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Sexual arousal: similarities and differences between men and women

Graziottin A.
Sexual arousal: similarities and differences between men and women
The Journal of Men’s Health & Gender, 1 (2-3): 215-223, 2004

Physiology of sexual arousal shows major biochemical and neurovascular similarities in men and women, apart from the obvious anatomic sexual differences. In men and women, sexual desire can anticipate arousal, be concomitant with it, or be secondary to arousal caused by direct genital stimulation. An increasing body of evidence suggests that central arousal overlaps with sexual desire from the neurobiological point of view in both sexes.
Major differences in sexual behaviour stemming from desire and central arousal seem to be due to the interplay between biological and psychosexual/context dependent factors. Quantitative biological differences that are testosterone related seem to prime the seeking-appetitive-lust system, with a different strength in men than in women. Psychosexual factors, associated with a higher training to control sexual impulses in women, potentiated by sociocultural and religious-based gender differences, further polarize the overt sexual behaviour stemming from sexual arousal.


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