Sexual arousal

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Sexual arousal is the process and state of being ready for sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. Unlike most other creatures, humans have no mating season and are capable of sexual arousal at any time. Things that precipitate people's sexual arousal are commonly known as turn-ons. Given the right stimulation, sexual arousal will typically end in an orgasm, but may be pleasurable for its own sake, even in the absence of an orgasm.


Causes of sexual arousal

The causes are varied and not always consistent in any one person. Arousal may physical or mental. Typical causes include:

Signs of possible sexual arousal

Sexual arousal in both genders

  • Increase in breathing rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Increase in muscle tone (myotonia)
  • Increase in heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Vasocongestion of the skin ("sex flush")
  • Slight or extreme dilation of the pupils (though especially so with females)
  • Erection of the nipples (especially upon direct stimulation)

Female sexual arousal

  • Increase in breast size
  • Lubrication of the vagina
  • Vasocongestion of the vaginal walls
  • Clitoral tumescence and erection
  • More visible venous patterns across the breasts
  • Elevation of the uterus and stretching of the vagina
  • Change in shape, and increase in size of, the labia majora and labia minora

Male sexual arousal

  • Penile tumescence and erection
  • Emission of pre-ejaculatory fluid
  • Ascension and swelling of the testicles
  • Tensing and thickening of the scrotum

Sexual response cycle

During the 1950s and 1960s, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson conducted many important studies within the field of human sexuality. In 1966, the two released a book, Human Sexual Response, detailing four stages of physiological changes in humans during sexual stimulation. These phases, in order of their occurrence, are excitement, plateau, orgasmic, and resolution.

See Human sexual response cycle in Wikipedia

Other causes of arousal

Almost anything may cause sexual arousal in some people. For example:

  • Melolagnia is sexual arousal from listening to and/or playing music.

See also

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