Notes From the Salon: This Hormonal Life

– Sarah W., BADP Doula and Blogger

Did you know that a woman’s hormonal cycle can affect her productivity at work, skin health, sexual response, and much, much more?  If you attended “This Hormonal Life” last Wednesday then you know all that.

The event, which comfortably filled the Million Fishes Art Collective on Bryant Street in San Francisco’s Mission district, was the first of four salons celebrating Women’s History Month and raising much needed funds for the volunteer-run Bay Area Doula Project.Million Fishes Art Collective

Tatiana Josephy and Amber Dawn Hallet teamed up to create the fantastic multimedia presentation on women’s amazing hormonal cycles and how we can work with them when we educate ourselves about how our bodies work.

Tatiana, who founded TrueCycle and recently released the free iPhone app Hormone Horoscope talked about her own history of feeling disconnected from her body and how much it changed her life when she learned about how her hormones worked in her own cycle. 

Amber, a full-spectrum doula, had a similar sort of story of feeling disconnected from her own cycles while she was on the pill, and coming back to herself as she learned to experience those cycles.

So what happens during a woman’s hormonal cycle?  Many of us think of PMS and menses as the primary events, but both presenters encouraged women to think of ovulation as the central event. 

Amber discusses cervical fluidThe changing quality of cervical fluid is one of the best indicators we have to observe when ovulation is taking place, but most of us are never taught how to notice these or any other signs of ovulation.  Amber said that learning to read the signs “make[s] it possible for you to become very body-literate.”

Tatiana focused more on the effects of estrogen and progesterone, about which there is a lot of new research.  Sexual desire, pain threshold, productivity, creativity, metabolic rate, skin health, sleep cycles, and more are linked to these changes in hormonal levels.

 Tatiana said that it’s valuable to be able to live with an understanding of all these cycles and that she’s “able to see the world in a different way” now that she recognizes what’s happening. 

Tatiana and Amber described the information they shared as having both personal and political power.  The huge number of women who have spent at least part of their reproductive years on hormonal birth control have also spent that time disconnected from some of the valuable experiences of a fully functioning cycle, such as periods of pronounced extroversion and sexual desire.  Because of this disconnect, Tatiana questioned the narrative that links women’s liberation with the development of the pill, and she thinks there’s a movement coming that will reconnect women with their bodily cycles.The presenters recommended Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Amber stated, “I wish that women had more education, more body-literacy.”  The technologically savvy can get more information from True Cycle or Hormone Horoscope.  Both presenters also recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, for information on how to track cycles and use that knowledge for contraception or pregnancy achievement.

The next three salons on women’s reproductive health are also a great way to gain more knowledge about our own bodies.  Join us this week on March 14th @ 7pm for:


Orgasm Outside the Box

How do our preconceptions, relationships and emotional experiences influence our sexual and sensual experiences? Join us for engaging presentations and lively discussion on how two women are uncovering orgasms in unexpected spaces.

Shelby Devlin-Hailey is an erotic-fiction author with a background in Human Sexuality. She is currently researching the importance of sexual play in female communities as well as the emergence of bi-sexuality in heterosexual women. How Letting Go of Labels Can Improve Your Orgasms is an informal conversation about her current explorations.

Carrie Flemming is a hypnotherapist with a background in HypnoBirthing and reproductive justice, and an interest in expanding our perceptions of how we birth our humans. Illuminating the Intersections between Passion, Sexuality & Birth is an experiential talk bringing together women-centered birth wisdom, sensual birth stories and a deep relaxation experience to facilitate dialogue around the sensual and sexual possibilities of birth.

 Million Fishes Art Gallery

2501 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA

$10-20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.  All proceeds go to the Bay Area Doula Project 



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