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My girlfriend was watching some documentary on TLC about a paralyzed woman getting pregnant. I believe that woman still has some feeling, as she spoke about feeling the effects of a bladder inflamation. So supposedly, her brain could fire up her vagina to get ready for sex (in the sense that it gets lubricated and the labia get swollen).

But suppose a woman is paralyzed so they have no nervous connection from the brain to the vagina (or vice versa). Could she still be aroused in the sense of swollen labia, etc? (Presumably via some hormonal system?)

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is a good open access review about the effects of different hormones on sexual arousal. In most instances, the hormone is acting on the brain, which signals the information to gonads and genitals via nerves (i.e., the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis). However, in a study in which I have participated, we found a more direct and probably ancient signaling pathway where the mouse liver, in response to protein intake, was sending a permissive signal to the uterus for reproduction. Whether this holds true for vagina lubrication was not investigated, but I would be optimistic that mechanisms other than nerve communication could play some roles.

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