Nine adult, ovariectomized, female cats administered an exogenous estrogen displayed sexual responses, including the spinal reflexes of lateral tail deviation and treading of the back legs with sexually active male cats. Some of the animals displayed the same reflexes to perineal stimulation by the experimenter. A spinal transection was performed and 60 days later, when neurological spinal shock had subsided and strength of somatic reflexes had stabilized for several weeks, animals were tested for sexual reflexes before and after estrogen administration. Two spinal animals displayed partial sexual reflexes before the estrogen administration. Following estrogen administration facilitation of tail deviation and treading occurred in these two as well as five of the other 7 animals. These and other observations suggest that the display of these sexual reflexes in intact female cats can not only be influenced by supraspinal mechanisms presumably reflecting visual, olfactory, and auditory stimulation, but are activated as well by the action of estrogen at the spinal level.
- Sexual behavior
- Spinal cord
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience