Sexual Dysfunction: Gender and Sex Differences

Since the mid-1900s, sexual dysfunction in both women and men has been defined in relation to the human sexual response cycle model. This model of physical response to sexual stimulation includes four stages: (1) excitement, (2) plateau, (3) orgasm, and (4) resolution. The excitement stage is understood to occur as a result of either physical or mental sexual stimuli. Under normal circumstances, this initial excitement is followed by the plateau stage, which entails physical stimulation and increasing signs of pleasure and arousal. In turn, the plateau phase culminates in orgasm, which involves muscular contractions in the pelvic region accompanied by a peak of pleasurable sensation, whereas the resolution stage entails a postorgasmic return to physical baseline as arousal decreases.

The terms gender and sex are often ...

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