The female sexual response is the series of feelings and physical
sensations a woman has when she is sexually aroused. Every woman has her own
sexual response pattern, which is likely to change over her lifetime.
Emotionally, the healthy sexual response includes feelings of
desire, arousal or excitement, and then satisfaction. Many women do not feel desire until they are stimulated enough to become aroused.
Physically, a sexually aroused woman feels:
Excitement and plateau. The genital area feels
"full" as blood fills the blood vessels in the pelvis, vulva, and clitoris. The
vagina and vaginal lips (labia) become wet with clear fluid. Muscles begin to
tighten up throughout the body, and breathing quickens. This
Climax. Stimulation of the clitoris (and sometimes other
sensitive areas) leads to a peak of muscle tension. When this is suddenly
released (orgasm), pleasurable muscle contractions in the pelvis
Resolution. The body relaxes.
For a woman who has suffered abuse, it is common for the sexual
response to be mixed with, or blocked by, fear, shame, anxiety, anger, or
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.