Role of testosterone secretion and penile reflexes in sexual behavior and sperm competition in male rats: A theoretical contribution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


A number of experiments have documented that when male rats are exposed to female rats they undergo a marked increase in the secretion of luteinizing hormone and testosterone. This response can be conditioned to other, previously neutral, stimuli associated with mating. Recent work has highlighted the remarkable sensitivity of penile reflexes to fluctuations in blood concentration of testosterone. Other work has pointed to the function of penile reflexes in seminal plug removal and deposition. It is hypothesized that penile reflexes are potentiated by the increase in testosterone that occurs in response to sexually relevant cues and that the potentiated reflexes play a role in sperm competition during multi-male mating encounters. The sperm competition centers around a male rat's ability to dislodge seminal plugs left in the vagina by other males and to deposit his own plug as tightly as possible to resist dislodgement by another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-827
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983



  • Penile reflexes
  • Sexual behavior, male rats
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this