How to Respond When Your Teens Experience the Sexual Response Cycle


Because certain physical changes occur during sexual excitement, young people can easily jump to the conclusion that aspects of their development are abnormal, and caused by their exploratory activities. Many are terrified that an outsider will be able to look at them and, from some tell-tale signs, know what they have been doing. Sexual excitement does have some quite astonishing effects on the body. Most young people are quite unprepared and can be alarmed when they first experience the series of changes we call the Sexual Response Cycle. In spite of the fact that most teenagers now learn about reproduction in school, very few are told how the human body feels and reacts as it goes through the act that results in reproduction. Many adults, too, are in the dark on this subject, and a high proportion of sexual and marital problems can be blamed on a lack of understanding of sexual response. If you, as parents, are fully informed, you can pass on these facts to your young people. Since the cycle of response is the same whether you are masturbating on your own, masturbating with a partner or having full sexual intercourse, an understanding of what happens is as relevant to the young, solo teenager as it is to the partnered adult.

Sexual Response Cycle

Researchers have shown that the Sexual Response Cycle has four distinct stages experienced equally by both sexes. These phases are called Excitement, Plateau, Orgasmic and Resolution. The first response to excitement in the male is a rush of blood to the penis, making it stiffen and stand away from the body. The scrotal sac will tighten, and the testes will pull upwards. In some men, nipples will also fill with blood and become stiff and hard. Women at this Excitement stage will find the darkened area around their nipples enlarging, and the nipples themselves becoming sensitive and firm. The labia minora – the inner lips at either side of the vagina – will flush a darker color; the vagina become moist and the clitoris engorge and increase in size.

Excitement can last from a few minutes to a few hours, and can be triggered and continued by thoughts or dreams as well as by touch. Contrary to popular opinion, women are no slower to excite than men. Excitement, however, can start long before actual love play has begun, so if it is the man who has initiated the encounter, he may well be far into the Excitement phase before his partner even has a chance to begin. If he then concentrate on his own pleasure, and she has no opportunity to show him which caresses she prefers, she may well be left stranded halfway through the cycle when he has already finished.

In the next, Plateau, phase, both sexes will find their bodies flushing a mottled pink or red, especially on the face, neck, chest, stomach, shoulders and arms. Both will find their hearts racing and their breathing becoming heavier. The male finds his penis enlarging still further, with the glands or tip flushing a deep red , while his testes may have increased in size by as much as 5 per cent. A few drops of fluid that could contain sperm will ooze out of the penis. The female finds her labia altered in size and ape, either flattening against her body or thickening anc ging down or becoming an even deeper red or purple color. Her breasts will increase by as much as a quarter in size. She may find her vagina moist to the point of wetness.

On Orgasm, both will spasm, as he ejaculates and she has a series of rhythmic vaginal contractions. Over the next half an hour or so, Resolution will occur, when everything will return to its resting size and color – unless, that is, the four stages have been interrupted. A person aroused but not satisfied may find the tumescent or erect areas take as long as several subside and could be sore and congested. They may feel tense and unhappy. Courting teens are particularly prone to experiencing this, as they excite each other but refrain from going ‘all the way’. Boys can often be terrified that their aching scrotums are the result of their having broken something inside themselves.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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