The Sexual Response Cycle

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The Cycle of Sexual Response Introduction to Psychology The Cycle of Sexual Response Sex is part of most intimate adult relationships, and many would argue it is an important element to the long-term relationship. What some may now realize is that sexual response can be said to have a cycle. The sexual response cycle is defined as “changes that occur in the body as men and women become sexually aroused” (Nevid & Rathus, 2005, p. 445), and the cycle is broken into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasmic, and resolution. Through each of the phases, the male and female body works to respond to stimuli, which aides in the pleasure and satisfaction. Females and males transcend the four phases, and surprisingly, some of the phases are similar for both sexes, while others are different. The first stage of the sexual response cycle is the excitement phase. In this phase, vasocongestion stimulates blood flow to the sexual organs during the excitement phase. Males may experience erection within three to eight seconds of stimulation, while females may experience vaginal swelling and lubrication in 10 to 30 seconds. Vasocongestion also causes swelling of breasts and nipples, testes, and the earlobes, because of dilation of blood vessels. Additionally, both males and females may experience myotonia, tension of the muscles in the face, hands and feet, as well as orgasms. The excitement phase also elicits flushing of skin, erection of nipples in both males and females, and increased heart rate and blood pressure (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). The second phase of the sexual response cycle is the plateau phase. In this phase, the state of sexual arousal is fairly steady. The male experiences growth in the head of the penis and the testes are raised in preparation for ejaculation, possibly growing to one and a half the normal size. Females experience swelling of the outer

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