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Sexual Response Ch 9.docx

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Psychology 2075
Corey Isaacs

Sexual Response 1/28/2013 11:50:00 AM Chapter 9 The Sexual Response Cycle  William Masters and Virginia Johnson provided one of the first models of the physiology of human sex response  The two basic physiological processes that occur during the stages of sexual response: o Vasocongestion – an accumulation of blood in blood vessels of a region of the body, especially the genitals, resulting in swelling or erection o Myotonia – muscle contraction in the genitals and body  Sexual response typically progresses in three stages: o Excitement – the beginning of erotic arousal and the occurrence of vasocongestion:  Men:  Erection – when the corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum fill with blood, arteries dilate allowing a strong flow of blood in, while veins carrying blood away contract restricting blood from leaving  May be produced by direct physical stimulation of the genitals, other parts of the body or erotic thoughts  Occurs rapidly, especially in young men but can also occur slowly as a result of factors including age, alcohol intake and fatigue  As the man gets closer to orgasm, a few drops of fluid drip from the tip of the penis from the Cowper’s gland, although they are not ejaculate, they may contain active sperm  The scrotal sac tenses, and is pulled up closer to the body  Women:  During excitement, the capillaries in the walls of the vagina dilate and blood flow through them increases  Vaginal lubricant results when fluids seep through the semipermeable membranes of the vaginal walls producing lubrication  This response is rapid, but not as fast as the male’s, begins 10-30 seconds after stimulation  Orgasmic platform – a tightening of the entrance to the vagina caused by contractions of the bulbospongiosus muscle, it forms as the woman becomes more aroused and gets closer to orgasm  Glans of the clitoris swell resulting from engorgement of the corpora cavernosa, similar to the male, clitoris becomes larger and harder  The relaxation of the smooth muscles surrounding the arteries supplying the glans and crura of the clitoris and the vestibular bulbs allowing a great deal of blood flow to the region  Nitric oxide is a key neurotransmitter involved  Nipples become erect and breasts can swell  There is a ballooning response inside the vagina to help accommodate penetration, the cervix and uterus also pull up o Orgasm – consists of a series of rhythmic contractions of the pelvic organs at 0.8 second intervals  Male orgasm occurs in two stages:  Preliminary – the vas, seminal vesicles and prostate contract forcing the ejaculate into a bulb at the base of the urethra (ejaculatory inevitability or “cumming”)  Ejaculation can’t be stopped once a man has reached this point  Secondary – the urethral bulb, muscles at the base of the penis and urethra contract rhythmically forcing semen through the urethra  Females:  Contractions of the orgasmic platform, uterus and possibly the muscles around the anus  Typically leaves no tangible evidence, except for women who experience emission of fluids  Women may not reach orgasm as quickly as men  Young women who have never had an orgasm often mistake intense arousal as orgasm  Women feel a spreading sensation the begins around the clitoris and spreads outward to the whole pelvis, can feel like falling or opening up  Clitoral orgasms – Freud’s term for orgasms resulting from stimulation of the clitoris  Vaginal orgasms – resulting from stimulation of the vagina in heterosexual intercourse, Freud considered it to be more mature than clitoral  Freud: o Said clitoral were immature (teenage) and vaginal were mature o Vaginally frigid – what women who could only have orgasms through clitoral stimulation, when Freud made this distinction many women underwent psychoanalysis to find out why they couldn’t experience vaginal orgasms  Masters and Johnson: o There is no difference between the two, both are physiologically the same  In both males and females there are sharp increases in pulse rate, blood pressure and breathing rate during orgasm  Carpopedal spasms – the contraction of the muscles of the body o Resolution – the body returns to the unaroused state  Orgasm triggers a massive release of muscular tension and of blood from the engorged blood vessels  This phase tends to take 10-15 minutes but may take longer for women who have not had an orgasm  Women – breasts, clitoris and orgasmic platform shrink to their original size  Women have no refractory period making multiple orgasms possible  They may have 5-20 orgasms from masturbation  Men – detumescence (the loss of erection), first the corpora cavernosa empties, then the corpus spongiosum and the glans  Refractory period – during which men are refractory to further arousal, length of time varies Other Models  A criticism of Masters and Johnson is that their model ignores the cognitive and subjective aspects of sexual arousal o They only focused on the physiological aspects, ignoring what the person is thinking and feeling  Another criticism concerns how the research participants were chosen and how this process may have created a self-fulfilling prophecy for the outcome o Participants were required to have a history of orgasms through intercourse and masturbation – anyone who’s sexual activity did not include orgasm was not included so the model can’t be generalized to the entire population Kaplan’s Triphasic Model  Helen Singer Kaplan  Rather than thinking of the sexual response as having successive stages, she conceptualized it as having three different stages: o Sexual desire o Vasocongestion o Muscular contractions  Includes both psychological and physiological aspects  Justifications: o The two physiological components are controlled by different parts of the nervous system  Vasocongestion is controlled by the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system  Ejaculation and orgasm are controlled by the sympathetic division o Two components involve different anatomical structures – blood vessels for vasocongestion and muscles for the contractions of orgasms o Vasocongestion and orgasms differ in their susceptibility to being disturbed by injury, drugs or age  The refractory period following orgasm in the male lengthens with age  There is a decrease of orgasm frequency with age  Capacity for erection does not decrease with age o The reflex of ejaculation in the male can be brought under voluntary control of most men but the erection reflex can’t o The impairment of the vasocongestion The Intimacy Model  Rosemary Basson’s model doesn’t make the assumption that desire comes before arousal, like Kaplan’s model  Some people in long term relationships may not be motivated to engage in sexual activity by their experience of spontaneous sexual desire o They are motivated in order to enhance intimacy, closeness and commitment o They begin sexual activity in a sexually neutral state, but a receptive to sexual stimuli that will arouse them o Once activity has begun, the person will become aroused o Thus some people may begin sexual activity for intimacy reasons but continue for sexual and intimacy The Dual Control Model  A model that holds that sexual response is controlled both by sexual excitation and inhibition  Most people fall in the moderate range between sexual excitation and inhibition, at the extremes is where problems occur o People who are high on the excitation component may engage in high risk sexual behaviour while people high on the sexual inhibition component may develop sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction or low sexual desire  Although these components have biological bases, early learning and culture are critical factors for both men and women  Sexual inhibition is still necessary for evolution: o For when sexual activity could be life threatening o Conditions may not be conducive for reproduction (e.g. during famines or droughts, infants are less likely to survive without proper food and nutrition) o Excessive sexual behaviour in men reduces fertility Emotion and Arousal  Recognizes the importance of emotion in sexual arousal  Researchers recruited 81 mixed-sex and 106 same sex couples o Couples logged onto a website to fill in a daily diary for 14 days o The questionnaire contained questions about emotions as well as sexual behaviours o Members of the couples filled it out separately o Results indicated that positive AND negative emotions showed a strong positive association with sexual arousal Hormonal and Neural Bases of Sexual Behaviour The Brain, Spinal Cord and Sex  Spinal reflexes o A reflex has three basic components:  Receptor – sensory neurons that detect stimuli and transmit the message to the spinal cord or brain  Transmitters – centers in the spinal cord or brain that receive the message, interpret it and send out an appropriate message  Effectors – neurons or muscles that respond to the stimulation  Mechanism of erection o Tactile stimulation – stroking or rubbing of the
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