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Sexual Response and Stimulation

In males, sexual excitation causes erection of the penis due to an influx of blood into the erectile tissue which occupies most of the volume of the penis. Erection is accompanied by the secretion of small amounts of seminal fluid from the bulbourethral (Cowper’s) glands, which functions as a lubricant in anticipation of sexual intercourse. If sensory receptors on the penis receive continued stimulation, various muscles involuntarily contract causing the forceful ejaculation of sperm through the vasa deferentia and urethra, experienced as a series of pleasant sensations referred to as orgasm.

While females may also experience orgasm, it is not necessary in order for conception to take place. The clitoris, which is developmentally homologous to the penis, is the organ of sexual stimulation in females. When arousal occurs, pleasant sensations are accompanied by the secretion into the vagina of a lubricating fluid, and muscular contractions occur similar to those in males.

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