THE SEXUAL RESPONSE CYCLE AND SEXUAL DYSFUNCTIONS
The Sexual Response Cycle and Sexual Dysfunctions
The first stage of the sexual response cycle is the excitement phase. During this stage, a
man’s testes will start to rise. Then his scrotum will tense and the skin will thicken. For women,
the inner two-thirds of the vagina expand, while the walls thicken. Even though these are
separate experiences, men and women share a few commonalities during the excitement stage.
First, vasocongestion (gathering of blood) occurs to the penis, clitoris, and earlobes (Nevid &
Rathus, 2005). Next, their heart rate and blood pressure will rise. Finally, their nipples become
erect and they will experience muscle tension.
The second stage is the plateau phase. Both men and women will continue to experience
increased heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and vasocongestion. During the plateau
stage, men will experience pre-ejaculation, droplets of semen released from the penile opening,
their testes will completely rise, and the top of the penis changes to a deep reddish-purple color
(Nevid & Rathus, 2005). For women, the inner two-thirds of the vagina are fully expanded,
while the outer one-third thickens. Then the clitoris retracts into the prepuce. Finally, the uterus
grows in size and rises (Nevid & Rathus, 2005).
The third stage is the orgasmic phase of the sexual response cycle. It is during this phase
when men and women experience intense pleasure with the release of sexual tension. At the
same time they experience muscle spasms (these produce orgasms), and the peak height of their
blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). For women, the muscles
around the vagina will contract. According to Jeffery Nevid and Spencer Rathus (2005), men