The epidemiology, etiology and proposed treatments for the sexual desire disorders are briefly reviewed before turning to an analysis of preclinical models. We suggest that the concept of sexual desire in the human is equivalent to sexual motivation as employed in the scientific literature. Many animal tests for sexual motivation have been described over the years. Most of them are based on the evaluation of the rate or speed of performing learned operant responses. These are not ideal measures for inferring the intensity of sexual motivation. We present a test for sexual incentive motivation, which has been used in male and female rats. No learning is involved, and the test is rather insensitive to variations in ambulatory activity and it does not employ rate measures. A procedure that recently has attracted much attention, paced-mating behavior in the female, does not seem to be as useful as could be expected. In fact, it does not appear to be superior to tests for sexual receptivity (lordosis). The lack of established, clinically efficient treatments for sexual desire disorders makes it difficult to evaluate if any model has predictive validity. However, the model proposed here may be isomorphic and homologous to the human condition.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2004
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