The Secret of Sexual Arousal

Step 4: Prolong Your Pleasure

Let's review the phases of the sexual response cycle for starters. You do remember that there are seven phases that everybody goes through sexually, from that awakening moment to the finish line and beyond, don't you? They are vague stirring, desire, excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution, and what's next?

Arousal is perhaps the number one issue in keeping sex going. Being and staying turned on is the stuff that poets write about and the stuff that -- when it doesn't work -- brings men and women running into sexologists' offices. "Help," they cry, "I can't get him to stay hard." "Help, I can't stay wet." "Help, I can't get over the hump to my big bang."

Speaking of big bang, if there is one phase of the cycle that hangs women up, it's plateau, or pre-orgasm, that heightened state of arousal just before orgasm occurs. The plateau phase can send you into the flight of your fancies or keep you hanging on the edge of a waterfall, panting and yearning to go over the brink and enjoy the thrilling ride. And if you're stuck, sex can be a burden rather than a pleasure.

Next page: Find out what you can do to sustain your arousal >>

Some women do report to me, albeit in small numbers, that they actually enjoy being hung up on the edge of their high arousal, and never want to tumble down into the waters of the orgasmic stage. Such women actually experience this phase as a sort of trance-like state. I recall one female client who often lost touch with reality and longed to stay there on that woozy cloud of near ecstasy during her plateau, not wanting to take the plunge with her husband into her orgasmic release, much to his dismay (her partner felt that he was an inadequate lover because he wasn't able to bring her to orgasm). When they discovered that this was part of her sexual preference, he learned to continue to produce pleasurable stimulation, such as nipple licking and deep kissing, until she was ready to climax with him. They created a secret phrase that she would utter to signal that she was ready for him to enter her, which strengthened not only her orgasms but their intimate bond. Even if you aren't one of those women who like to stay on the edge of orgasm for extended periods of time, I encourage you to try this secret-phrase ritual (combined with continued stimulation) with your partner as an experiment to see if you can sustain your arousal during your own plateau. This is a wonderful way to elongate your pleasure.

If you have a problem in staying aroused during your plateau, try listening to sexy audio books. One of my favorites is the Herotica series of books on tape, which are available from and and on my site ( These are stories written and read by women that appeal to women's sensibilities. They're filled with romance, alluring seductions and edgy episodes. If you listen to them while you're self-pleasuring or with a lover, you may find that the heat of your arousal increases just by lending an ear. You can also try reading some sexually oriented books, such as Exit to Eden (another fave of mine, written by Anne Rice under a pen name), or the newest paperback version of Herotica 6, edited by Marcy Sheiner. You may want to have bedtime story time with your lover. By changing your focus away from orgasm (and worrying about whether you will or won't climax) and instead focusing on staying tuned in to a steamy story, you may delight in the outcome.

For this step, try the exercises I suggest and let surprise be your guide on your trip to ultimate pleasure.

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