• Sexual response cycle – four stage cycle experienced during sexual arousal
    • Excitement phase – arousal builds rapidly
    • Plateau phase – respiration, heart rate, vasocongestion, and muscle tension continue to build until there is enough muscle tension to trigger orgasm
    • Orgasm phase – males: rhythmic contractions of internal organs and muscle tissue surrounding the urethra project semen, females: rhythmic contractions of the outer third vagina, surrounding muscles, and uterus
    • Resolution phase – physiological arousal decreases rapidly and the genital organs and tissue return to normal condition
    • Refractory period (male only) – period where orgasm is temporarily incapable of occurring
  • Hypothalamus control pituitary gland, which regulates secretion of hormones called gonadtrophins into bloodstream
    • Affect rate at which gonads secrete androgens (testosterone) and estrogens (estradiol)
    • Hormones have organizational effects that direct the development of male and female sex characteristics
    • Hormones have activational effects that stimulate sexual desire and behaviour
  • The Psychology of Sex
    • Half of men and fifth of women fantasize about sex at least once a day
      • More sexually active people tend to fantasize more
    • Psychological factors can trigger and inhibit sexual arousal
      • Sexual dysfunction – chronic, impaired sexual functioning that distresses a person
  • Cultural and Environmental Influences
    • Two psychological viewpoints are relevant to predicting pornography’s effects
      • Social learning theory – people learn through observation
        • Rape myths modeled in porn movies can teach people that it is acceptable
      • Catharsis principle – as inborn aggressive and sexual impulses build up, actions that release this tension provide a catharsis that temporarily returns to a more balanced state
        • Viewing porn should provide a safe outlet for releasing tension
  • Sexual Orientation
    • Refers to one’s emotional and erotic preference for partners of a particular sex
    • Modern researchers propose that sexual orientation has three dimensions: self-identity, sexual attraction, and actual sexual behaviour
    • Researchers found one notable pattern among studies of homosexual and heterosexual
      • Even in childhood, homosexuals felt they were different from their same-sex peers, and were more likely to engage in non-gender-conforming activity

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