GnRH II (pGlu-His-Trp-Ser-Try-Gly-Leu-Arg-Pro-GlyNH2), an evolutionarily conserved member of the GnRH family, stimulates reproductive behavior in a number of vertebrates. To explore a role for GnRH II in regulating primate sexual behavior, eight adult female common marmosets, each fitted with an indwelling intracerebroventricular (icv) cannula, were ovariectomized, implanted subcutaneously with empty (n = 4) or estradiol-filled (n = 4) SILASTIC brand capsules, and pair housed with an adult male mate. After icv infusion of vehicle or peptides, females were placed in an observation cage for 90 min, out of visual contact with other marmosets, before the 30-min behavioral test with their male partner. Compared with vehicle, GnRH II (1 and 10 microg) increased the total number of proceptive (sexual solicitation) behaviors (tongue flicking, proceptive stares, and frozen postures) exhibited by females toward their pair mates and specifically increased the frequency of freeze postures. Effects were maximal at 1 microg and not dependent upon estradiol supplementation. GnRH II agonists/GnRH I antagonists 135-18 (1 microg) and 132-25 (1 microg), which stimulate inositol phosphate production via the marmoset type II receptor, increased the frequency of total proceptive behavior but did not specifically stimulate freeze-posture behavior. In contrast, GnRH I, at 1 mug, did not alter the frequency of proceptive behaviors. Female receptivity (female compliance with male sexual behavior) was not altered by any of the peptides tested. These findings implicate a role for GnRH II and the cognate GnRH type II receptor in stimulating female marmoset sexual behavior.