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Encyclopedia > Sexual pleasure

Sexual arousal is the process and state of an animal being ready for sexual intercourse.


Human sexual arousal

Unlike most other animals, human beings of both sexes are potentially capable of sexual arousal throughout the year, and there is therefore no human mating season. Things that precipitate human sexual arousal are commonly known as turn-ons. Given the right stimulation, sexual arousal in humans will typically end in an orgasm, but may be pleasurable for its own sake, even in the absence of an orgasm.

Causes of human sexual arousal

Signs of possible human sexual arousal

Human 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.

Homophobia and sexual arousal

Psychoanalytic theory has long held that homophobia is the result of repressed homosexual desires. A study showed that more homophobic heterosexual men (80%) showed signs of arousal from being shown images of homosexual sex than non-homophobic heterosexual men (34%) [1] (http://www.apa.org/releases/homophob.html). The two groups were, however, aroused to the same degree by heterosexual imagery and lesbian imagery. The authors noted as a competing explanation that anxiety also produces arousal and might be responsible for the difference, so further research should test the two competing explanations.

Genital procedures and sexual arousal

Scientific data shows that male circumcision causes neurological changes in the human brain, which is suggested to lower sexual excitability (Mackey, 1997). [2] (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9446966&dopt=Abstract) Another study suggested that arousal of a man's female partner is also impacted. [3] (http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/116-1181/595/)

Sexual arousal in other animals

It is not completely understood how other animals relate sexually, but current research studies suggest that animals, like humans, enjoy sexual relations. This is especially noted in dogs, dolphins, and bonobos.

Related topics

  Results from FactBites:
Jamaica Gleaner - Orgasms Ultimate sexual pleasure - Sunday | September 23, 2001 (1085 words)
THE SEXUAL response cycle is not without a phase that produces a series of waves and then cause the body to erupt like a volcano.
We are talking about the orgasm which is like the icing on the cake in sexual pleasure, resulting after the sexual excitement phase has taken place.
High-level orgasms are stronger and are made up of a sequence of pleasures erupting from the uterus/pelvis area and pounding the heart and the brain.
GIVE & TAKE: Sex and the politics of pleasure - NI 158 - Power and pleasure (1610 words)
This is why he does not allow his sexuality to develop fully and why he likes to think of woman as such a sexual creature - an Eve, a Pandora, with the capacity to experience fabulous orgasms (supposedly nine or ten times as intense as his own).
Rape is the 'pleasure' of violence, but it is also a means for man to use a woman without having to give her anything in return, as he does in marriage or with a prostitute.
He is missing the rich sexuality that lies in the meeting of two persons, in the merging of two pleasures: a relationship where one's pleasure is reinforced by the feeling of the other's pleasure.
  More results at FactBites »



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