Arousal is the state of being awake and focused on a certain stimulus. For individuals who have a vagina, this involves a number of physiological changes in the body. According to the Cleveland Clinic , desire disorders involve a lack of sexual desire or interest in sex, while arousal disorders involve wanting sex but struggling to get your body in the mood. The sexual excitement stage — also known as the arousal stage — involves a range of physiological changes in the body. Most of these functions prepare the body for vaginal intercourse. For example, your vagina becomes more wet because the glands produce lubricating fluids.
Stage 1: sexual excitement or arousal
Stage 2: sexual plateau
Sexual arousal also sexual excitement describes the physiological and psychological responses in preparation for sexual intercourse or when exposed to sexual stimuli. A number of physiological responses occur in the body and mind as preparation for sexual intercourse and continue during it. Male arousal will lead to an erection , and in female arousal the body's response is engorged sexual tissues such as nipples , vulva , clitoris , vaginal walls , and vaginal lubrication. Mental stimuli and physical stimuli such as touch, and the internal fluctuation of hormones , can influence sexual arousal. Sexual arousal has several stages and may not lead to any actual sexual activity, beyond a mental arousal and the physiological changes that accompany it. Given sufficient sexual stimulation , sexual arousal reaches its climax during an orgasm. It may also be pursued for its own sake, even in the absence of an orgasm. There are several informalities, terms and phrases to describe sexual arousal, including horny ,  turned on , randy , steamy , and lustful. Depending on the situation, a person can be sexually aroused by a variety of factors, both physical and mental. A person may be sexually aroused by another person or by particular aspects of that person, or by a non-human object.
Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. In men and women sexual arousal culminates in orgasm, with female orgasm solely from sexual intercourse often regarded as a unique feature of human sexuality. However, orgasm from sexual intercourse occurs more reliably in men than in women likely reflecting the different types of physical stimulation men and women require for orgasm. In men, orgasms are under strong selective pressure as orgasms are coupled with ejaculation and thus contribute to male reproductive success. By contrast, women's orgasms in intercourse are highly variable and are under little selective pressure as they are not a reproductive necessity..
During arousal and sex, there are various stages of physical response. Researchers have identified four stages of sexual response in women and men: arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution. This article describes what happens in a woman's body when she is sexually aroused. When a woman becomes aroused turned on , the blood vessels in her genitals dilate. There is increased blood flow in the vaginal walls, which causes fluid to pass through them. This is the main source of lubrication, which makes the vagina wet. The external genitalia or vulva including the clitoris, vaginal opening, and inner and outer lips or labia become engorged swollen due to the increased blood supply. Inside the body, the top of the vagina expands. The pulse and breathing quicken, and blood pressure rises. A woman may become flushed, especially on the chest and neck, due to the blood vessels dilating.