Sexual learning and brain plasticityHow does sexual learning and sexual conditioning work? The short answer is sensitisation. Sensitisation occurs when the brain wires together the sights, sounds, smells, sensations, emotions, and memories associated with a big reward, such as climax.

The resulting brain changes create a pathway that can trigger the brain’s reward system in the future. When activated by these triggers (cues), this pathway produces powerful, hard to ignore, urges.

These research items reveal some  of the neurochemical mechanisms involved in sexual learning.


mGluR5 activation in the nucleus accumbens is not essential for sexual behavior or cross-sensitization of amphetamine responses by sexual experience

Sexual experience influences mating-induced activity in nitric oxide synthase-containing neurons in the medial preoptic area

The Role of FosB in the Medial Preoptic Area: Differential Effects of Mating and Cocaine History