Female sexuality. The role of satisfaction

When I pronounce the word/ Silence/ I destroy it.
By Wislawa Szymborska, The Three Oddest Words

Sexuality has changed profoundly due to the sexual revolution, which has put both men and women under pressure to “perform”. Before this, many men went straight to penetrative sex, seeing this as their main aim, whereas most women longed for displays of physical tenderness and wanted to explore other ways of expressing sexual and physical intimacy.
Over recent years, some sexologists have underlined that we are in the process of creating a new language of expression. Women are showing men what they want physically, while men are becoming more open with their partners about sex, rather than trying to “run the show” at all the times, accepting the eroticism of full reciprocal participation in a new kind of sexual exchange.
A woman's ability to express her sexual needs and emotions is fundamental for a couple's well-being and harmony. Women now need to break the silence and talk to their partners.
For both the male and the female, sexual function can be thought of as a “Virtuous Circle” that combines desire, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction.

The virtuous circle of sexual function Graph: The virtuous circle of sexual function

  • Desire: sexual desire results from several internal and external factors that induce the need to have sex. It is an evolving phenomenon that, in women, is influenced by various physiological states and emotions, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, etc…
  • Arousal: the greater the intensity of physical and mental arousal, the higher the probability of having an orgasm that will be intense and rewarding.
  • Orgasm: it is considered the climax of the sexual response cycle; the intensity of the orgasm depends on the state of both mental and physical excitement, and is powered by a stimulating erotic intimacy between partners.
  • Satisfaction: expresses the subjective, personal judgment about the sexual act.

The intensity of the desire and excitement, the quality of the erotic game, the intensity of emotional involvement, the complicity and also the context of the experience: all these factors influence the degree of satisfaction that a woman (and a man) obtains from the sexual act.



Hite S. The Hite Report; Dell Pub Inc. New York 1981.


Graziottin A. “Sessualità e fisiopatologia sessuale” in: Zanoio L, Barcellona E, Zacché G. (a cura di), Ginecologia e Ostetricia; Elsevier Masson, Milano 2007; pp:165-196.

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