Social Question

tinyfaery's avatar

If women who spend a lot of time together sync their menstrual cycles, why do my wife and I always have our cycles 2 weeks apart?

Asked by tinyfaery (41403points) October 7th, 2009

I can’t think of two women closer than we are. My college roommates and I were all eventually on the same cycle, same with me and my sister.

What’s the explanation?

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26 Answers

casheroo's avatar

Maybe that’s just how your bodies decided to sync up. I was always a week behind my mother. The only time I ever noticed this phenomenon was at one place I worked. Four of us got our periods within days of each other, I think it was coincidence since we only worked side by side once a week, but did see each other individually during the work week.

noodle_poodle's avatar

I had herd that women sync but I hadn’t herd that everyone did…maybe some don’t

Beta_Orionis's avatar

It’s not an absolute, just a tendency.

Blondesjon's avatar

You are just waaay too much of a dude in this instance.

I really do mean that in the best and most non-insulting way possible.

Sarcasm's avatar

I understand how you could tell whether or not you’re synced with a lover, but.. how do you tell generally that you’re synced up with parents, siblings, roommates, etc? Do girls really tell eachother when they’re on their periods?

casheroo's avatar

@Sarcasm Yes, we talk about it. We tend to complain about it…have you not noticed complaints? Or a difference in attitude from your mother or sister, or girlfriend?? Heck, my husband could tell when I was ovulating or about to menstruate before I knew! lol

dpworkin's avatar

Apparently, the mechanism for “syncing” has to do with pheromones. I’m not an expert, but it is possible that one of you has an insensitive vomeronasal organ, and is not sensing the pheromones of the other.

The other reasonable possibility, is that you are synchronized, to opposing cycles. I have access to my university library if you want me to do a search on the subject for scholarly studies. Just PM me and let me know.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@Sarcasm At my high school at one point 90% of the girls in my cohort started on the same day, which we all realized because several people asked others if they had supplies (as they had been caught unprepared.) That scene ended with about 15 girls leaving the classroom together and many of the boys being bewildered both by the over-share and the sheer number of us. That’s the most extreme case I’ve experienced.

cyndyh's avatar

Or maybe syncing is just so much bull.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Are either of you on any birth control? Do you eat a lot of soy beans? Are one or both of you under a lot of stress?

janbb's avatar

I’ve heard of it but never had direct experience of it. Again, I think it’s a tendency, not a rule.

girlofscience's avatar

@Sarcasm: A period is such an immensely horrible pain in the ass—how wouldn’t parents/siblings/roommates know??? How would you not mention the agony to the people you live with and converse with daily?! Yes, we talk about it!!

Frankie's avatar

Whenever my sister and I come home from college our mother, who has been going through menopause for about four years, gets her period…even if we don’t have ours when we’re there. We only come home about 4 or 5 times a year, and she never gets it when we aren’t there and it’s just her and my dad and two brothers in the house. It’s pretty weird. So I guess it’s not really an example of syncing, but I think it speaks to the theory about hormones/pheromones affecting when women, who are around other women for a significant period of time, get their periods.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I’ve never synced up with anyone I was dating, even with my most recent ex, whom I pretty much lived with for a few months. I am, however, almost always on the same cycle as my mom and sister, even though we live in different cities and I see them only a few times a year. My mom has mentioned that her sister (who lives in yet another city!) is also usually on the same cycle as we are. Weeeird.

Also I heard somewhere that some people will sync with those around them, but others do not have than tendency and are the ones that other people sync TO. Maybe you’re both dominant period-people. So if you were dating people who had more malleable cycles, they would sync to you, but you both just don’t have that tendency to sync with someone else so you don’t.

tinyfaery's avatar

@fireinthepriory We always joke that neither one of us is dominant in the relationship and that’s why we don’t start our cycles anywhere near each other.

Could there be something to do with being in a same-sex relationship? Maybe we sense other pheromones or don’t sense them at all.

I’ve always had this unproven, unscientific, purely speculative theory that being attracted to the same-sex might have something to do with scent, specifically pheromones. Please, tell me if I’m wrong. I’d like to move on from my theory.

wilma's avatar

@Frankie I once went on a trip with 3 women who were in or past menopause and each hadn’t had a period in over a year. (one had been without it for 5 years) We all shared a hotel room.
I was still very regular and at the beginning of the trip I was just starting my period. By the end of the 3 day weekend they had all started again.

Needless to say they weren’t very happy with me. It’s a good thing I brought extra supplies!

KatawaGrey's avatar

I didn’t know all this about sisters and mothers. My mother went through forced menopause a year before I got my period so we never synced up. I did, however, sync up with one of my roommates freshman year. The other ones were on birth control so I didn’t sync up with them. Maybe it’s a rarer phenomenon than we thought.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t sync with my female roommate. She’s always two weeks after me. And I didn’t sync with my aunt or any of my college roommates, either.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@tinyfaery You know, it might have to do with being in a same-sex relationship… It is interesting that neither you nor I have synced with our past/present partners. We need a bigger sample size!!

Also after a little googling, I found a scientific paper called ”Brain response to putative pheromones in lesbian women!” Looks like the take-home message of this paper is that lesbians respond like hetero males to male and female pheromones. Not surprising, and it lends credibility to your pheromone theory. :) Ooh, and I found an article in the Times that talks about how the hypothalamus could be related to sexual orientation… i.e. the gay male hypothalamus resembles the straight female hypothalamus, etc. Oy, you can’t get me started on this, I think this might be a topic for another thread… :D

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Leanne1986: They have a lot of Estrogen in them. Before I went on birth control, I couldn’t eat soy beans because they would throw off my cycle.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@KatawaGrey I see! You really do learn something new everyday :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Sarcasm I generally don’t talk about it, because for me they’re not a problem, in any way

JLeslie's avatar

I never synced up with family members or roommates.

JLeslie's avatar

I would think from the procreation point of view being perfectly synced in opposing cycles might be better for making more babies from an animal/primitive point-of-view.

tinyfaery's avatar

Interesting.

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