Hi, it's Dr. Rich and welcome back to session three, lecture four. In this lecture, we're going to talk about sexual response. And hope it doesn't get too technical, but it's really, really important that you understand the mechanics of sexual response. Because the sexual response cycle is this really complex interaction between the body and the mind, and thoughts and feelings and things like that really, really impact the triggering of the sexual response cycle and the continuation of it. So try and keep it as simple as possible. And as always make it as hands on as possible.
So you could use the information with your clients. And so let me stop talking and get right to the PowerPoints and then I'll come back at the end and minimize myself here. Okay. All right. So the sexual response cycle has five stages. And again, if you were to look at all the literature out there In the history of how people define sexual response, you'll see that the original cycle that was discovered by masters and Johnson had four components.
I've seen sexual response cycles as high as having six stages. But I think these five stages pretty much as an eclectic summary of the sexual response cycle, you know, desire arousal, which is also known as excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution and I'll talk about each one in detail as we move on. Now, the thing about the cycle is that the stages build upon each other. So you know, it starts with desire, and if there's enough desire, then arousal will occur. And then after a certain level of arousal, you reach a plateau, followed by orgasm followed by resolution, and all of the stages are accompanied by thoughts and personal scripts and mental images and emotions. And these internal mind programs can just either initiate and perpetuate the response or stop it dead in its tracks.
That's why it's so important that we explore these you know mind programs to see how they affect the cycle. So let's start with a desire. The first stage in the sexual response cycle, and desire is fueled from by everything from when was the last time you had orgasm, to sexual fantasies that are running around your head. music that's playing in the background smells, feelings of love, affection, and a host of other things. Like beauty desire really is in the eye of the beholder. What someone finds desirable in a turn on, other people won't.
And remember without desire, there's no arousal desire. Is the mental component that flips the switch that gets arousal going. And that's why something like Viagra won't work if there's no desire. You can't just force interaction biochemically there's got to be some desire that goes along with it. And a real fun way to explore this with your clients is through the activity that it's called things that turn me on. And it'll show you that clients vary tremendously regarding what turns them on.
And this activity is designed to provide a safe framework to explore this. So if you haven't printed it off yet, take a moment printed off, I'll get a sip of water, and we'll go through it. Okay, it's real simple. You're going to ask clients to describe in detail the things that turn them on across the following categories, sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touches. You know, sights can be anything, any visual image at all that is arousing to clients, any type of sound, whether it's music, whether it's a song with lyrics or instrumental, whether it's actual types of words in conversation is really fascinating that some people who are fairly conservative and proper in social settings and out in society like to talk dirty, you know, to their partner when they're in the privacy of their own bedrooms. So, it's really, really interesting, all of these things and the infinite variety of sight sounds, tastes, touches and smells.
I'm gonna give an example of how this played out in one of these that a client of mine did, just to give you an example of kind of detail and scope that you're looking for. So the sights this this guy said I like to see everything and keep the lights on when making love. I really enjoy making love with the drapes pullback in the sun, shining And then he shifts gears and he says the other sites I've turned them on are the dimples just directly above his wife's hats, and in generally likes to see nicely shaped women's acids and faded blue jeans. You can tell this is direct dialogue right from my clients. sounds natural sounds the wind blowing through the trees, the sounds of flowing bubbling water, Marvin Gaye sinking Let's get it on our sexual healing. For this a guy of my generation obviously tastes pin on the wall wine in bed with fresh fruit cheese near flatbeds with cream cheese and caviar and then also the natural taste of a woman during oral sex.
The touching is interesting long, deep neck and back rubs, lightly swirling touches on the shaft and head of my penis, the back of fingers moving lightly up towards and through my pubic hair. And then smells soapy clean smell coming right out of the shower. And then what His favorite behavioral turn on is massage followed by oral sex but single mutual followed by bad gentle intercourse. And I like the man on top of your entry position. Okay, turn off sites, new women who have too much body fat to expose their soft tummies, flabby upper arms and big butts with ill fitting or scanty clothing. Okay, sounds too much talking.
I can't stand them they just run off at the mouth especially in bed tastes, unclean bodies touches this is a fun one squeezing my testicle as if there is some kind of exercise device Ouch. And behaviors rushing to penetration too soon. So you could see just you know, one, middle aged guys, turn ons and turn offs. And when when clients are done with this, have them answer the following questions. What are your thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and emotions regarding your sexual turnoff So what are those little scripts that are running? You know, what, what is?
What are these? your own personal moves scenes from your own sex movie about your turn ons that are running around in your head? And how do these internal factors contribute to being stuck? And what can you accept about these internal factors? So in other words, if your client is okay, so I got the script running around about something that turns me on, and I kind of feel in a way that you know, it's something that is a sticking point in my relationship, and, you know, so I'm willing to accept that, and I'm willing to kind of bring that forward in the relationship and as I work on it with my partner. So it's kind of you know, identifying what the internal messages are identifying how they contribute to being stuck, accepting that this is so and that this is, you know, the reality of what turns me on And then saying, okay, I can bring that reality and that pain and suffering and pain and suffering with me, as I kind of move forward and try and strengthen this relationship, rather than trying to, you know, control, avoid or eliminate it, which as we've seen doesn't work only makes it worse.
All right, so desire triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that trigger the next stage, which is arousal, and chemicals and neurotransmitters and hormones. They all work together to trigger sexual arousal and keep what I call the fires of desire burning. In particular, there's a chemical called nitrous oxide that's produced in the spongy tissue in the penis and the glitter is on the walls of the vagina. And that tissue, literally the reason guys get erections and women's pads and the lips swell and their clitoral swells is that all of that tissue is spongy erectile tissue that in gorgeous with blood, too. arousal, well, it also releases this chemical that helps that arousal process. sexual arousal is about two things.
It's about you know, blood flow flowing to the genitalia and in gorging the blood, the genitals and lubrication in women. All right. So this arousal is this complex interaction between nitric oxide, the nervous endocrine and muscular system, which you know, is all about redirecting blood flow to the genitals and it's fueled by desire. So plateau The next stage is considered the point of maximum sexual arousal. So you get to that point of arousal where in a guy the penis is fully erect, and the woman the vagina is fully lubricated. The vulva breasts and nipples are in gorge nipples in both genders are There is increased muscle tension throughout the body, heart rate and blood pressure.
And plateau can actually last for a few seconds too much longer depending on factors ranging from agent sexual experience to the time of since last orgasm, that in older men and particularly it takes a much longer time to become fully aroused, and to reach maximum plateau. And then orgasm is the release of all the sexual tension and pressure that's built up during arousal and plateau. So once you reach that maximum level of arousal at plateau, it's then kind of up to the person if they can control it, to decide to try and prolong it longer or to just let orgasm happen and let the physiological things that are part of orgasm go So the genital muscles contract and released in voluntarily, the skeletal muscles contract and release in voluntarily. All the tension that's built up is released and in guys ejaculation occurs. Now, orgasm in women, they can continue to have orgasms with no downtime, what's called the refractory period or resolution while men can't.
Men need at least a short amount of downtime, before they can become aroused and have another orgasm. And this amount of downtime that men need varies according to their age. And the time since the last orgasm. If they you know that the slowest period would be an older man who had an orgasm recently, the most rapid resolution would be and a younger man who hasn't had an orgasm in a long time. So there's a wide range of time, but just think of orgasm as the Release of all the tension and the pressure and the respiration that's built up during arousal input. And then resolution is the return of all body parts and body systems to the Unreal state.
So phase o congestion, which is a term for blood flow is reversed, and the blood flows out and I'm not going to get into the physiology of these little tissue trapdoors, and things that trapped blood flow in and then switch and release. It's a blood flow leave. But essentially what happens is the blood flow is reversed, the genitals returned to normal lubrication stops, muscle tension, heart rate and respiration will return to normal and the HA factor kicks in. Now, there are some aging related changes in sexual response. And again, this is in general around age 55. For men.
Arousal takes away longer. An arousal often requires manual stimulation. So at 19, a guy can just think about getting an erection and he gets one at 59. It takes maybe a little manual stimulation with his partner's hand or his own hand to kind of get their erections tend to be a little less firm. There's less semen ejaculated, there is actually less need to ejaculate to enjoy sexual activity. And that comes more with perceptual changes rather than physiological.
There's a slightly diminished intensity of the contractions associated with orgasm. And there's more time necessary to get another erection. So some of these things, you know, were measured and calibrated actually, through instrumentation and technology that came it was invented by Masterson Johnson and then was refined over the years, but you can actually measure the Number of orgasmic contractions and their intensity, you know, and that's what what sexual response researchers do. Now, aging related changes in women and again, this varies depending on menopause, which you know, there's a wide variety of age brackets for women going through menopause, but the vagina becomes less elastic and not able to expand as much as it did initially. arousal takes a little longer, bathroom lubrication takes longer, the amount of lubrication may be diminished, like the penis clitoral is smaller, but no less responsive, still the same amount of nerve endings in it.
And the intensity of orgasmic contractions diminishes slightly, so real similar to the changes in men. So let's look at this. What's this perception of sexual response? First of all, No correct sexual response, sexual response will vary from client to client and suspect sexual response will vary within the same client. So remember, you can respond one way today under in a certain context with a certain partner and entirely different tomorrow. In the same context with the same partner.
You can respond differently from partner to partner from day to day. So things change because you change your body changes your your your psychological state changes, you may be an entirely different mood today, you may be feeling more safe or less safe, more angry or less angry, more corny, or less corny. And the key isn't is not is whether or not the thoughts feelings, person scripts and emotions that clients have regarding the sexual response is contributing to them being stuck. It isn't The sexual response pattern. In other words, it's their thoughts, feelings, emotions and scripts. And let me give you an example.
So we've seen the changes associated with aging, right? So the objective reality is these are changes associated with aging, that in general, things take a little longer require a little more manual stimulation, and are not as intense. Okay, well, could you perceive an upside to this, you know, maybe when you're 18, and you're a guy, the fact that you could become aroused instantly is a great thing, but you also come instantly, you know, you have very little control over being able to prolong you know, your arousal and plateau, you have very little experience being able to satisfy your partner, you've got a million crazy insecurities and anxieties running around your head. You know, you may be jumping from partner to partner and have a whole different level of comfort. So if you want to look at the pie creative side of sex in a committed relationship with a long term partner at 50.
Well, you don't mind that it takes a little long you actually enjoy the process of arousal. Maybe you incorporate a little more sex play into it, that's fun. Maybe you incorporate some erotic eating into it that you never had the time for when you're 19. Maybe you actually like the fact that it takes longer to get aroused and longer to come. And maybe that you know that that elongated duration of plateau and arousal, you find the turn on. So perception is everything when it comes to sexual response, responses response, how you perceive it, is really what matters.
That's why I've developed an activity that you can use with your clients called thoughts about sexual response. And it actually helps clients realize that you know, sometimes they claim To these outdated personal scripts, and, you know, mental images about response that, you know, occurred when they were in the beginning part of their, you know, sexual activity, you know, when they, you know, go through puberty and just start becoming sexually active. You know, those initial, you know, personal sex movies about sexual response that happen, you know, when someone's 1819 and 20, you know, they're still there. And if clients now in their 40s 50s and 60s, cling to them and look at that as the model of how response should be, versus how response is, then it could be problematic, so this activity kind of helps them think about it. Alright, so take a moment. And if you haven't printed it off, you have printed off can take a sip of water, and we're going to work through it.
Okay, so You know, if you haven't given them the chapter on sexual response, which is in the sex act book, you know, have them read that or you can just explain it to them yourself. That's the thing about using the sex act book. You can use it as you know readings from it as activities as homework assignments. You can just explain the content real quickly. So have them answer the following questions about sexual response. What are your thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and emotions regarding your sexual response?
How do these internal factors contribute to being stuck? You know, what can you accept about these internal factors? And how can you commit to improving your sexual relationship while coexisting with these troubling thoughts, past you know, painful personal scripts, painful emotions and troubling mental images that relate to your sexual response. So again, Now the idea is awareness of what sexual response is. Is exploration of a client's internal mental programs about their sexual response? making the connection between whether or not these thoughts feelings, scripts, etc are contributing to being stuck.
And if they are saying, Okay, this is the baggage I'm carrying around about my sexual response, let me kind of keep it in my knapsack, drop my knapsack and continue to explore how I can improve my sex life within the context of my sexual response. So, let me play around with you know, starting to look at delayed orgasm and longer to arousal as as a good thing as possibly being something that can prolong my pleasure. Let me make, you know, arousal or maybe a more fun activity and instead of focusing on Am I going to get aroused in you know, five minutes Am I going to realize maybe now I start to look at arousal as Oh, let's have some wine and cheese and Play with each other and take a little longer to get around. So it's kind of what you want to do you want to help them bring this new outfit forward.
And let me finish up just kind of going to a picture. So what you want to try and do is make sure your clients understand what sexual response is all about. And then make sure they understand how their internal programs are contributing to them being stuck. And then to say, you know what, It's futile and and not worth the time to try and control avoid and eliminate these internal programs because it's much more beneficial to shift your focus off of them and shift your focus on to doing something productive to get your sexual relationship where you want to get it to. So if you realize now that you've got some unhelpful thoughts about arousal, let's look at some things you can do to make the whole arousal process more pleasurable. When unhelpful and troubling thoughts come into your consciousness, let's accept that and say, Boy, that's really not very helpful.
And let's shift our focus off of that. And back onto our partner. That's the kind of the model we're going to use from here on in that you want to understand these mind programs that are working. You want to accept that they're not very helpful, and then you want to coexist with them as you move forward. And the last half of the course is all about the individual strategies and techniques that you can teach clients to do that to coexist while moving forward. So it's an interesting journey.
You'll get comfortable using all these skills and strategies. And I hope this was a short, concise overview of sexual response. I'll see you in the next lecture. Okay,