Recent basic research on the neural control of female sexual function is reviewed with an emphasis on the pathways controlling the genitalia. Sexual responses require the coordination of sympathetic, parasympathetic and somatic nervous system. This coordination is performed by interneuronal systems within the lower spinal cord. Sexual responses can be reflexively elicited by genital stimulation. The excitability of the spinal cord can be positively or negatively modulated by descending pathways from supraspinal sites. These supraspinal areas are extensively interconnected and also receive pelvic sensory information. Several of them are modulated by gonadal hormones, allowing for a hormonal control of sexual behavior. Successful restoration of function following neural injury requires an understanding of these neural pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology