Most animals are male/female species and reproduce sexually. Variation in this pattern of reproduction has arisen many times during animal evolution, particularly in nematodes. Little is known about the evolutionary forces and constraints that influenced the origin of self-fertilization, for instance, a type of reproduction that seems to have evolved many times in the phylum Nematoda. Caenorhabditis elegans, a very well known nematode, provides the framework for comparative studies of sex determination. The relative ease with which nematodes can be studied in the laboratory and the fact that many recently developed techniques can be applied to many species make them attractive for comparative research. It is relatively poorly understood how the evolution of new types of sex determination and mode of reproduction results in changes in genome structure, ecology and population genetics. Here, I review the evolution of sex determination and mating types in the phylum Nematoda with the objective of providing a framework for future research.