The Female Sexual Response Cycle
The Four Stages of the Female Sexual Response Cycle
Though each woman is unique in her sexuality, health experts define four unique stages of the female sexual response cycle that occur due to excitement from a stimulus: excitement, plateau, orgasm/climax and resolution, which are true for every woman.
Stage One: Excitement
The excitement stage is typically associated with foreplay. Its duration is highly variable from minutes to hours. There is a strong correlation between increased amounts of foreplay and climax generation. Factors of excitement are completely individualized. What one woman likes another may hate and vice versa. This stage is associated with several factors including:
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and breathing rates
- Heightened levels of sensitivity
- Increased blood flow to the genitalia
- Swelling of the clitoris
- Natural vaginal lubrication
- Slight size and shape changes to the labia
- Slight breast enlargement and hardening of the nipples
Stage 2: Plateau
The plateau stage is reached only after the excitement stage. The plateau stage is basically preparing the body for climax. It is not always possible for all women to reach climax on a regular basis. There are many factors that contribute to the reaching of an orgasm. The plateau stage is associated with several factors including:
- Continual increase in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing rates
- Continual swelling of clitoris and labia minora
- Vaginal opening contractions
- Clitoris withdrawal into clitoral hood
- Increased clitoral sensitivity
- Shortening of external clitoris
- Darkening color of vagina
- Muscle spasms
Stage 3: Orgasm/Climax
The orgasm stage is typically the shortest, measured in seconds. Not all women will reach this stage on a consistent basis. This stage is associated with several factors including:
- Pelvic muscle contraction near vagina
- Uterus contraction
- Red/flushed skin
- Anal sphincter contraction
- Heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and breathing rates reach maximum peaks.
- General contractions in the vaginal area create high levels of pleasure. These contractions occur at varying amounts and rates of speed.
Stage 4: Resolution
The stage of resolution is the fourth and final stage of the female response cycle. It is typically associated with several factors including:
- Heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and breathing rates decrease.
- Vagina and genitalia return to normal size
- Vagina and genitalia return to normal color
- The clitoris and nipple soften
- Feelings of relaxation are generally noted
The Stages and Your Sexual Health
All four stages of the female sexual response cycle are not always achieved. Good sex is not defined as completion of all four stages. Good sex is an individually based definition. Sex is an inherently personal entity that changes based on individual factors and preferences. Maintenance of your sexual health is important both physically and mentally. You are responsible for this maintenance. If you are not happy with your sex life, do something about it. Take the initiative and educate yourself, you do not have to live with an unhealthy sex life.