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Four-Stage Model of the Sexual Response

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Human sexual response; Sexual response pattern; The sexual response cycle


The four-stage model of the sexual response is a descriptive model of the physiological changes which correspond with human sexual arousal and sexual behavior. In the four-stage model of the sexual response, the typical markers of arousal are organized into a temporal framework. This model was proposed by Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson (1966) and made possible by their groundbreaking research, including the systematic physiological recordings of individuals and couples engaging in sexual contact in the laboratory. The four stages of the human sexual response cycle, as defined by Masters and Johnson (1966), are (1) excitement, (2) plateau, (3) orgasm, and (4) resolution.


This entry will detail the four-stage model of the sexual response and will explain the physiological changes associated with human sexual arousal, particularly emphasizing the 1966 work of Masters and...


  • Pelvic Floor
  • Plateau Phase
  • Seminal Fluid
  • Sexual Response
  • Physiological Arousal

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Correspondence to Lora E Adair .

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© 2016 Springer International Publishing AG

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Adair, L.E. (2016). Four-Stage Model of the Sexual Response. In: Weekes-Shackelford, V., Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

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