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Clin Anat. 2015 Apr;28(3):314-23. doi: 10.1002/ca.22528. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Functional neuroanatomy of human cortex cerebri in relation to wanting sex and having it.

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Department of Neuroscience/Section Anatomy, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


Neuroanatomical textbooks typically restrict the central nervous system control of sexual responsiveness to the hypothalamus, brainstem and spinal cord. However, for all its primitive functions human sex is surprisingly complex and versatile. This review aims to extend the neuroanatomy of sexual responsiveness by providing a comprehensive overview of the empirical evidence for cerebral cortical involvement. To this end I will structure relevant human brain research data to fit the sexual pleasure cycle template-wanting sex, having sex, inhibiting sex-arguing that going through these sexual response phases requires adequate shifting between functional cortical networks. The relevance of this notion for understanding certain sexual dysfunctions is discussed.


neuroanatomy; neuroimaging; sexual response

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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