World Journal of Urology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 93–100 | Cite as

The neurophysiology of female sexual function

  • Kevin E. McKenna
Topic Paper


Recent research on the neural control of female sexual function is reviewed. The control of female genital responses has not been extensively studied and significant gaps in our knowledge remain. Sexual arousal is largely the product of spinal level reflexes. A network of interneurons processes the sensory information and generate complex patterns of activities that are then distributed to the autonomic and somatic efferents. The spinal reflexive systems are under inhibitory and excitatory control from the brainstem and hypothalamic sites. Further research is necessary to identify the mechanisms underlying female sexual function, the pathogenesis of sexual dysfunctions and their possible treatment.

Clitoris Sexual climax Pudendal Pelvic Hypogastric Genital 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin E. McKenna
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Physiology and Urology, Northwestern University School of Medicine, 303 E. Chicago Avenue M211, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

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