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Female Sexual Biochemistry 

Female Sexual Biochemistry
Chapter:
Female Sexual Biochemistry
Author(s):

Madeleine M. Castellanos

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190225889.003.0001
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date: 07 May 2021

“Female Sexual Biochemistry” reviews the key hormones and neurotransmitters that have a major role in female sexuality. Estrogens—estradiol, estrone, and estriol—as well as major androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are presented with a discussion of their role in the support of the reproductive organs and genitals as well as their actions on the central nervous system to affect sexual desire, arousal, and responsiveness. The interaction and regulation of estrogen by progesterone and thyroid hormone is included. A review of the dual-control model of sexual responsiveness is presented, including excitatory and inhibitory factors, as well as a summary of major neurotransmitters that work to enhance sexual arousal or inhibit it. The sexual response cycle is reviewed and relevant changes in pregnancy, childbirth, perimenopause, and menopause are presented. Finally, there is mention of how synthetic hormones and environmental toxins with hormone activity may alter a woman’s sexual response.

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