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What is Sexual Response Cycle?

A person’s body goes through different cycles every day. One of these cycles includes the one we call as a “sexual response cycle” or a human body’s response to anything sexual, including anal, vaginal, or oral sex, or even masturbation.

It may seem to be a simple process in the naked eye, this cycle undergoes four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.

Here’s how humans undergo sexual response cycle:

First: Excitement

All sexual response cycle starts with excitement. During this phase, the first characteristic of sexual arousal. These characteristics can last from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the stimulation. Here are the common signs of excitement:

  • Increase in muscle tension
  • Increased blood flow towards the genital area resulting in erections for men and swelling of the clitoris for women.
  • Genitals become more sensitive to pressure and stimulations
  • Nipples get hard or erect
  • For women, the vaginal walls start to get wet as lubrication. Some women produce more than others, while some need a little stimulation.
  • Women’s boobs and vaginal walls also swell.
  • For men, other than the obvious erection of the penis, testicles swell and the scrotum tightens, and also secretes a clear liquid meant for lubrication.

Second: Plateau

If stimulation continues further, it will soon reach the second phase called plateau. This stage lasts just before the third phase, which is orgasm. Common characteristics of this stage include:

  • Intensified versions of what a person felt during the excitement phase.
  • For women, the vaginal walls continuously swell due to the increased blood flow. It also turns dark purple.
  • Women’s clitoris also becomes more sensitive (which may cause some pain when direct pressure is applied). It also hides inside the clitoral hood to avoid direct stimulation from the penis.
  • Men’s testicles are withdrawn up into the scrotum.
  • Breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate continuously rises.
  • Muscle spasms may begin in the hands, feet, and face.
  • Continuously rising muscle tension in the whole body.

Third: Orgasm

This is the climax of the sexual response cycle as this can only be achieved if the genitals either the male or the female have experienced enough stimulation. This is the shortest phase-out of all the four phases as it normally lasts for a few seconds. Its common characteristics are:

  • The release of the tension stored in the body through involuntary and pleasurable contractions.
  • For women, the muscles of the vagina also experience rhythmic convulsions. It may also be experienced in the anus, uterus, or throughout the body at the same time.
  • For men, the rhythmic contractions happen throughout the penis due to the release of the semen.
  • Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing also reaches its peak.
  • Muscle spasms may also be experienced.
  • Redness of the skin or “sex flush” may also happen.

Fourth: Resolution

This is the last phase of the sexual response cycle where the body gradually recovers back to its original form, size, and color.

For both men and women, this chapter also gives a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy, or, commonly, fatigue.

The only difference is that women can reach another orgasm again after receiving continuous stimulation, while men don’t.

This is because men enter an extra phase called “refractory period” where they need to rest and recover their strength. The refractory period extends as time goes by.

Knowing more about the body processes is beneficial, especially if you’re aware of your sexual health. If you ever felt that you did not experience all of the phases, don’t worry as you’re still considered normal.

If you have any questions about contraception and other sexual health-related concerns, don’t hesitate to send a message on our Facebook page.

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Sources: https://www.britannica.com/topic/human-sexual-activity/Sociosexual-activity#ref401884

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sexual-health-your-guide-to-sexual-response-cycle#1

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