The effects of lesions in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) on male and female sexual behavior in female cats were examined. Following preoperative testing for receptivity, proceptivity, and male mating behavior, 27 female cats received either lesions in the anterior or psoterior portion of the VMH or sham lesions. Neither of the VMH lesion placements reduced proceptivity and receptivity scores. However, the female mating pattern was significantly altered in that although females in both lesion groups initially allowed a stud male to mount, they usually did not allow the male to intromit. As in rodents, the VMH in the cat appears to be an important neural area for the display of normal female sexual behavior. Low levels of male sexual behavior were seen in the three groups preoperatively, and no changes were observed in the levels of male behavior following lesion placement. Thus, because lesions that disrupted female behavior did not affect male sexual behavior, it appears that the neural areas controlling homotypical and heterotypical sexual behaviors are not necessarily neurally linked.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience