- The Coolidge effect is the sexual motivation renewal due to sexual novelty.
- Several reports in males, mostly related to sexual satiety which involves various neurobiological changes.
- Studies in females are scarce, but with growing evidence indicating that sexual novelty also influences sexual motivation.
- Sexual novelty modifies sexual behavior in men and women, possibly in a sex-specific manner.
- The effects of sexual novelty and motivation differ between sexes because of the differences in mating behavior features.
The Coolidge effect is the renewal of sexual behavior after the presentation of a novel sexual partner and possibly occurs as the result of habituation and dishabituation processes. This re-motivation to copulate is well studied in males and is commonly related to sexual satiety, which involves several neurobiological changes in steroid receptors and their mRNA expression in the CNS. On the other hand, there are few reports studying sexual novelty in females and have been limited to behavioral aspects. Here we report that the levels of rat proceptive behavior, a sign of sexual motivation, declines after 4 h of continuous mating, particularly in females that were unable to regulate the time of mating. Such reduction was not accompanied by changes in lordosis, suggesting that they were not due to the vanishing of the endocrine optimal milieu necessary for the expression of both components of sexual behavior in the female rat. These and previous data support important differences between sexual behavior in both sexes that would result in natural divergences in the Coolidge effect expression. We here also review some reports in humans showing peculiarities between the pattern of habituation and dishabituation in women and men. This is a growing research field that needs emphasis in female subjects.