Central dopamine transmission was examined in the nucleus accumbens and striatum of sexually experienced male rats during mating behaviour using in vivo brain microdialysis. Dopamine release increased significantly in the nucleus accumbens when males were placed in a novel mating chamber and when a receptive female was introduced behind a screen partitioning this chamber. Subsequently, during copulation dopamine transmission increased sharply, this being followed by a gradual decrease after the female was removed. In contrast, striatal dopamine transmission increased significantly only during copulation. These data provide a neurochemical basis for the well-known interactions between dopaminergic drugs and male sexual behaviour and demonstrate the feasibility of using brain microdialysis to elucidate the neurochemical correlates of motivated behaviour.