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Created for UoP CMHC 551

sexual response cycle

changes males and females go through as they get more sexually aroused

stages of sexual response cycle

1. excitement, 2. plateau, 3. orgasm, 4. resolution, (5. afterplay)


In the sexual response cycle, engorgement of the blood vessels, particularly in the genital area, due to increased blood flow


Increased muscle tension accompanying the approach of orgasm.

female variability

variability in female sexual response cycle can be attributed to time spent in each stage, and also knowing what excites her

female excitement

vaginal lubrication (transudation) starts 10-30 sec, slower if female laying down. vasocongestion causes labia and clitoris to enlarge and labia minora turn pink (in nulliparous women). in women that have had children these changes happen faster. Skin takes on sex flush.

breast changes

breast size increases and nipple erect during excitement, further size increase and areola size increase during plateau and orgasm, size reduction and nipple temporarily still firm during resolution.

female orgasm

build up of tension, increased breathing and heart rate, releases a powerful pleasurable feeling of rhythmic contractions of vaginal area for about 10 sec


important period after sex of continuing affection noted by heightened vulnerability and openness.


male excitement (parasympathetic stimulation), arteries in penis dilate causing the cavities in penis to fill with blood in 3-8 sec. pressure in crus and bulb prevents blood from draining.


2 stages: first muscle contractions force semen to collect in urethral bulb and internal sphincter of urethra closes to prevent semen from entering bladder and urine mixing with semen. At this stage ejaculation is inevitable. secondly, the muscles at base of penis contract and expel semen outwards. (rhythmic contractions)


Stage 4: Body returns to prearoused state. Detumescence, vasoconstriction.

refractory period

males are unable to have an orgasm or ejaculate, females have a much shorter period, allowing multiple orgasms in some cases.


William H. Masters & Virginia E Johnson "Human Sexual Response." Data from 382 women, 312 men, and over 10k sexual cycles of arousal & orgasm.


Stage 1: Physiological process of vasogongestion that produces the arousal response. Erection, in men. Lubrication, ballooning of vagina, swelling of clitoral glans, lifting of uterus and cervix in women.


the reverse process of vasocongestion. Occurs in resolution, and is a result of release of epinephrine and norepinephrine.


Stage 3: Vasocongestion and myatonia


Stage 4: Rhythmic contractions. Carpopedal spasms. Often ejaculation.

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