During sex men and women experience various phases of arousal. Everyone experiences these phases differently. The phases also differ in length and intensity each time. The phases are:

  • Desire
  • Arousal
  • Orgasm
  • Relaxation


Experiencing sexual desire means that you would like to have sex, to be touched and to touch your partner or yourself.


You may be sexually aroused by touching your partner or by your own touch. Your body / your partner’s body will respond to the sexual arousal:

  • The vagina will become wetter (women).
  • The labia will swell (women).
  • The cavernous body of the clitoris will fill up with blood, the clitoris will get bigger, will rise upwards and it will become very sensitive (women).
  • The nipples will become hard (women).
  • The cavernous body of the penis will fill with blood, the penis will become hard, bigger and will rise upwards: this is an erection (men).
  • Some liquid can drip from the penis (men).
  • The heart will beat faster (men and women).

You will have sexual feelings for your partner or sexual fantasies will play out in your head.

Your arousal becomes stronger. It is a very intense, pleasurable feeling.


An orgasm is the release of sexual energy in your body:

  • The pelvic floor muscles will contract and get tighter.
  • Men usually have an ejaculation when they have an orgasm. Semen flows out of the penis.
  • In some women, a little fluid flows out of the vagina when they have an orgasm. This is similar to ejaculation.


After an orgasm, arousal slowly recedes and the body calms down again. Sometimes the body feels a bit tired after orgasm.

Translate this text into:

Dictionary and translations

Looking for help? Find a health professional.