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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Female Sexual Response

The beginnings of sexual arousal in a woman's body is usually marked by vaginal lubrication, engorgement of the external genitals, and internal enlargement of the vagina. Further stimulation can lead to more 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. 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.

Mental and physical stimuli such as touch, and the internal fluctuation of hormones, can influence sexual arousal. Cognitive factors like sexual motivation, perceived gender role expectations, and sexual attitudes play important roles in women’s self-reported levels of sexual arousal. Basson suggests that women’s need for intimacy prompts them to engage with sexual stimuli, leading to an experience of sexual desire and psychological sexual arousal.

Goldey and van Anders showed that sexual cognitions impact hormone levels in women. For instance, sexual thoughts result in a rapid increase in testosterone in women who were not using hormonal contraception. Inconsistent study results indicate that, although testosterone is involed in libido and sexuality of some women, its effects can be obscured by the co-existence of psychological or affective factors in others.

Other bodily changes include an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as flushing across the chest and upper body. If sexual stimulation continues, then sexual arousal may peak into orgasm, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure. Experienced by males and females, orgasms are controlled by the involuntary or autonomic nervous system.

As women age, their estrogen levels decrease. 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.

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