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Sexual stimulation is any stimulus (including bodily contact) that leads to, enhances and maintains sexual arousal, and may lead to orgasm. Although sexual arousal may arise without physical stimulation, achieving orgasm usually requires physical sexual stimulation.
The term sexual stimulation often implies stimulation of the genitals, but may also include stimulation of other areas of the body, stimulation of the senses (such as sight or hearing) and mental stimulation (i.e. from reading or fantasizing). Sufficient stimulation of the penis in males and the clitoris in females usually results in an orgasm. Stimulation can be by self (e.g., masturbation) or by a sexual partner (sexual intercourse or other sexual activity), by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods.
Some people practice orgasm control, whereby a person or their sexual partner controls the level of sexual stimulation to delay orgasm, and to prolong the sexual experience leading up to orgasm.
Physical sexual stimulation
Physical sexual stimulation usually consists of the touching of parts of the human body, especially erogenous zones. Masturbation, erotic massage, sexual intercourse, a handjob or fingering are types of physical sexual stimulation. Physiological reactions are usually triggered through sensitive nerves in these body parts, which cause the release of pleasure-causing chemicals that act as mental rewards to pursue such stimulation. Physical sexual stimulation may also involve the touching of other people's body parts and may trigger similar physiological reactions.
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Women rated clitoral stimulation as at least somewhat more important than vaginal stimulation in achieving orgasm; only about 20% indicated that they did not require additional clitoral stimulation during intercourse.
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Most women report the inability to achieve orgasm with vaginal intercourse and require direct clitoral stimulation ... About 20% have coital climaxes...
- Based on "masturbation" in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003
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- Bruce Bagemihl (10 April 2000). Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-4668-0927-7.