Detailed analysis of the male copulatory motor pattern in mammals: hormonal bases

Scand J Psychol. 2003 Jul;44(3):279-88. doi: 10.1111/1467-9450.00346.


Data obtained, using a polygraphic technique, on the characteristics of the motor and genital copulatory responses of male rabbits, rats, mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs are reviewed. This methodology provided detailed information, not accessible to other analyses, on the frequency and dynamic organization of copulatory pelvic thrusting trains of the species studied. This comparative analysis showed that: (1) The male rat may display two types of ejaculatory responses, differing in the dynamic organization of the pelvic thrusting train, and in the duration of the intravaginal thrusting period preceding ejaculation. (2) In the guinea pigs and small rodents, but not in rabbits, pelvic thrusting at ejaculatory responses persists during intromission, and a period of fast intravaginal thrusting is associated with ejaculation. (3) The motor copulatory pattern of the rabbit, but not of the rat, hamster, or guinea pig, is affected by castration and hormone treatment, suggesting that, in rabbits, androgen acts both on motivation and on the spinal neural systems related to copulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copulation / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones