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Sexual arousal - Wikipedia
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Attitudes towards life, death, childbirth, one's parents, friends, family, contemporary society, the human race in general, and particularly one's place in the world play a substantive role in determining how a person will respond in any given sexual situation. On the other hand, a person may be hypersexual , which is a desire to engage in sexual activities considered abnormally high in relation to normal development or culture, or suffering from a persistent genital arousal disorder , which is a spontaneous, persistent, and uncontrollable arousal, and the physiological changes associated with arousal.
Sexual arousal causes various physical responses, most significantly in the sex organs genital organs. Sexual arousal for a man is usually indicated by the swelling and erection of the penis when blood fills the corpus cavernosum. This is usually the most prominent and reliable sign of sexual arousal in males.
In a woman, sexual arousal leads to increased blood flow to the clitoris and vulva , as well as vaginal transudation - the seeping of moisture through the vaginal walls which serves as lubrication. It is normal to correlate the erection of the penis with male sexual arousal. Physical or psychological stimulation, or both, leads to vasodilation and the increased blood flow engorges the three spongy areas that run along the length of the penis the two corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum. The penis grows enlarged and firm, the skin of the scrotum is pulled tighter, and the testes are pulled up against the body.
After their mid-forties, some men report that they do not always have an erection when they are sexually aroused. Once erect, his penis may gain enough stimulation from contact with the inside of his clothing to maintain and encourage it for some time. As the testicles continue to rise, a feeling of warmth may develop around them and the perineum. With further sexual stimulation, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises and breathing becomes quicker. As sexual stimulation continues, orgasm begins, when the muscles of the pelvic floor , the vas deferens between the testicles and the prostate , the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland itself may begin to contract in a way that forces sperm and semen into the urethra inside the penis.
Once this has started, it is likely that the man will continue to ejaculate and orgasm fully, with or without further stimulation. Equally, if sexual stimulation stops before orgasm, the physical effects of the stimulation, including the vasocongestion , will subside in a short time. Repeated or prolonged stimulation without orgasm and ejaculation can lead to discomfort in the testes corresponding to the slang term " blue balls " . After orgasm and ejaculation, men usually experience a refractory period characterised by loss of erection, a subsidence in any sex flush, less interest in sex, and a feeling of relaxation that can be attributed to the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin.
It can be as long as a few hours or days in mid-life and older men. The beginnings of sexual arousal in a woman's body is usually marked by vaginal lubrication wetness; though this can occur without arousal due to infection or cervical mucus production around ovulation , swelling and engorgement of the external genitals , and internal enlargement of the vagina. Further stimulation can lead to further vaginal wetness and further engorgement and swelling of the clitoris and the labia , along with increased redness or darkening of the skin in these areas as blood flow increases.
Further changes to the internal organs also occur including to the internal shape of the vagina and to the position of the uterus within the pelvis. If sexual stimulation continues, then sexual arousal may peak into orgasm. After orgasm, some women do not want any further stimulation and the sexual arousal quickly dissipates. Suggestions have been published for continuing the sexual excitement and moving from one orgasm into further stimulation and maintaining or regaining a state of sexual arousal that can lead to second and subsequent orgasms.
While young women may become sexually aroused quite easily, and reach orgasm relatively quickly with the right stimulation in the right circumstances, there are physical and psychological changes to women's sexual arousal and responses as they age. Older women produce less vaginal lubrication and studies have investigated changes to degrees of satisfaction, frequency of sexual activity, to desire, sexual thoughts and fantasies , sexual arousal, beliefs about and attitudes to sex, pain, and the ability to reach orgasm in women in their 40s and after menopause.
Other factors have also been studied including socio-demographic variables, health, psychological variables, partner variables such as their partner's health or sexual problems, and lifestyle variables. It appears that these other factors often have a greater impact on women's sexual functioning than their menopausal status. It is therefore seen as important always to understand the "context of women's lives" when studying their sexuality.
Reduced estrogen levels may be associated with increased vaginal dryness and less clitoral erection when aroused, but are not directly related to other aspects of sexual interest or arousal. In older women, decreased pelvic muscle tone may mean that it takes longer for arousal to lead to orgasm, may diminish the intensity of orgasms, and then cause more rapid resolution. The uterus typically contracts during orgasm and, with advancing age, those contractions may actually become painful.
Psychological sexual arousal involves appraisal and evaluation of a stimulus, categorization of a stimulus as sexual, and an affective response. The relationship between sexual desire and arousal in men is complex, with a wide range of factors increasing or decreasing sexual arousal. The cognitive aspects of sexual arousal in men are not completely known, but it does involve the appraisal and evaluation of the stimulus, categorization of the stimulus as sexual, and an affective response.
Specifically, while watching heterosexual erotic videos , men are more influenced by the sex of the actors portrayed in the stimulus, and men may be more likely than women to objectify the actors. This suggests the amygdala plays a critical role in the processing of sexually arousing visual stimuli in men. Research suggests that cognitive factors like sexual motivation, perceived gender role expectations, and sexual attitudes play important roles in women's self-reported levels of sexual arousal.
Psychological sexual arousal also has an effect on physiological mechanisms; Goldey and van Anders  showed that sexual cognitions impact hormone levels in women, such that sexual thoughts result in a rapid increase in testosterone in women who were not using hormonal contraception. In terms of brain activation, researchers have suggested that amygdala responses are not solely determined by level of self-reported sexual arousal; Hamann and colleagues  found that women self-reported higher sexual arousal than men, but experienced lower levels of amygdala responses.
During the late s and early s, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson conducted many important studies into human sexuality. In , they published Human Sexual Response , detailing four stages of physiological changes in humans during sexual stimulation: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Barry Singer presented a model of the process of sexual arousal in , in which he conceptualized human sexual response to be composed of three independent but generally sequential components. The first stage, aesthetic response, is an emotional reaction to noticing an attractive face or figure.
This emotional reaction produces an increase in attention toward the object of attraction, typically involving head and eye movements toward the attractive object. The second stage, approach response, progresses from the first and involves bodily movements towards the object. The final genital response stage recognizes that with both attention and closer proximity, physical reactions result in genital tumescence.
Singer also stated that there is an array of other autonomic responses, but acknowledges that the research literature suggests that the genital response is the most reliable and convenient to measure in males. The cycle results in an enhanced feeling of intimacy. Basson emphasizes the idea that a lack of spontaneous desire should not be taken as an indication of female sexual dysfunction ; many women experience sexual arousal and responsive desire simultaneously when they are engaged in sexual activity.
Frederick Toates presented a model of sexual motivation, arousal, and behavior in that combines the principles of incentive-motivation theory and hierarchical control of behavior. The basic incentive-motivation model of sex suggests that incentive cues in the environment invade the nervous system, which results in sexual motivation. Positive sexual experiences enhance motivation, while negative experiences reduce it.
Motivation and behaviour are organized hierarchically ; each are controlled by a combination direct external stimuli and indirect internal cognitions factors. Excitation and inhibition of behavior act at various levels of this hierarchical structure. For instance, an external stimulus may directly excite sexual arousal and motivation below a conscious level of awareness, while an internal cognition can elicit the same effects indirectly, through the conscious representation of a sexual image.
In the case of inhibition, sexual behavior can be active or conscious e. Toates emphasizes the importance considering cognitive representations in addition to external stimuli; he suggests that mental representations of incentives are interchangeable with excitatory external stimuli for eliciting sexual arousal and motivation. This model created by John Bancroft and Erick Janssen at the Kinsey Institute explores the individual variability of sexual response.
They postulate that this variability depends on the interaction between an individual's sexual excitation system SES and sexual inhibition system SIS. These inhibition factors were interpreted as SIS1 inhibition due to the threat of performance failure and SIS2 inhibition due to the threat of performance consequences. A factor analysis of this questionnaire revealed only two factors: sexual excitation SE and sexual inhibition SI. One lower order factor in the SESII-W labeled Arousal Contingency was particularly relevant; this factor explains the easy disruption of sexual arousal.
Regardless of the difference in these two questionnaires, both surveys' scores show normal distribution verifying the hypothesis that there is a normal individual variation in sexual arousal and inhibition. On average, males score higher on sexual excitation and lower than females on both facets of sexual inhibition.
As of yet, the differences in scores between genders have not been explained beyond the theoretical level. The source of individual variability on the sexual excitation and inhibition systems is not known definitively.
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Even less is known about how these systems develop in individuals. Age of first masturbation has been used as a measure to assess sexual development. Age of masturbatory onset is much more variable in girls than boys, whose tend to be close to puberty. One twin-study has found evidence for the heritability of both factors of SIS, but research suggests that SES variability is down to environmental factors.
The majority of studies investigating sexual functioning use heterosexual participants exclusively, unfortunately limiting the generalizability of the dual control model. One way to study sexual arousal in women and men is to conduct sexual psychophysiological research in a laboratory setting. This field of research looks at physical sexual responses in addition to mental and emotional experiences of sexual arousal.
Various hypotheses and theories have been propounded in order to establish the biological bases for sexual arousal in humans. Ivan Tarkhanov showed, in experiments on cutting and artificial emptying of the seminal vesicles , that the latter played the crucial role in the generation of sexual excitement in frogs. Proceeding from these experimental results, Tarkhanov put forward a hypothesis that filling and evacuation of the seminal vesicles were the main biological cause which led to sexual arousal and its disappearance in mammals and humans.
No generalisation has yet appeared, however. Unambiguous experimental evidence for the existence of the Tarkhanov regularity in human sexual behaviour has never been obtained. If the level of this tension reaches threshold, sexual arousal occurs as the expression of necessity to let off steam. Gary F. Kelly Clarkson University describes this model as follows:. For centuries, the assumption was made that the longing for sexual interaction was innate, and an inner drive model was used to explain it.
It has been suggested that this model was much like a metaphor for a steam boiler. This view also assumed that there was some adverse physical consequence of not releasing the pressure. The "psychohydraulic model of sexuality" has been formulated most definitely in psychoanalysis :.
The instinct causes tensions within the central nervous system which spread out over the whole being; it is urgent and irresistible in nature and constantly repeats itself. See also rouse. More examples Something he said as he was leaving really aroused my curiosity. Football arouses a good deal of passion among its supporters.
The sight of people suffering arouses a deep sense of injustice in her. His strange behaviour aroused his neighbours ' suspicions. The programme aroused strong feelings , as you can see by the number of letters received.
Emotional Arousal and It’s Influence on How and What We Remember
Thesaurus: synonyms and related words Inspiring feelings in others amuse emotive enthuse fire freak heartstrings inflame inspire inspirer kindle messianic move moving movingly overwhelm stirring touching touchingly. Grammar Arouse or rouse? Rouse and arouse are both used in formal contexts.