Mechanisms of arousal are always ignored by sex education. A friend of mine pointed this out while we were colouring schematic diagrams of dissected penises in grade 10 or 11.
The sex ed classes that I had summed male sexuality up in two topics: embarrassing occasions of involuntary erection, and the biological process of ejaculation (glands, muscle spasms). Female sexuality was comprised of genital diagrams that included "anus," presumably to make sure that everyone knew the vagina was indeed a separate opening, and of various studies of menstruation, relying heavily on two-dimensional pictures of the uterus, which looked mostly like a cow's head with fallopian tubes for ears and horns.
I think of arousal in terms of particular feelings that I recognize in myself, of the sensual/sexual variety. Sometimes these will include a desire to touch somebody and/or be naked with them, and sometimes they are all unfocussed and just feelings of pleasure and non-fulfillment. There is a description of the general physical sensations as part of the orgasm description.
Being aroused can also make me entirely more sensitive. I'll end up enjoying the pressure of my feet on the floor when I walk, the feeling of my tongue in my mouth, drafts moving my hair, vibrations from music, and especially being in contact with whoever my desires are focussed on (sounds like a certain drug, huh?). A lot of the time I get a fluttery stomach too.
As expected, being aroused will tend to make my vagina slippery and wet. I don't usually feel this gushing out of me; usually what I notice is that I am slippery and that my various vulval components slide past each other when I move, or that my underwear are cold when they touch me.
My clitoris swells up and turns redder when I am aroused, but I never really notice this. I only know this because I have checked specifically to see if it looked different when I was excited. It doesn't feel different except that I am aware of it.
Also, I barely ever say aroused, and never "turned on" or "horny." Mostly I say "want," as in "I want you," etc. Sometimes I say excited. Sometimes I say randy, mostly as a rhyme with panties, and mostly as a joke.
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