Stages of Sexual Response Cycle and role of female orgasm
In our infertility practice, We see many couple who are not fully aware of the basics of sexual intercourse , as this subject is a total taboo in our country. Proper intercourse at regular intervals is the basic requirement of reproduction and it also plays a key role in the emotional well being of a couple . Nature has created an enjoyable experience, so that, two different individuals from different backgrounds with different personalities and orientation can live together and reproduce. The lack of proper sexual relation between the spouses can not only lead to infertility problems but also build strain in the marriage and even result in separations .
Role of female orgasm in fertility
Orgasm in females, which is equivalent to ejaculation in men , does exist. But only 25% of women experience it regularly may be due to lack of effort taken .
Many are unaware that the stimulation of clitoris ( small button like structure inside labia, just above urethra) produces orgasm in women , and not vaginal penetration. Female - Clitoris is equivalent to penis in men.
Orgasm is important for conception , because, during that phase the uterus and tubes contract in rhythmic pattern , producing negative pressure in tubes , by which the eggs gets pulled inside the tubes , because of the vacuum formed . The eggs are released by ovary , which is located outside the uterus ( womb). The fertilisation happens in tubes and the eggs don't move like sperm . So the only way for them to reach the tube is the tubal contraction .
According to another theory, contractions of the uterus and other genito-pelvic organs involved during the female orgasm create gradient pressure , which assists in transporting sperm into the uterus. Orgasm may play a more indirect role, as the pleasure women experience when they reach orgasm will urge them to have sex more frequently, thereby increasing their chances of pregnancy.
To understand this fully , we need to know the different stages of intercourse .
Unfortunately there is a time difference between female and male orgasm , as it takes only 3 to 10 minutes of stimulation in men , but it can take upto 20 to 50 mts in women, to reach climax .
Many of the young couple have regular intercourse with a frequency of 2 to 3 times per week , but there can be wide variations .
Sexual Response Cycle
The sexual response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Both men and women experience these phases, although the timing usually is different. So if the female partner takes long time to reach orgasm , the couple will have to spent more time on foreplay to stimulate the female partner , before the male partner is stimulated or penetration is attempted .
Phase 1: Excitement
This Phase which can last from a few minutes to several hours, produces increase in blood circulation, especially to reproductive organs , and can be the result of physical stimulation or mental stimulation.
Muscle tension increases and Blood flow to the genitals increases resulting in visible changes including erection in men and lubrication in women. There are changes in breast , vagina in size , and skin is flushed . Heart rate quickens and breathing is accelerated.
mechanism of erection :It is initiated by parasympathetic nervous system . Nerve branches from the sacral plexus release neurotransmitter acetylcholine , which causes endothelial cells of the arteries to release nitric oxide , dilating them and causing filling of penile muscles (corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum ) with blood, and erection is nothing but pooling of blood in the penis .
Phase 2: Plateau
The changes initiated in phase 1 are intensified. During this phase the heart rate , respiratory rate , muscle tone , and arterial blood pressure increase . The urethral sphincter is contracted to prevent mixing of urine with the semen as well as to prevent retrograde ejaculation , pre-ejaculatory secretion begin to secrete .
Phase 3: Orgasm
The orgasm is the climax of the sexual response cycle. It is the shortest of the phases and generally lasts only a few seconds. Orgasms are controlled by the involuntary or autonomic nervous system.
neuromuscular tension built up in the preceding stages is released in a few seconds. Involuntary muscle contractions begin. In the woman, the vagina and the uterus begins a series of regular contractions; in the man, the penis also contracts rhythmically to expel the sperm and semen (ejaculation). Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing are at their highest rates, with a rapid intake of oxygen. There is a sudden, forceful release of sexual tension.
Phase 4: Resolution
The period after orgasm is often a relaxing experience, due to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin, as well as endorphins . these are the feel good hormones released in the body .
During resolution, the body slowly returns to its normal level of functioning. This phase is marked by a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy due to effects of oxytocin, prolactin and endorphins. Men need recovery time after orgasm, called a refractory period, during which they cannot reach orgasm again.
Factors affecting female orgasm
Psychosocial factors may be key in determining when and if women will have orgasm.If the women feel relaxed and emotionally intimate at the time of intercourse it will help them to reach orgasm and satisfaction .
Woman’s ability to orgasm is associated with the perceived quality of her relationship and her satisfaction with her partner.
Psychological disorders such as depression and issues like self esteem and body image, decrease sexual response in women and it is less likely that women with these conditions will experience an orgasm.