Sexual response

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I. Sexual Response Cycle

  • Describe the sexual response cycle as developed by Masters and Johnson and refined by Helen Singer Kaplan
  • Compare and contrast the gender differences in the sexual response cycle
  • Understand the variety of sources of input and potential for modification of that input depending on the emotional state of the individual

III. Sexual Response and Disfunction in Women

  • Contrast level of understanding regarding the physiology of sexual response between to two sexes.
  • Understand what vaginal blood volume is and how it applies to female sexual response and how it is measured
  • Have a rudimentary understanding of the cognitive-physiological model of sexual arousal
  • Outline current treatments for female sexual dysfunction


Masters and Johnson are an interesting couple who challenged previous societal assumptions about sex in their development of a model of sexual response cycle containing four stages. The Masters and Johnson model is generally understood to be a starting point, and has been modified with all sorts of wild and wonderful stuff to reflect contemporary thinking about sexual arousal and fulfilment.

Gender differences

There is a large difference in how much is understood about male and female sexual response. Some have stipulated that male functional sexual anatomy is to female functional sexual anatomy as a single ON-OFF switch is to the controls of the Starship Enterprise. As a result, some contend that female sexual dysfunction is impossible to understand, since normal female sexual function is not understood.