Ask Mauj: About Desire, Energy During Your Period, and Pleasure After FGM

Ask Mauj

Welcome to our monthly Q&A series, where we answer your most pressing questions about your sexual and menstrual health.

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In this month's Q&A, we're answering three of your questions about the intricacies of desire, the reasons behind energy fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, and the potential for pleasure among women who have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Q: Why do I sometimes not feel the desire to have sex with my partner? It’s not that it's boring or weird. It’s actually perfect, but I just want to be close to him and hug him and nothing more.

A: It’s perfectly normal to desire romantic intimacy without having sex sometimes. Your sexual desire at any given moment depends on many factors, like your mood or other physical and psychological factors. All partners will simply need different things at different times.

If this persists, and it becomes an issue for you and your partner, it’s important to ask: Did I always feel this way, or have I become less interested in sex recently? If it’s the former and you’ve always felt this way, it could just be that you have lower sexual desire, or desire that is more responsive than spontaneous, and that’s totally fine! We’re all wired differently. You and your partner will just need to get really good at communicating about sex and find a middle ground that works for both of you. 

If it’s the latter and you’re experiencing a drop in your libido, we would encourage you to explore the reasons for that more closely. These could be cultural, medical, psychological, or relational. Read more on that here.

Q: When do you feel the strongest and most creative, before menstruation or after?

A: That would often be around ovulation (what is known as the “Inner Summer”). These are days 11-21 of a 28-day cycle (so this will depend on the length of your cycle). 

Due to the changes in hormones around that time of the month, we tend to feel more outwardly focused. We want to be seen and heard. The Inner Summer is often when we peak in terms of productivity, multi-tasking, and fun.

Our critical, judgmental mindsets are generally out of the way during this time (they usually show up loud and clear during the premenstrual/Inner Autumn phase).

Menstrual cycle awareness experts recommend scheduling any big projects, deadlines, meetings, or challenging workouts around this time, as it's when we show up with our highest energy and confidence. 

Q: Can a woman who has had FGM still feel pleasure?

A: The answer to your question depends on the extent and type of genital mutilation that a woman was subjected to. We recommend reading this article to determine the type of FGM you’ve been subjected to.

The short answer to your question is that, yes, if the clitoris was not completely removed, a woman may still be able to experience pleasure and reach orgasm through stimulation of that area.

It’s also important to know that the psychological and sexual trauma factors caused by FGM can affect a woman's ability to reach climax and experience pleasure, even if the clitoris was not completely removed. 

That being said, remember that there are different types of orgasms other than clitoral orgasms, such as ones experienced through the vagina, the nipples, or the cervix. Read more on that here

If you've undergone FGM, we recommend you speak to a specialized healthcare professional, such as the team at @restoreFGM, who will help you find out the degree of mutilation and possible treatments, whether using restorative procedures or through therapy.

Have questions you’d like us to answer?

Submit them anonymously through this form, email us at [email protected], or DM us on Instagram.

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