Endocrine, neural and pharmacological aspects of sexual satiety in male rats

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2009 Mar;33(3):442-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.11.003. Epub 2008 Nov 27.


Sexual satiety is the inhibition of masculine mating behavior produced by copulation itself. This inhibition is manifested in different ways depending upon the species, the time and the amount of sexual behavior prior to sexual satiety. Pharmacological studies indicate that monoaminergic and opioidergic compounds modify this phenomenon in the rat and other species, possibly via a final dopaminergic pathway involving sexual motivation. Reduced androgen receptor expression and/or increased estrogen receptor alpha expression in specific brain areas are associated with the inhibition of mating behavior that characterizes rat sexual satiety. Androgen receptor over-expression in the same and other brain areas coincides with a partial recovery of rat male copulatory behavior after sexual satiety. The lateral septum, medial amygdala and medial preoptic area may participate in the neuroendocrine regulation of sexual satiety, based on changes in the expression of c-Fos, androgen receptor and estrogen receptor alpha in these cerebral regions. These data suggest that changes in steroid receptors, possibly triggered by modifications in neurotransmitters, underlie at least partly the inhibition of copulatory behavior characteristic of rat sexual satiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Androgens
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / agonists
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Opioid Peptides / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Androgens
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Opioid Peptides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dopamine