Post-Copulatory Behaviour - Anatomy & Physiology

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  • Post-copulatory behaviour may be considered in three stages.
    • Dismount
    • Refractory Period
    • Memory

Refractory Period

  • Following ejaculation, all males experience a refractory period (commonly referred to as 'sexual exhaustion') before a second ejaculation can occur.
  • Length of refractory period depends on several factors:
    • Degree of sexual rest prior to copulation
    • Age of male
    • Degree of female novelty
    • Number of previous ejaculations
  • Normal for a male to copulate repeatedly with the same female.
    • Stallion will breed a mare in heat 5-10 times during one Oestrus period.
    • Rams remate with the same ewe 4-5 times.
    • Bulls remate with the same cow repeatedly.
    • Boars normally serve sows several times over a period of 1-2 days.
  • During the refractory period, further stimuli will not cause immediate responsiveness or motivation under a given set of stimulus conditions.
  • Restimulation may occur after the refractory period.
  • Large variation in behavioural reserves (behavioural capacity/libido) among species.
  • Large variation in libido within species.
    • Governed by genetic and environmental factors.