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Arch Hellen Med, 28(4), July-August 2011, 460-465


Female sexual response models

Κ. Dimitropoulos,1 V. Tzortzis,1 A. Bargiota,2 M. Melekos1
1Department of Urology,
2Department of Endocrinology, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece

The recent development of the field of sexual medicine has necessitated the understanding of how women are motivated and function sexually. The term "sexual response cycle" refers to a model that depicts sexual function diagrammatically, according to steps proposed by various researchers. Following their early research, Masters and Johnson proposed a linear model consisting of four phases, namely, sexual excitement-arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Later, Kaplan modified that model and introduced the three-phase model of sexual response, with desire, arousal and orgasm. The models of Masters and Johnson and of Kaplan both received criticism by later researchers, who argued that their linear nature could not describe the complex female sexual function adequately and expressed their concerns about the issues of orgasm and sexual desire motives. Finally, Basson proposed a circular model of sexual response, introducing the innovative idea of non-sexual motives for sexual activity and revising the nature and role of desire in the cycle, which is now placed not at the beginning of the response cycle, but in the intermediate phases. According to Basson, the results of sexual activity, such as emotional closeness, strengthening of the marital relationship and the invigoration of self-confidence, motivate a woman to act sexually, while pure sexual desire comes up later, during the phase of stimulation-arousal, in the form of responsive desire. Understanding of the proposed sexual response models is necessary for those conducting research on women's sexual function and its disorders. In addition to the general evaluation of sexual problems, researchers need to ascertain how the individual woman behaves sexually, especially in view of later study results showing that the currently used assessment tools tend to reveal higher rates of sexual dysfunction in women when Basson's sexual response model is followed.

Key words: Basson, Female sexual response cycle, Female sexual response models, Johnson, Kaplan, Masters.

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