Assignment: The Sexual Response Cycle
University of Phoenix Axia College
The sexual response cycle
The first phase of the sexual response cycle is the excitement phase. General characteristics of this phase, which can last from a few minutes to several hours, include the following: Muscle tension increases, heart rate quickens and breathing is accelerated, skin may become flushed (blotches of redness appear on the chest and back) and is more pronounced in women (Nevid & Rathus, 2007), nipples become hardened or erect, blood flow to the genitals increases in both men and women, resulting in swelling of the woman’s clitoris and labia minora (inner lips), and erection of the man’s penis, vaginal lubrication begins, the woman’s breasts become fuller and the vaginal walls begin to swell, the man’s testicles swell, his scrotum tightens, and he begins secreting a lubricating liquid (Cleveland Clinic, 2009). This phase can be brought on by physical contact, our thoughts, or our emotions (Starr, 2005).
The second phase is termed the plateau phase. According to the Cleveland Clinic general characteristics of this phase, which extends to the brink of orgasm, include the following: The changes begun in phase 1 are intensified, the vagina continues to swell from increased blood flow, and the vaginal walls turn a dark purple, the woman’s clitoris becomes highly sensitive (and may even be painful to touch) and retracts under the clitoral hood to avoid direct stimulation from the penis, the man’s testicles are withdrawn up into the scrotum, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure continue to increase, muscle spasms may begin in the feet, face and hands, and tension in the muscles increases (2009).
In the final stage, resolution, the body begins to return to an unaroused state. This phase is marked by a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy and often fatigue (Cleveland Clinic, 2009). In women, blood is released from engorged areas and...