Reproductive Behaviour Overview - Anatomy & Physiology

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During embryogenesis, sexual differentiation occurs, during which the brain is programmed to be either male or female. In most mammals, reproductive behaviours are sexually differentiated. For example, mounting, erection and ejaculation are typically male behaviours, while standing to be mounted (lordosis),crouching and elevated locomotion are typically female behaviours. These behaviours are endocrine controlled, the presence of gonadal steroids (oestrogen and testosterone) is obligatory for normal reproductive behaviour.

The purpose of reproductive behaviour is to promote the opportunity for copulation and thus increase the probability that sperm and oocyte will meet. In the female, sexual receptivity occurs only during Oestrus and is characterized by distinct behaviour and mating posture. In the male, reproductive behaviour can occur potentially any time. Sexual arousal in the male involves a cascade of endocrine and neural events that result in erection of the penis, mounting of the sexually receptive female, intromission and ejaculation. Erection of the penis involves specific neural and biochemical events that culminate in the penis vasodilating. Ejaculation is a reflex that is initiated by stimulation of the glans penis and concludes with expulsion of semen.