Who does not like intimacy, especially sexual intimacies? Successful sexual intercourse can form a special bond between the parties and an unsuccessful one can deteriorate the ongoing one. So, to perform better in these types of activities, one should be fully aware of the human sexual response cycle. Let us read more about it and its stages.
What is the sexual response cycle?
It is a cycle that consists of four stages and all these four stages explain one’s psychological responses to sexual stimulation. The psychological response model was first formulated by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson in their book published in 1966.
They occur in the given order:
The excitement phase, The plateau phase, The orgasmic phase, and The resolution phase.
All these stages have significant changes that occur both physically and emotionally. The sexual activity being performed by the person can be either intercourse or masturbation.
Knowing what are the stimulations that are going to be next, allows performing better during sexual intercourse. It also prevents the events of sexual dysfunction. This model is clear and can be easily understood.
The four phases of the sexual response cycle
We have already read the names of the four phases. These phases are felt by both women and men during any sexual activities however, the timing of each phase is usually different.
It is highly unlikely that both parties will reach the phase of orgasm at the same time. Along with this, the intensity of the phase and the time spent in each response varies from person to person. Even people of the same gender would not go through each phase at the same time.
There are also chances someone might miss a phase during some sexual encounters. A desire for intimacy gives rise to sexual encounters in some individuals and understanding the difference or changes in this cycle might give the benefit of the understanding each-others body.
Not all sexual activities depict the same experiences. This solely depends on one present physical condition and state of mind. Individuals might experience all, some, or none of the four psychological phases.
The four phases of the sexual response cycle are explained below:
- The excitement/desire phase
The beginning phase might last from a few minutes to several hours. If psychologically explained, it is the phase when you warm up the body and start with semi-intense sexual activity with your partner.
This phase is the result of mental or physical erotic stimuli, to name a few: kissing, making out, or viewing some erotic visuals. All these erotic stimuli lead to sexual arousal. Given below are the ways in which our body reacts to our emotions:
- Tension in the muscle increases
- The speed of the heart rates is increased accompanied by heavy breathing.
- The skin might turn red in the back and the chest.
- Erection caused to the nipples making them firm.
- The woman’s clitoris starts to swell and the man’s penis begins to erect.
- Vaginal lubrication begins
- Man’s testicles swell and start to secrete fluid. The woman’s breasts become fuller.
At this time, the body prepares for sexual intercourse. If the erogenous zones are stimulated in this phase, it will lead to the next phase, the plateau phase.
- The plateau/ arousal phase
In this phase, the feeling of sexual orgasm rushes in. Both the parties begin to vocalize at this stage. This stage in women is also known as an orgasmic platform. Given below are the ways in which our body reacts to our emotions:
- The sensations get intensified.
- The vagina’s walls start to turn purple and it continues to swell with increased blood flow.
- At this stage, the women’s clitoris behaves highly sensitive to any kind of stimulation. The clitoris might feel pain while touching.
- The clitoris draws back to the clitoris hood and avoids direct stimulation from the penis.
- Similarly, the man’s testicles are drawn back up to the scrotum.
- There is a spike in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure in both parties.
- Muscle spasms start to feel in hands, feet, and face.
- Muscle tension also increases.
- The orgasm / orgasmic phase
This phase marks the ending of the plateau phase. This stage is known as the climax or the most awaited phase of the sexual response cycle. This stage involves many involuntarily produced activities, such as quick actions, loud vocalizations, and muscular spasms in many areas of the body.
In men, a continuous feeling of sexual pleasure is felt in the penis and the loins. The greatest quantity of semen is produced in each ejection. The first and the second convulsion are the most sensational during which semen is produced. In women, a continuous feeling of sexual pleasure is felt in the vagina and lower abdomen.
The orgasmic phase lasts for a short amount of time, usually a few seconds, and is known for the pleasureful and shortest of all the four phases.
Given below are the ways in which our body reacts to our emotions:
- Muscles begin to contract involuntarily
- The blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing pattern are at their highest rates and rapid inhalation takes place. All this is common for both parties.
- Muscle spasm is felt intensely especially in the feet.
- The sexual tension going on is released suddenly and forcefully.
- Rhythmic contractions can be felt in the uterus as the muscles of the vagina contract.
- In men, the muscles at the base of the penis go through rhythmic contractions that result in immense ejaculation of the semen.
- The body of both parties might turn red and take the appearance of “sex flush”.
- The resolution phase
This marks the end of the orgasmic phase as the body slowly returns to the normal level of functioning. The parts of the bodies that had experienced erection and swelling, now come back to natural color and size.
They are chances of feeling fatigued at this phase because of the tiredness caused to the muscles. Some women have the capability to return to the orgasmic phase when they face multiple orgasms too.
Men usually go through a refractory phase, which is their recovery period. This inhibits them to return to the orgasmic phase quickly.