The Sexual Response Cycle

Essay by 4myharleyCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2009

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When Masters and Johnson (1966) did their research studies, they did find that there are similarities between the sexual response cycle for men and the sexual response cycle for women. Masters and Johnson to used the term, "sexual response cycle" to describe the changes that occur in men's and women's bodies when the experience sexual arousal. For the purpose of this study, Masters and Johnson determined that the sexual response cycle should be divided into four distinct phases. These phases begin with excitement, proceeding then to plateau, and then one reaches a peak during orgasm, and then experiences the resolution phase.

During the first phase of excitement that this study identifies, the subjects experience something that the study personnel refer to as vasocongestion. Vasocongestion is a condition in which the genital tissues swell as they begin to fill with blood and dilate. This occurs in both men and women as they begin to feel sexual arousal.

When a man experiences vasocongestion, his genital tissues undergo pronounced changes. As blood diverts into the tissues of the penis, it enlarges both in length as well as in girth, becoming an erection. In younger men, vasocongestion can create an erection in three to eight seconds after sexual stimulation begins. While the penis is erect, it becomes hardened and rigid as if it were nothing more than skin covering over a bone. This condition is the basis for the popular slang term, boner. A man will also experience swelling in his testicles, nipples and in his earlobes. Vasocongestion also causes a thickening of the scrotal skin, making it less baggy.

Similarly, when a woman experiences sexually arousal, vasocongestion causes swelling of her genital tissues. A woman will notice a swelling of the area surrounding the vaginal opening as well as in her nipples. Females...