How do I know if I'm horny
Is Your Arousal Up for Debate?
Your Questions …
What if my Sexual Response Cycle is different from the model?
Is the female Sexual Response Cycle different from the male version?
What if I don’t regularly have an orgasm, where do I fit in?
Welcome back, sexy friends! We’re onto Part 2: Sexual Response Cycle to look at an alternative to the famous Masters and Johnson model from 1966.
A big issue with the classic model is that the majority of female-bodied individuals rarely, if ever, experience an orgasm from penetrative sex. Does this mean that they now have a disorder? Does this mean they need psychological help? What if a woman doesn’t experience desire before engaging in sexual activities?
What about for men? Is this all that there is?
Fear not, our sexy friends! We have some answers for you 😉.
While Masters and Johnson are credited with a huge portion of research in sexology, it doesn’t make their assertions and research accurate. Sexology is essentially the study of human sexual life and the relationships that develop from sexual activity.
As Rosemary Basson wrote in The Female Sexual Response: A Different Model “Masters and Johnson studied those women who were not only willing to be observed in a laboratory setting, but who were orgasmic with intercourse.” (Basson, 2000)
What does that mean exactly? 🤔
They were very picky with who they chose to observe.
Therefore, all their results were biased based on their patient selection. Which gave them biased and not fully informed results.
Generally speaking, male-bodied people are much easier to study from a sexological perspective, therefore the conversation around sex is generally lacking in research on females.
Basson, who added to the now popular alternative model, suggests that there are several, more defined phases missing.
In the field of sexology, one must consider both active and reactive sexuality. Active sexuality being the “I want” and inner drive of a person to seek out a sexual encounter. On the other side is reactive sexuality or when someone says “yes” when sexual activity is suggested.
Helen Kaplan originally mentioned that in the case of many female-bodied people, arousal came before desire. When a partner engaged them in sexual activity, they developed desire afterward, not before. Therefore, she proposed some changes to the current model and the possibility that people can skip varying portions of the SRC.
Dr. Patti Britton, a preeminent sexologist known around the world, has offered a different model, that includes some of the same features as Masters and Johnson as well as developments suggested by Kaplan, with several notable differences.
First of all, it is no longer a linear equation, but a circular model. This means that each phase feeds into the next and it can be started at any point. Also, it is crucial to understand that phases aren’t always in this succession, this model understands that varying sexual responses are normal.
As you can see, there are a few new terms we need to discuss. Excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution have already been discussed in part 1 of this series.
- Desire: This is the drive to engage in a sexual act, wanting to experience pleasure 🙋♂️ 🙋♀️.
- Vague Stirring: This is something we’re all familiar with and is always referred to as awakening. Think of it as when you see someone attractive and you start dreaming about what you’d like to do with or to them. This is a precursor to the erotic. It is often much more noticeable in male-bodied people due to their physical response 😏 😏.
- What’s next: This incorporates people who experience multiple orgasmic episodes, or those who are ready for more sexual activity after their initial encounter 💪 💥
Something that isn’t shown in the chart is the ideal that you can skip over certain aspects of this model.
For example, many women get held back at the edge of the plateau phase and have difficulty reaching that “orgasmic peak.” This tells us that moving past or skipping part of the SRC is normal. We just go onto the next phase, which feeds into the next one and the cycle begins again.
While this circular model is much more inclusive and understanding of unique sexual responses, generally, the Masters and Johnson model is still accepted for male-bodied people. With the addition of vague stirring, desire, and what’s next. Men tend to have a more linear (or straight forward) experience from vague stirring to refraction.
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree with the alternative model?
Do you think there should be more phases added to the SRC model?
How does this model of sexual response make you feel?
We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it on social media, just don’t forget to tag us @myamorashop
Get out there, get in there and get off there!
Elaine S. Turner
Sex Coach, Clinical Sexologist & Sexuality Educator
Basson, R. (2000). The Female Sexual Response: A Different Model. Journal of Sex & Martial Therapy, 26(1), 51-65. doi:10.1080/009262300278641
Basson, R. (2002). Rethinking low sexual desire in women. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 109(4), 357-363. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01002.x
Britton, P. O. (2005). The art of sex coaching: Expanding your practice. New York, NY: Norton.
Leiblum, S. R., PhD. (2000, November 1). CME: Redefining female sexual response. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/view/cme-redefining-female-sexual-response
Masters, W. H., & Johnson, V. E. (1966). Human Sexual Response Cycle. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders. (1994). In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV (4th ed., pp. 493-494). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Sexual Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/sg/introduction-to-psychology/sexual-behavior/
The Sexual Response Cycle: A Historical Perspective On The Classification Of Sexual Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.mentalhelp.net/sexual-disorders/historical-perspective/