One way of understanding the cycle of a man's sexual responsivity is to look at the individual steps that make it possible for him to have sex. The six critical stages are: libido,erection,plateau,ejaculation and orgasm,detumescence, and refractory period. Proper sequencing and integration of these phases is critical.
It is tempting to think of sexual intercourse as a seamless process flowing effortlessly from arousal to erection to ejaculation. This level of understanding suffices only for those men fortunate enough never to have experienced sexual problems. In this chapter, you will find a discussion of the individual components that make it possible for a man to want to have sex and then see how he can render that desire into a complete and pleasurable experience for him and his partner.
|•||Libido describes the intensity of sexual desire or drive.|
|•||Erection refers to the transition of the penis from a limp to an erect state. Increased blood flow into specialized chambers in the penis is necessary for this transition to occur. Nerve signals that originate in the spinal cord are responsible for activating increased blood flow.|
|•||The plateau phase occurs at the peak of sexual excitement and is associated with increases in pulse, blood pressure, and respiration rate.|
|•||Ejaculation, the pulsatile release of semen, is entirely under neurologic control. Orgasm is the pleasurable feeling and sense of relaxation following ejaculation.|
|•||Detumescence is the loss of erection after ejaculation.|
|•||During the refractory period, men are unable to acquire another erection.|