x. Arousal

In the arousal phase, the individual responds – usually subconsciously in the first instance – to sexual stimuli. These stimuli can come from the environment, real or depicted attractive others, or from the person him/herself, for example in the form of fantasies, memories or associations. The person does not become aware of dual sexual feelings until a certain level of sexual arousal has been exceeded, i.e. physiological arousal exceeds the perception threshold. Dual because we can distinguish between a motivational component as well as an emotional/evaluative component. These two aspects can best be seen as two sides of the same coin and therefore occur simultaneously. Sexual desire is sexual arousal and vise versa! Although sexual desire and sexual excitement (and disorders in these) cannot be distinguished physiologically, they are described as two separate psychological phenomena.