Men tell me that almost anything can turn them on—a simple brush of their partner’s hand across their penis, a flirtatious look or seeing their partner in the nude. What they don’t always realize is that sexual arousal works differently for women.
Sex researchers Masters and Johnson were the first to outline the four stages of sexual response in human beings: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Although men and women go through the same four stages, their respective journeys can vary in time and physicality.
The Stages of Male Sexual Arousal
If you’re a man, you can’t understand the female cycle of sexual arousal unless you first understand your own. You may think orgasm is simply a matter of getting aroused and getting off, but believe me, there’s a lot more to it than that!
- Excitement: The physical signs of male sexual arousal are easy to spot. Your testes begin to elevate, the skin around your scrotum becomes thicker, and your penis becomes increasingly erect. If you don’t proceed to Stage 2, your excitement will pass fairly quickly.
- Plateau: At this point, your testes are fully engorged and reach their highest point of elevation, your penis’s corona becomes engorged with blood, and seminal fluid (which aids in lubrication) begins to secrete through the tip of your penis. At this stage, the desire for sex becomes very strong; if you aren’t able to move to Stage 3, things can become painful.
- Orgasm: The fluids from different parts of your reproductive organs collect at the end of the urethra, creating a feeling of heaviness that men recognize as the signal of imminent orgasm, and then you experience the contractions you associate with climaxing. It’s possible to hold back from completing this stage so you can continue sexually stimulate your partner, but only for a short time.
- Resolution: During this stage, the penis goes back to non-erect size and all the blood in the testes returns to the rest of the body.
Men also have what is known as a refractory period, which means that for a certain time he will not be able to achieve another erection. That period of time varies from as little as two minutes to as long as two weeks. On average, as a man ages, his refractory period grows longer.
The Stages of Female Sexual Arousal
Now that you understand how your own body works during sex, it will be easier for you to spot the differences in your partner’s cycle of sexual arousal. Keep in mind that although some women go through these four stages very quickly, most require more time than men before they can move to the next stage.
- Excitement: Her nipples become erect, her vagina starts becoming lubricated, her clitoris begins to swell and grow larger, and the inner walls of her vagina begin to expand. Her breasts may even increase in size if she becomes highly aroused. As these are all physical cues, it’s important to pay attention to her body language, too. If she’s touching you or kissing you, she’s probably excited.
- Plateau: Her heartbeat speeds up, her breasts may increase noticeably in size, her vagina swells, her vaginal opening begins to narrow, her clitoris becomes more erect, and the color of her labia darken in color. Only near the end of this stage will her body be ready for vaginal intercourse. Not all women experience this stage of arousal, which is why it’s important to give her plenty of foreplay.
- Orgasm: Intense muscle contractions through the pelvic area will occur during the orgasm—a woman can have three to fifteen of these contractions depending on the strength of her climax. She may also experience muscle contractions in other parts of the body as well. Most women’s bodies become temporarily rigid at the highest point of their orgasm.
- Resolution: If a woman has achieved orgasm, she may be able to have multiple orgasms during the resolution stage. Otherwise, her body will return to normal, but at a slower rate than if she had climaxed. During resolution, her breasts and nipples can become very sensitive, so don’t touch them aggressively.
Now that you understand the physical stages of sexual arousal in women, you’ll be able to identify them in your lover, which will enable you to give her the foreplay and stimulation she needs to experience an incredible orgasm.
Courtesy by Gabrielle Moore - the author of hundreds of sex advice articles, books, courses and online programs. Some of Gabrielle’s most famous sex education programs are: