Sexual reflexes in male rats: Restoration by ejaculation following suppression by penile sheath removal

Augustus R. Lumia, Benjamin D. Sachs, Robert L. Meisel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following removal of the penile sheath, adult male rats were able to copulate with receptive females. For the males that ejaculated, the number of mounts with and without intromission increased, but other pre-ejaculatory parameters of copulation were unchanged, suggesting that ejaculatory excitation is an additive function of penile contact with the vagina and with the penile sheath. Intact males held in the supine position with the penile sheath retracted displayed penile reflexes. Supine males lacking the penile sheath displayed no penile reflexes prior to copulation, but immediately after ejaculation there was a partial restoration of reflexes. Hence, the pressure of the penile sheath at the base of the penis is normally necessary for the evocation of reflexes in supine males. Following ejaculation, during a presumed condition of reduced supraspinal inhibition, the reflexes may be displayed without sheath stimulation. The penile sheath of the rat apparently contributes to copulatory behavior and to penile reflexes, but in rather different ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1979

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1This research was conducted at the University of Connecticut during ARL's sabbatic leave there from Skidmore College. Research supported by USPHS research grant HD-08933 to BDS, and by a grant from the University of Connecticut Research Foundation. L. D. Garinello, R. J. Valcourt, and A. Wagman assisted in testing the animals. Requests for reprints should be addressed to A. R. Lumia, Department of Psychology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866.

Keywords

  • Copulation
  • Ejaculation
  • Penile sheath
  • Postejaculatory interval
  • Sensory control
  • Sexual reflexes

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