter your weight everyday, and see a graph of your weight:
You can keep track of the days on which you exercise.
You can enter any symptoms–and this is cool, because it lets you rate your libido (unlike PinkPad):
I wish you could do a graph of your libido or see it at a glance on the calendar, but you can’t. To cheat you can choose the frisky emoticon when you’re feeling “in the mood” and at least you’ll see the days when you’re really high.
When you click on a particular day on the calendar, you see all the graphics for that day, but also the extra notes.
Here’s a Graph Comparing iPeriod and PinkPad:
My conclusion: iPeriod is the better app for tracking your love life and hormones
I’ve been using PinkPad for a long time, and really liked it. But after trying iPeriod, I totally think the $1.99 is worth it, especially because what I really want to track is libido. I love the fact that iPeriod has four user defined settings that show up on the calendar at a glance, and I can think of all kinds of things you could use that for other than just tracking orgasm.
You could even track whether you cheated at an eating plan, or whether you went out to eat at a restaurant, to see how that affected your mood or weight on subsequent days.
So I’d say get iPeriod. It looks like a lot of fun, and it’s what I’ll be using from now on!
Do you use a different period cycle tracker app? How does it relate? Can it track libido? Let us know in the comments!
Other posts in this series: