The Human Body

Resolution Stage

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During resolution, the processes of the excitement and plateau stages reverse, and the bodies of both women and men return to the unaroused state. The muscle contractions that occurred during orgasm lead to a reduction in muscular tension and release of blood from the engorged tissues.

The woman's breasts return to normal size during resolution. As they do, the nipples may appear erect as they stand out more than the surrounding breast tissue. Sex flush may disappear soon after orgasm. The clitoris quickly returns to its normal position and more gradually begins to shrink to its normal size, and the orgasmic platform relaxes and starts to shrink. The ballooning of the vagina subsides and the uterus returns to its normal size. Resolution generally takes from 15 to 30 minutes, but it may take longer, especially if orgasm has not occurred.

In men, erection subsides rapidly and the penis returns to its normal size. The scrotum and testes shrink and return to their unaroused position. Men typically enter a refractory period, during which they are incapable of erection and orgasm. The length of the refractory period depends on the individual. It may last for only a few minutes or for as long as 24 hours, and the length generally increases with age. Women do not appear to have a refractory period and, because of this, women can have multiple orgasms within a short period of time. Some men also experience multiple orgasms. This is sometimes related to the ability to have some orgasms without ejaculation.