Cycle of sexual reactions

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 20.11.2021

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The human sexual function is the result of a complex interaction of the autonomic nervous system that regulates the vital functions of the organism without conscious control, the vascular system responsible for the blood supply of the genital organs, and the endocrine system that controls the secretion of hormones and their release. These systems operate in close relationship with thinking and emotions.

Researchers of sexuality problems have established that the cycle of sexual reactions can be divided into four phases.

Attraction. To sexual arousal can lead to both verbal or physical stimulation, and the corresponding reflections. Sexual fantasies can equally induce excitement and awaken desire, activating sexual mechanisms.

Excitation. This is the stage of sexual tension (excitement) and erotic delight. With appropriate stimulation, parasympathetic nerves cause a significant flow of blood to the genital area. Men have an erection (an increase in the penis). Women vagina and clitoris swell, the vagina becomes wet and slippery. Heart palpitation is increasing. When the stimulation continues, voluptuous tension sets in.

Orgasm. The voluptuous sensations in this phase culminate. In men, ejaculation occurs. Orgasm in women manifests itself in the reflex rhythmic contraction of the muscles surrounding the vagina.

Relaxation. The sex organs return to their previous state, the frequency of heartbeats and respiration normalizes.

While a woman is capable of quickly repeating the cycle described above, in men for a certain time (from minutes to hours) the repeated onset of an erection is impossible. This period, called refractory time, increases with age. In young men this refractory time is often only a few seconds, after 30 years it extends to half an hour, at the age of 50 the refractory period lasts from 8 to 24 hours on average. On the other hand, with increasing age, the time of orgasm in men is significantly longer.

Organic or functional factors can cause disorders in the normal cycle of sexual reactions and sexual activity. If such disorders occur, you can talk about sexual dysfunction.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4]

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