The sexual response

Your interest in having sex – also known as sexual desire or libido – is affected by your physical and emotional wellbeing, relationship satisfaction, body image, and levels of sex hormones, as well as the need to express love, give and receive pleasure, and create connection.

Sexuality starts in the brain. It is responsible for making you feel interested in sex through your memories, feelings and imagination. These thoughts are created by what you see, smell, touch, taste, hear and remember. The mind also creates your body image – how you feel about your body and how you think it looks.

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Stages of the sexual response cycle

Understanding what is happening to the body during sexual activity can be helpful.

The sexual response cycle can be described in different ways. A common model includes several phases: desire, arousal (excitement), plateau, orgasm and resolution. Both males and females experience these phases, although the timing can be different, and you may not go through all the stages – you can become aroused and achieve orgasm as a result of a partner’s sexual interest but not have felt sexual desire beforehand.


Erogenous zones

Areas of the body that make you feel excited or aroused when they’re touched or stimulated are known as erogenous zones.

The main erogenous zones for most people are in the genital area: the clitoris, penis, scrotum and anus.

Other erogenous zones include the breasts, nipples, chest, mouth, ears, neck and inner thighs.


The role of hormones

Hormones are substances that affect how your body works. They act as messengers carrying information and instructions from one group of cells to another. Hormones control many of the body’s functions, including how you grow, develop and reproduce.

Male sex hormones (androgens)

The major male sex hormone is testosterone, which is produced mostly in the testicles and also in the adrenal glands. Testosterone causes the development of the reproductive organs and other sexual characteristics, such as a deep voice and body and facial hair.

Cancer treatments that lower testosterone hormone levels, such as testosterone-blocking drugs for prostate cancer, can affect the ability to get or keep an erection and reduce desire for sex.

Female sex hormones 

The major female sex hormones are oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen keeps the vagina moist and supple, while progesterone controls reproduction. Both these hormones are produced mostly in the ovaries until menopause, when the ovaries cease releasing eggs and periods stop. Small amounts of oestrogen and progesterone are made in the adrenal glands before and after menopause.

Some cancer treatments can affect a female’s hormone levels in the short and long term, causing early menopause or menopause-like symptoms.

In females, the ovaries and adrenal glands also make small amounts of the male sex hormones (androgens). Androgen levels may be linked with a female’s general sexual wellbeing. They decrease during and after chemotherapy and can drop suddenly if the ovaries are removed.


The female sexual and reproductive anatomy

A female’s sexual and reproductive organs are located inside and outside the body. The external sex organs (genitals), known as the vulva, include the mons pubis, clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, and Bartholin glands. The reproductive organs include the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix and vagina. You may or may not have some of these organs.

female sexual organs


The male sexual anatomy

The male body has sexual organs both inside and outside the body. You may or may not have some of these organs.

Male sexual organs


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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2019
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