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By: Nica Pineda =)

Thehuman sexual response cycleis a four-stage model of

physiological responses tosexual stimulation. (Sexual
stimulationis anystimulus(including bodily contact) that leads
to, enhances and maintainssexual arousal, and may lead to
The cycle was first proposed by
William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnsonin their 1966
bookHuman Sexual Response. Stages may actually be more
individualized than Masters proposed; they may blend together
much more into one smooth process of desire, arousal and orgasm.

Excitement Phase
Plateau Phase
Orgasm Phase
Resolution Phase

Theexcitement phase(also known as thearousal
phaseorinitial excitement phase) is the first stage of the
human sexual response cycle. It occurs as the result of
physical or mentalerotic stimuli, such askissing,petting, or
viewing erotic images, that leads tosexual arousal. During
the excitement stage, the body prepares for sexual
intercourse, initially leading to the plateau phase.There is
wide socio-cultural variation regarding preferences for the
length of foreplay and the stimulation methods used. Physical
and emotional interaction and stimulation of the erogenous
zones during foreplay usually establishes at least some initial

Among both sexes, the excitement phase results in an increase in heart
rate, breathing rate, and a rise inblood pressure.A survey in 2006 has found
that sexual arousal in about 82% of young females and 52% of young males
arises or is enhanced by directstimulation of nipples, with only 78%
reporting that it decreased their arousal.Vasocongestionof the skin,
commonly referred to as thesex flush, will occur in approximately 50-75%
of females and 25% of males. The sex flush tends to occur more often under
warmer conditions and may not appear at all under cooler temperatures.
***Vasocongestionis the swelling of bodily tissues caused by increased
vascularbloodflow and a localized increase inblood pressure. Typical
causes of vasocongestion in humans includesmenstruation,sexual arousal,
REM sleep, strongemotions,illnessesandallergic reactions.***

During the female sex flush, pinkish spots develop under the breasts,
then spread to the breasts, torso, face, hands, soles of the feet, and
possibly over the entire body.Vasocongestion is also responsible for
the darkening of the clitoris and the walls of the vagina during sexual
arousal. During the male sex flush, the coloration of the skin
develops less consistently than in the female, but typically starts with
theepigastrium(upper abdomen), spreads across the chest, then
continues to the neck, face, forehead, back, and sometimes,
shoulders and forearms. The sex flush typically disappears soon after
orgasm occurs, but this may take up to two hours or so and,
sometimes, intense sweating will occur simultaneously. The flush
usually diminishes in reverse of the order in which it appeared.
An increase in muscle tone (myotonia) of certain muscle groups,
occurring voluntarily and involuntarily, begins during this phase
among both sexes. Also, the external anal sphinctermaycontract
randomly upon contact (or later duringorgasmwithout contact).

In males, the beginning of the excitement phase is
observed when thepenisbecomes partially erect,
often after only a few seconds of erotic
stimulation.The erection may be partially lost and
regained repeatedly during an extended excitement
phase. Bothtesticlesbecome drawn upward toward
theperineum, notably in circumcisedmales where
less skin is available to accommodate the erection.
Also, thescrotumcan tense and thicken during the
erection process.

In females, the excitement phase can last from
several minutes to several hours. The onset of
vasocongestionresults in swelling of the woman's
clitoris, labia minora and vagina. The muscle that
surrounds the vaginal opening grows tighter and the
uterus elevates and grows in size. The vaginal walls
begin to produce a lubricating organic
liquid.Meanwhile, the breasts increase slightly in
size and nipples become hardened and erect.

Theplateau phaseis the period of sexual
excitement prior toorgasm. The phase is
characterised by an increased circulation and heart
rate in both sexes, increased sexual pleasure with
increased stimulation, and further increased muscle
tension. Also, respiration continues at an elevated
level.Both men and women may also begin to
vocalize involuntarily at this stage.Prolonged time in
the plateau phase without progression to the
orgasmic phase may result in frustration if continued
for too long .

During this phase, the maleurethral sphincter
contracts (so as to preventurinefrom mixing with
semen, and to guard againstretrograde ejaculation)
and muscles at the base of the penis begin a steady
rhythmic contraction.Males may start to secrete
seminal fluid orpre-ejaculatoryfluid and thetesticles
rise closer to the body
***Retrograde ejaculationoccurs whensemen,
which would normally beejaculatedvia theurethra, is
redirected to the urinary bladder.***

The plateau stage in females is basically a continuation of the same
changes evident in the excitement stage. Theclitorisbecomes extremely
sensitive and withdraws slightly and theBartholin glandsproduce
furtherlubrication. The tissues of the outer third of the vagina swell, and
thepubococcygeus muscletightens, reducing the diameter of the
opening of the vagina.Masters and Johnson refer to the changes that
take place during the plateau stage as theorgasmic platform. For those
who never achieve orgasm, this is the peak of sexual excitement.
***Thepubococcygeus muscleorPC muscleis a hammock-like
muscle, found in both sexes, that stretches from the pubic boneto the
coccyx(tail bone) forming thefloorof thepelvic cavityand supporting
the pelvic organs. It is part of the levator animuscle.***

Orgasm is the conclusion of the plateau phase of the
sexual response cycle and is experienced by both males
and females. It is accompanied by quick cycles of
muscle contraction in the lower pelvic muscles, which
surround both the anus and the primary sexual organs.
Women also experienceuterineandvaginal
contractions. Orgasms are often associated with other
involuntary actions, including vocalizations and muscular
spasms in other areas of the body, and a generally
euphoric sensation. Heart rate is increased even further.

In men, orgasm is usually associated withejaculation
. Each ejection is accompanied with continuous
pulses of sexual pleasure, especially in the penis
andloins. Other sensations may be felt strongly
among the lower spine, or lower back. The first and
second convulsions are usually the most intense in
sensation, and produce the greatest quantity of
semen. Thereafter, each contraction is associated
with a diminishing volume of semen and a milder
sensation of pleasure.

Orgasms in females can vary widely
from woman to woman. The overall
sensation is similar to that of the male
orgasm. They are commonly associated
with an increase in vaginal lubrication, a
tightening of the vaginal walls, and
overall pleasure.

Theresolution phaseoccurs after orgasm
and allows the muscles to relax, blood
pressure to drop and the body to slow down
from its excited state.The refractory period,
which is part of the resolution phase, is the
time frame in which usually a man is unable
to orgasm again, though women can also
experience a refractory period.

Masters and Johnson described the two-stage detumescence of the
penis: In the first stage, the penis decreases from its erect state to
about fifty percent larger than its flaccid state. This occurs during
the refractory period. In the second stage (and after the refractory
period is finished), the penis decreases in size and returns to being
flaccid.It is generally impossible for men to achieve orgasm during
the refractory period. Masters and Johnson argue that this period
must end before men can become aroused again.
***Detumescence is the process of subsiding from a state of
tension, swelling, or (especially) sexual arousal.***

According to Masters and Johnson, women have the ability to
orgasm again very quickly, as long as they have effective
stimulation. They are, as a result, able to have multiple
orgasms in a relatively short period of time.Though generally
reported that women do not experience a refractory period
and thus can experience an additional orgasm, or multiple
orgasms, soon after the first,[some sources state that men
and women experience a refractory period because women
may also experience a period after orgasm in which further
sexual stimulation does not produce excitement.For some
women, the clitoris is very sensitive after climax, making
additional stimulation initially painful. After the initial orgasm,
subsequent orgasms for women may also be stronger or more

Is an enduring pattern ofromanticorsexual
attraction (or a combination of these) to
persons of the oppositesexorgender, the
same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more
than one gender.


sexual attractionorsexual behaviorbetween
persons of oppositesexorgender. As a
sexual orientation, heterosexuality is "an enduring
pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual
attractions" to persons of the opposite sex; it "also
refers to a person's sense of identity based on those
attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a
community of others who share those attractions."

(meaning "same", andLatinsexus, meaning "sex.)
isromanticattraction, sexual attractionorsexual
behaviorbetween members of the samesexor
gender. As asexual orientation, homosexuality is "an
enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or
sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It
"also refers to a person's sense of identity based on
those attractions, related behaviors, and
membership in a community of otherswho share
those attractions."

isromanticattraction,sexual attraction, orsexual
behaviortoward both males and females,or
romantic or sexual attraction to people of anysexor
gender identity; this latter aspect is sometimes
termed pansexuality.

Transsexualpeople experience agender identitythat is
inconsistent with, or not culturally associated with, their assigned
sex, and desire to permanentlytransitionto thegenderwith which
they identify, usually seeking medical assistance (including
hormone replacement therapyand other
sex reassignment therapies) to help them align their body with
their identifiedsexor gender.Transsexualis generally considered a
subset oftransgender,but some transsexual people reject the label
oftransgender. A medical diagnosis ofgender dysphoriacan be
made if a person expresses a desire to live and be accepted as a
member of their identified sex,or if a person experiences impaired
functioning ordistressas a result of their gender identity.

is the lack ofsexual attractionto
anyone, or low or absent interest in
sexual activity.It may be considered the
lack of asexual orientation, or one of the
variations thereof, along side
Transexuality andbisexuality.

Sexual expressionis a healthy human
need. Human beings aresexualbeings,
urges and desires are a totally normal
part of being human. Finding pleasure and
connection throughsexual expressionis
a good thing.


is the practice of refraining from some or
all aspects ofsexual activityfor medical,
psychological, legal, social, financial,
philosophical, moral or religious reasons.

is thesexual stimulationof one's owngenitalsfor
sexual arousalor other sexual pleasure, usually to
the point oforgasm.The stimulation may involve
hands,fingers, everyday objects,sex toysor
combinations of these.Mutual masturbation(mutual
manual stimulation of the genitals between partners)
can be a substitute forsexual penetration.

Is the use of visual materials such as
magazines or photographs for sexual

Is sexual arousal resulting from the use of
certain objects or situations. Leather, rubber,
shoes and feet are frequently perceived to
have erotic qualities. The object of stimulation
does not just enhance the experience; rather,
it becomes a focus of arousal and a person
may come to require the object or situation
for stimulation.

is the practice of dressing and acting in a
style or manner traditionally associated with
the othersex. Transvestites can be
heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual


thesexual interestin orpracticeof spying

on people engaged in intimate behaviors,
such as undressing, sexual activity, or other
actions usually considered to be of a private
Is obtaining sexual arousal by looking at
another persons body.

Involves inflicting pain (sadism) or
receiving pain (masochism) to achieve
sexual satisfaction.

is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public
context those parts of one's body that are not
normally exposed for example, thebreasts,

Is sexual relations with animals.

Are individuals who are interested in
sexual encounters with children.