Comment: Testosterone rises after copulation in rats, but within 24 hours it’s back to normal.

2006 Mar;49(3):376-82. Epub 2005 Sep 30.
Bonilla-Jaime H1, Vázquez-Palacios G, Arteaga-Silva M, Retana-Márquez S.


Plasma levels of corticosterone (C) and testosterone (T) increase after sexual activity in males of several species. However, the physiological significance of these increases has not been elucidated. In the present study, hormonal response to different conditions linked to sexual activity was assessed. In the first experiment, plasma levels of C and T were assessed both in sexually experienced and naive male rats after the following conditions: (A) control group, without sexual stimulation; (B) males exposed to ovariectomized females; (C) males exposed to intact, non-receptive females; (D) males exposed to receptive females with the vagina obstructed, to avoid intromission; (E) males exposed to receptive females: but separated by a grid that prevents physical contact; (F) males exposed to receptive females during 30 min. In a second experiment, experienced male rats were allowed to repeatedly copulate until reaching the criteria for sexual exhaustion, and 24 h later, they were allowed to copulate. Once sexually related conditions ended, males were killed and their blood was obtained. C and T plasma levels were assessed by HPLC with ultraviolet (UV) detection. Results indicate that T did not increase significantly in naive male in any sexual condition, while in the experienced males, significant increases were observed with the mere presence of a receptive female and also after ejaculation. These increases were significantly larger in experienced males. On the other hand, C also increased in all sexual conditions, both in experienced and naive rats; however, the increase observed was larger in experienced males. Regarding sexual satiety, both C and T increased after copulating ad libitum to satiety. T increased almost three-fold compared to control, while C increased two-fold. No significant changes were observed in either one of the steroids 24 h after sexual exhaustion, even though males remained with a receptive female during an hour. These results show that sexual experience has an important influence on the hormonal response to sexual activity. C rises could be directly related to sexual arousal involved in the different sexual conditions, while T rises seem to have a direct relationship with both the motivation and execution aspects of masculine sexual behavior.