The Sexual Response Cycle
Human sexual behavior or human sexual practice refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. It encompass a wide range of activities such as strategies to find or attract partners (mating and display behavior), interactions between individuals, physical or emotional intimacy, and sexual contact. Our minds and bodies can respond sexually to a variety of stimuli—including sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, movement, fantasy, and memory. These stimuli can create sexual desire—a strong wanting for sexual stimulation (either by oneself or with another person) or sexual intimacy that may cause one to seek sexual satisfaction. In adults, sexual response follows generally predictable patterns that have been documented by a number of researchers. However, there is some variation in the ways in which these patterns have been formalized. The sexual response cycle that I will try to describe has been modified by Masters and Johnson (1966). They divided the sexual response cycle into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Although both men and women experience the same general stages of response, the amount of time needed to achieve each stage and the progression between stages may vary. In addition, psychological and emotional responses may vary greatly from person to person. Progression from one stage to the next is not inevitable: several of the stages can be achieved, lost, and regained many times without progression. Excitement Phase
This is the first phase of the sexual response cycle; excitement can be communicated between partners verbally, through body language, through behavior, or through any of the following body changes: •
For both sexes: Heart rate and blood pressure increase, body muscles tense, sexual flush occurs, nipples become erect, genital and pelvic blood vessels become engorged, and involuntary and voluntary muscles contract. •
For women: The vagina...
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