There are several reasons for studying sexual behavior in animals other than the human. Prominent among these is probably the use of sexual behavior as a model system for analyzing hormone actions on the brain. In this kind of study, lordosis behavior in the female rat has frequently been used as the behavioral end‐point. Recently, the mouse has become a popular subject because of the availability of strains lacking estrogen or progesterone receptors. Animal sexual behavior is also studied for its own sake by biologists, by agricultural scientists and by those interested in the management of wildlife resources. Finally, there are some researchers interested in human sexual behavior who prefer to approach their problems through studies in non‐human subjects, as they thereby gain access to techniques of experimentation impossible in human subjects. This is particularly important when the neurobiological basis of sexual behavior is the subject of study. Two striking similarities between humans and other mammals are the hormone dependency of sexual motivation and the fundamentally bisexual organization of the nervous system. In addition, animal studies have revealed how learning with sexual reinforcement can be an important determinant of sexual behavior. The role of learning has been largely ignored in human studies, and this has led to many misconceptions. Paramount among these is the idea that sexual behavior is associated with reproduction.
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 2003
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