Relevance of non‐human animal studies to the understanding of human sexuality

Relevance of non‐human animal studies to the understanding of human sexuality 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scandinavian Journal of Psychology Wiley

Relevance of non‐human animal studies to the understanding of human sexuality

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0036-5564
eISSN
1467-9450
D.O.I.
10.1111/1467-9450.00348
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Scandinavian Journal of PsychologyWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2003

References

  • On the problems studied in ethology, comparative psychology, and animal behavior
    Dewsbury, Dewsbury
  • Relying on surveys to understand abortion behavior: Some cautionary evidence
    Jagannathan, Jagannathan
  • Pavlovian conditioning of sexual interests in human males
    Lalumière, Lalumière; Quinsey, Quinsey
  • Classical conditioning of female sexual arousal
    Letorneau, Letorneau; O'Donohue, O'Donohue
  • The impact of anonymity on responses to sensitive questions
    Ong, Ong; Weiss, Weiss

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