From Encyclopedia of Sex and Sexuality
After experiencing orgasm, both women and men enter a resolution phase that returns them to a sexually unexcited state and blood leaves the tissues engorged during sexual excitement. The resolution phase may last from a few minutes to an hour or more. For men, there is also a refractory period during which, almost immediately after ejaculation, they lose not only their erection, but usually also the desire to have more sex. This period is defined by the time it takes for men to have a new erection. The length of this period is usually a function of the man’s age and whether the sexual encounter continues or not. But for women, the resolution phase is much slower than for men because women do not have a refractory period or experience a sudden loss of desire. Thus, some women complain that their partners want to go to sleep right after ejaculation, while men may complain that their wives want to continue being held and caressed long after they have their orgasms. Even though a man does become greatly relaxed following ejaculation due to the sudden release of sexual tension built up before his orgasm, he can keep himself from falling asleep immediately. Knowledge on the part of the couple of the length and nature of the refractory period may avoid some misinterpretations of male behavior following ejaculation.
This lack of a refractory period during the resolution phase for women helps explain why women are so much more likely to have multiple orgasms than men. While some women do not want clitoral stimulation during the resolution phase, others do. If a woman who desires additional stimulation and orgasm during the resolution phase does not have her needs met, the resolution will not be satisfactory. Males must learn not to impose their own model of resolution—their refractory period and a desire to sleep—upon their female partners. Thus, a successful outcome to the resolution phase often depends on both partners understanding and being willing to work with the other’s needs or limitations.