Electrical stimulation of male monkey's midbrain elicits components of sexual behavior

Eiichiro Okada, Shuji Aou, Atsushi Takaki, Yutaka Oomura, Tetsuro Hori

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We electrically stimulated the midbrain of male rhesus monkeys seated in a restraint chair facing the female partners and examined whether sexual behavior could be induced. When the midbrain was stimulated (0.2 ms, 50-500 μA and 50 Hz for 2.5 s), the male monkey touched and held the waist of his partner (latency; 0.9±0.4 s, mean±SD, n=225), and then mounted her when she responded with presenting her hip toward him. However, this mounting, unlike when the hypothalamus was stimulated, did not lead to thrusting or ejaculation even if the stimulation continued. The sites in the midbrain where the stimulation elicited touching and mounting were the ventral tegmental area, the substantia nigra, the nucleus reticularis mesencephali and the nucleus reticularis pontis oralis et caudalis. Touching and mounting were not elicited when the partner was put away from the male or replaced by submissive male monkeys or humans. The findings suggest that the stimulation-evoked touching and mounting are components of copulatory behavior and that the midbrain structures may be involved in the sexual behavior of male monkeys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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