Concordia University

James G. Pfaus, PhD, IF

Professor, Psychology
Concordia University Research Fellow

Office: L-SP 247-3 
Richard J. Renaud Science Complex,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2189


Sexual behavior, animal, human, neuropharmacology, neuroendocrinology

My research is generally concerned with the neurochemical and molecular events that subserve sexual behavior and neuroendocrine functions. I am interested in the role of brain monoamine and neuropeptide systems in sexual arousal, desire, reward, and inhibition in laboratory animals. I am also interested in the inhibitory and disinhibitory effects of drugs of abuse on sexual behavior. Current research examines the role played by steroid hormones, neurotransmitter systems, and cell signalling mechanisms, in the neuronal and behavioral responses to primary and conditioned sexual stimuli, especially those that induce sexual partner preferences. The neurochemical and molecular systems activated by primary and conditioned sexual stimuli are being explored using a combination of in vivo techniques such as microdialysis, and ex vivo techniques such as immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization histochemistry, and autoradiography.

My research in human sexual function focuses on subjective and objective measures of sexual desire and pleasure in women and men, and how such measures are altered by different types of erotic stimulation. We are also exploring the sexual functioning of individuals under stress or with anxiety disorders.


My research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). I have also held consulting grants from several pharmaceutical and biotech companies, for example, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Lundbeck, and Emotional Brain, to examine potential sexual side-effects of different psychiatric medications and for work on the identification of new pharmacological tools to treat male and female sexual dysfunctions.

Current lab members

PhD Candidates
Lucia Faricello (Psychology - Cognitive)
Katuschia Germé (Biology - Behavioral Neuroscience)
M. Dean Graham (Psychology - Behavioral Neuroscience)
Amanda Holley (Biology - Behavioral Neuroscience)
Sherri Lee Jones (Psychology - Behavioral Neuroscience)
Tonje Persson (Psychology - Clinical)
Gonzalo Quintana Zunino (Psychology - Behavioral Neuroscience)
Julie Shilhan (Psychology - Clinical)
Lindsay Sparks (Psychology - Behavioral Neuroscience)

Masters Candidates
Christine Gerson (MA - Behavioral Neuroscience)
Maria Santaguida (MA - Cognitive)


Publication links

The Scientist - Let’s Talk About Sex

La Presse - SCIENCE - Sexe, rats et rock'n'roll

BTMTL: Concordia Professor Jim Pfaus on Aphrodisiacs

CTV News Montreal - The secret to love

Jones SL, Pfaus JG (2014) Sensitization of sexual behaviors in ovariectomized Long-Evans rats is induced by a subthreshold dose of estradiol benzoate and attenuated by repeated copulation. Horm Behav 66: 655-662. [PubMed]

Persson TJ, Pfaus JG, Ryder AG (2014) Explaining mental health disparities for non-monosexual women: Abuse history and risky sex, or the burdens of non-disclosure? Soc Sci Med. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Manzo J, Garcia LI, Carrillo P, Miquel M, Pfaus JG (2014) Neurobiology of social attachments. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 43:173-182. [PubMed] [Content]

Holley A, Shalev S, Bellevue S, Pfaus JG (2014) Conditioned mate-guarding behavior in the female rat. Physiol Behav 131:136-141. [PubMed] [Content]

Farmer MA, Leja A, Foxen-Craft E, Chan L, MacIntyre LC, Niaki T, Chen M, Mapplebeck JC, Tabry V, Topham L, Sukosd M, Binik YM, Pfaus JG, Mogil JS (2014) Pain reduces sexual motivation in female but not male mice. J Neurosci 34:5747-5753. [PubMed] [Content]

Cibrian-Llanderal T, Triana-Del Rio R, Tecamachaltzi-Silvaran M, Pfaus JG, Manzo J, Garcia LI, Coria-Avila GA (2014) Cohabitation between male rats after ejaculation: effects on conditioned partner preference. Physiol Behav 128:303-308. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgescu M, Afonso VM, Graham MD, Pfaus JG (2014) Glutamate release in the ventromedial hypothalamus of the female rat during copulation: modulation by estradiol. Horm Behav 65:119-126. [PubMed] [Content]

Parada M, Sparks LM, Censi S, Pfaus JG (2014) Clitoral anesthesia disrupts paced copulation in the female rat. Physiol Behav 123:180-186. [PubMed] [Content]

Graham MD, Pfaus JG (2013) Infusions of ascorbic acid into the medial preoptic area facilitate appetitive sexual behavior in the female rat. Physiol Behav 122:140-146. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Erickson KA, Talianakis S (2013) Somatosensory conditioning of sexual arousal and copulatory behavior in the male rat: a model of fetish development. Physiol Behav 122:1-7. [PubMed] [Content]

Parada M, Jafari N, Pfaus JG (2013) Sexual experience blocks the ability of clitoral stimulation to induce a conditioned place preference in the rat. Physiol Behav 119:97-102. [PubMed] [Content]

Jones SL, Farrell S, Gregory JG, Pfaus JG (2013) Sensitization of sexual behavior in ovariectomized rats by chronic estradiol treatment. Horm Behav 64:8-18. [PubMed] [Content]

Gelez H, Greggain-Mohr J, Pfaus JG, Allers KA, Giuliano F (2013) Flibanserin treatment increases appetitive sexual motivation in the female rat. J Sex Med 10:1231-1239. [PubMed] [Content]

Giraldi A, Rellini AH, Pfaus J, Laan E (2013) Female sexual arousal disorders. J Sex Med 10:58-73. [PubMed] [Content]

Bitzer J, Giraldi A, Pfaus J (2013) Sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Introduction and overview. Standard operating procedure (SOP Part 1). J Sex Med 10:36-49. [PubMed] [Content]

Bitzer J, Giraldi A, Pfaus J (2013) A standardized diagnostic interview for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women: standard operating procedure (SOP Part 2). J Sex Med 10:50-57. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Scepkowski LA, Marson L, Georgiadis JR (2013) Biology of the sexual response. In Tolman, DL & Diamond, LM (Eds.), APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, pp 143-203, Washington DC: APA Press.

Kim SW, Schenck CH, Grant JE, Yoon G, Dosa PI, Odlaug BL, Schreiber LRN, Hurwitz TD, Pfaus JG (2013) Neurobiology of sexual desire. NeuroQuantology 11:332-359. [Content]

Jones SL, Ismail N, King L, Pfaus JG (2012) The effects of chronic administration of testosterone propionate with or without estradiol on the sexual behavior and plasma steroid levels of aged female rats. Endocrinology 153:5928-5939. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgiadis JR, Kringelbach ML, Pfaus JG (2012) Sex for fun: a synthesis of human and animal neurobiology. Nat Rev Urol 9:486-498. [PubMed] [Content]

Parada M, Vargas EB, Kyres M, Burnside K, Pfaus JG (2012) The role of ovarian hormones in sexual reward states of the female rat. Horm Behav 62:442-447. [PubMed] [Content]

Graham MD, Pfaus JG (2012) Differential effects of dopamine antagonists infused to the medial preoptic area on the sexual behavior of female rats primed with estrogen and progesterone. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 102:532-539. [PubMed] [Content]

Paredes-Ramos P, Miquel M, Manzo J, Pfaus JG, Lopez-Meraz ML, Coria-Avila GA (2012) Tickling in juvenile but not adult female rats conditions sexual partner preference. Physiol Behav 107:17-25. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgescu M, Cyr D, Pfaus JG (2012) AMPA/kainate receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus mediate the effects of glutamate on estrus termination in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 102:146-150. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Kippin TE, Coria-Avila GA, Gelez H, Afonso VM, Ismail N, Parada M (2012) Who, what, where, when (and maybe even why)? How the experience of sexual reward connects sexual desire, preference, and performance. Arch Sex Behav 41:31-62. [PubMed] [Content]

Cacioppo S, Bianchi-Demicheli F, Frum C, Pfaus JG, Lewis JW (2012) The common neural bases between sexual desire and love: a multilevel kernel density fMRI analysis. J Sex Med 9:1048-1054. [PubMed] [Content]

Giraldi A, Rellini A, Pfaus JG, Bitzer J, Laan E, Jannini EA, Fugl-Meyer AR (2011) Questionnaires for assessment of female sexual dysfunction: A review and proposal for a standardized screener. J Sex Med 8:2681-2706. [PubMed] [Content]

Parada M, Abdul-Ahad F, Censi S, Sparks L, Pfaus JG (2011) Context alters the ability of clitoral stimulation to induce a sexually-conditioned partner preference in the rat. Horm Behav 59:520-527. [PubMed] [Content]

Ismail N, Jones SL, Graham MD, Sylvester S, Pfaus JG (2011) Partner preference for strain of female in Long-Evans male rats. Physiol Behav 102:285-290. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2011) A room of one's own. J Sex Med 8:335-336. [PubMed] [Content]

Paredes-Ramos P, Pfaus JG, Miquel M, Manzo J, Coria-Avila GA (2011) Sexual reward induces Fos in the cerebellum of female rats. Physiol Behav 102:143-148. [PubMed] [Content]

Paredes-Ramos P, Jones SL, Pérez-Pouchoulén M, Coria-Avila GA, Pfaus JG (2011) Progressive abdominal enlargement and limb weakness in aged, hormonally treated female rats. Lab Anim (NY) 40:14-17. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2010) Dopamine: helping males copulate for at least 200 million years: theoretical comment on Kleitz-Nelson et al. (2010) Behav Neurosci 124:877-880; discussion 881-883. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Pfaus JG, Cibrian-Llanderal T, Tecamachaltzi-Silvaran M, Triana-Del Rio R, Montero-Domínguez F, Paredes-Ramos P, López-Meraz L, Manzo J, García L (2010) Cómo aprender a comportarse… sexualmente. E Neurobiolgia Revista (in press).

Graham MD, Pfaus JG (2010) Differential regulation of female sexual behaviour by dopamine agonists in the medial preoptic area. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 97:284-292. [PubMed] [Content]

Giuliano F, Pfaus J, Balasubramanian S, Hedlund P, Hisasue S, Marson L, Wallen K (2010) Experimental models for the study of female and male sexual function. J Sex Med 7:2970-2995. [PubMed] [Content]

Montorsi F, Adaikan G, Becher E, Giuliano F, Khoury S, Lue TF, Sharlip I, Althof SE, Andersson KE, Brock G, Broderick G, Burnett A, Buvat J, Dean J, Donatucci C, Eardley I, Fugl-Meyer KS, Goldstein I, Hackett G, Hatzichristou D, Hellstrom W, Incrocci L, Jackson G, Kadioglu A, Levine L, Lewis RW, Maggi M, McCabe M, McMahon CG, Montague D, Montorsi P, Mulhall J, Pfaus J, Porst H, Ralph D, Rosen R, Rowland D, Sadeghi-Nejad H, Shabsigh R, Stief C, Vardi Y, Wallen K, Wasserman M (2010) Summary of the recommendations on sexual dysfunctions in men. J Sex Med 7:3572-3588. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Wilkins MF, Dipietro N, Benibgui M, Toledano R, Rowe A, Couch MC (2010) Inhibitory and disinhibitory effects of psychomotor stimulants and depressants on the sexual behavior of male and female rats. Horm Behav 58:163-176. [PubMed] [Content]

Ismail N, Laroche C, Girard-Beriault F, Menard S, Greggain-Mohr JA, Pfaus JG (2010) Conditioned ejaculatory preference in male rats paired with haloperidol-treated females. Physiol Behav 100:116-121. [PubMed] [Content]

Cibrian-Llanderal T, Tecamachaltzi-Silvaran M, Triana-Del Rio R, Pfaus JG, Manzo J, Coria-Avila GA (2010) Clitoral stimulation modulates appetitive sexual behavior and facilitates reproduction in rats. Physiol Behav 100:148-153. [PubMed] [Content]

Parada M, Chamas L, Censi S, Coria-Avila G, Pfaus JG (2010) Clitoral stimulation induces conditioned place preference and Fos activation in the rat. Horm Behav 57:112-118. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Tse TL, Werk CM, Chanda ML, Leblonde A, Harbour VL, Chapman CA (2009) Enhanced synaptic responses in the piriform cortex associated with sexual stimulation in the male rat. Neuroscience 164:1422-1430. [PubMed] [Content]

Ismail N, Girard-Bériault F, Nakanishi S, Pfaus JG (2009) Naloxone, but not flupenthixol, disrupts the development of conditioned ejaculatory preference in the male rat. Behav Neurosci 123:992-999. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgescu M, Sabongui C, Del Corpo A, Marsan L, Pfaus JG (2009). Vaginocervical stimulation induces Fos in glutamate neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus: attenuation by estrogen and progesterone. Horm Behav 56:450-456. [PubMed] [Content]

Korda JB, Pfaus JG, Kellner CH, Goldstein I (2009) Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD): case report of long-term symptomatic management with electroconvulsive therapy. J Sex Med 6:2901-2909. [PubMed] [Content]

Barbosa-Vargas E, Pfaus JG, Woodside B (2009) Sexual behavior in lactating rats: role of estrogen-induced progesterone receptors. Horm Behav 56:246-253. [PubMed] [Content]

Afonso VM, Mueller D, Stewart J, Pfaus JG (2009) Amphetamine pretreatment facilitates appetitive sexual behaviors in the female rat. Psychopharmacology, 205:35-43. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2009) Pathways of sexual desire. J Sex Med 6:1506-1533. [PubMed] [Content]

Korda JB, Pfaus JG, Goldstein I (2009) Persistent genital arousal disorder: a case report in a woman with lifelong PGAD where serendipitous administration of varenicline tartrate resulted in symptomatic improvement. J Sex Med 6:1479-1486. [PubMed] [Content]

Afonso VM, Lehmann H, Tse M, Woehrling A, Pfaus JG (2009) Estrogen and the neural mediation of female-male mounting in the rat. Behav Neurosci 123:369-381. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus J (2009) Aberrational blots or practice shots? The impact of "self-citation". (Editorial)J Sex Med 6:897-898. [PubMed] [Content]

Ismail N, Gelez H, Lachapelle I, Pfaus JG (2009) Pacing conditions contribute to the conditioned ejaculatory preference for a familiar female in the male rat. Physiol Behav 96:201-208. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2009) What's behind her smile? (Commentary) Horm Behav 55:265-266. [PubMed] [Content]

Burgdorf J, Kroes RA, Moskal JR, Pfaus JG, Brudzynski SM, Panksepp J (2008) Ultrasonic vocalizations of rats (Rattus norvegicus) during mating, play, and aggression: Behavioral concomitants, relationship to reward, and self-administration of playback.J Comp Psychol 122:357-367. [PubMed] [Content]

Ismail N, Zhao Y, Pfaus JG (2008) Context-dependent acquisition of copulatory behavior in the male rat: role of female availability.Behav Neurosci 122:991-997. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Hernández-Aguilar ME, Toledo-Cárdenas R, García-Hernández LI, Manzo J, Pacheco P, Miquel M, Pfaus JG (2008) Bases biológicas y neurales de las preferencias de pareja en roedores: modelos para entender los vínculos afectivos en humanos. [Biological and neural bases of partner preferences in rodents: models to understand human pair bonds]. Rev Neurol 47:209-214. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Solomon CE, Vargas EB, Lemme I, Ryan R, Ménard S, Gavrila AM, Pfaus JG (2008)Neurochemical basis of conditioned partner preference in the female rat: I. Disruption by naloxone.Behav Neurosci 122:385-395. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Gavrila AM, Boulard B, Charron N, Stanley G, Pfaus JG (2008) Neurochemical basis of conditioned partner preference in the female rat: II. Disruption by flupenthixol.Behav Neurosci 122:396-406. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Pfaus JG, Miquel M, Pacheco P, Manzo J (2008) Preferencias condicionadas por sexo y drogas: comparación de las bases neurales. [Conditioned preferences induced by sex and drugs: a comparison of the neural bases]. Rev Neurol 46:213-218. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus J (2008) The vermin that help us. (Editorial)J Sex Med 5:253-256 [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus J, Giuliano F, Gelez H (2007) Bremelanotide: an overview of preclinical CNS effects on female sexual function.J Sex Med 4:269-279. [PubMed] [Content]

Leri F, Sorge RE, Cummins E, Woehrling D, Pfaus JG, Stewart J (2007) High-dose methadone maintenance in rats: effects on cocaine self-administration and behavioral side effects.Neuropsychopharmacology 32:2290-2300. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Pfaus JG (2007) Neuronal activation by stimuli that predict sexual reward in female rats.Neuroscience 148:623-632. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Gavrila AM, Ménard S, Ismail N, Pfaus JG (2007) Cecum location in rats and the implications for intraperitoneal injections.Lab Animal 36:25-30. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Manzo J, Pacheco P, Pfaus JG (2007)Scrotal enlargement and constipation in a male rat. Scrotal fecal (or rectoscrotal) fistula.Lab Animal 36:17-19. [PubMed] [Content]

Rossler AS, Pfaus JG, Kia HK, Bernabe J, Alexandre L, Giuliano F (2006) The melanocortin agonist, melanotan II, enhances proceptive sexual behaviors in the female rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 85:514-521. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2006) Of rats and women: preclinical insights into the nature of female sexual desire. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 21:463-476. [Content]

Pfaus JG, Manitt C, Coopersmith CB (2006) Effects of pelvic, pudendal, or hypogastric nerve cuts on Fos induction in the rat brain following vaginocervical stimulation. Physiol Behav 89:627-636. [PubMed] [Content]

Afonso VM, Pfaus JG (2006) Hormonal and experiential control of female-male mounting in the female rat. Horm Behav 49:30-37. [PubMed] [Content]

Afonso VM, Woehrling A, Pfaus JG (2006) Sensory mediation of female-male mounting in the rat: I. Role of olfactory cues. Physiol Behav 87:857-862. [PubMed] [Content]

Afonso VM, Bablekis V, Pfaus JG (2006) Sensory mediation of female-male mounting in the rat: II. Role of tactile and conspecific cues. Physiol Behav 87:863-869. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Menard S, Boulard B, Ryan R, Lemme I, Pfaus JG (2006) Fecal bulking in a frequently mated female rat. Colonic obstruction due to severe vaginal distension. Lab Anim (NY) 35:20-23. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Gavrila AM, Jacubovich M, Menard S, Pfaus JG (2006) Cachexia and sialorrhea in a female rat. Lab Anim (NY) 35:18-20. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Jones SL, Solomon CE, Gavrila AM, Jordan GJ, Pfaus JG (2006) Conditioned partner preference in female rats for strain of male. Physiol Behav 88:529-537. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgescu M, Pfaus JG (2006) Role of glutamate receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus in the regulation of female rat sexual behaviors I. Behavioral effects of glutamate and its selective receptor agonists AMPA, NMDA and kainate. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 83:322-332. [PubMed] [Content]

Georgescu M, Pfaus JG (2006) Role of glutamate receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus in the regulation of female rat sexual behaviors. II. Behavioral effects of selective glutamate receptor antagonists AP-5, CNQX, and DNQX. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 83:333-341. [PubMed] [Content]

Toledano R, Pfaus J (2006) The Sexual Arousal and Desire Inventory (SADI): a multidimensional scale to assess subjective sexual arousal and desire. J Sex Med 3:853-877. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Scepkowski LA (2005)The biologic basis for libido. Curr Sex Health Rep 2:95-100. [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Barbosa-Vargas E, Pfaus JG (2005) Sudden bladder distention in a female rat. Lab Anim (NY) 34:22-23,24-25. [PubMed] [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Ouimet AJ, Pacheco P, Manzo J, Pfaus JG (2005) Olfactory conditioned partner preference in the female rat. Behav Neurosci 119:716-725. [PubMed] [Content]

Vasey PL, Pfaus JG (2005) A sexually dimorphic hypothalamic nucleus in a macaque species with frequent female-female mounting and same-sex sexual partner preference. Behav Brain Res 157:265-272. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Shadiack A, Van Soest T, Tse M, Molinoff P (2004) Selective facilitation of sexual solicitation in the female rat by a melanocortin receptor agonist. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101:10201-10204. [PubMed] [Content]

Giraldi A, Marson L, Nappi R, Pfaus J, Traish AM, Vardi Y, Goldstein I (2004) Physiology of female sexual function: animal models. J Sex Med 1:237-253. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2004) State of the art II: neurophysiology of sexual desire: L2: neurophysiology of sexual desire.J Sex Med 1:2-3. [Content]

Coria-Avila GA, Pfaus JG, Hernandez ME, Manzo J, Pacheco P (2004) Timing between ejaculations changes paternity success. Physiol Behav 80:733-737. [PubMed] [Content]

Kippin TE, Sotiropoulos V, Badih J, Pfaus JG (2004) Opposing roles of the nucleus accumbens and anterior lateral hypothalamic area in the control of sexual behaviour in the male rat. Eur J Neurosci 19:698-704. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Kippin TE, Coria-Avila G (2003) What can animal models tell us about human sexual response? Annu Rev Sex Res 14:1-63. [PubMed] [PDF]

Kippin TE, Cain SW, Pfaus JG (2003) Estrous odors and sexually conditioned neutral odors activate separate neural pathways in the male rat. Neuroscience 117:971-979. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Kippin TE, Centeno S (2001) Conditioning and sexual behavior: a review. Horm Behav 40:291-321. [PubMed] [Content]

Kippin TE, Pfaus JG (2001) The nature of the conditioned response mediating olfactory conditioned ejaculatory preference in the male rat. Behav Brain Res 122:11-24. [PubMed] [Content]

Kippin TE, Pfaus JG (2001) The development of olfactory conditioned ejaculatory preferences in the male rat. I. Nature of the unconditioned stimulus. Physiol Behav 73:457-469. [PubMed] [Content]

Kippin TE, Samaha AN, Sotiropoulos V, Pfaus JG (2001) The development of olfactory conditioned ejaculatory preferences in the male rat. II. Parametric manipulation of conditioning session number and duration. Physiol Behav 73:471-485. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2000) Understanding sex in the brain. Cell 101:153-156. [Content]

Pfaus JG, Smith WJ, Coopersmith CB (1999) Appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors of female rats in bilevel chambers. I. A correlational and factor analysis and the effects of ovarian hormones. Horm Behav 35:224-240. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Smith WJ, Byrne N, Stephens G (2000) Appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors of female rats in bilevel chambers. II. Patterns of estrus termination following vaginocervical stimulation. Horm Behav 37:96-107. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (1999) Revisiting the concept of sexual motivation. Annu Rev Sex Res 10:120-156. [PubMed] [PDF]

Pfaus JG (1999) Neurobiology of sexual behavior. Curr Opin Neurobiol 9:751-758. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Smith WJ, Coopersmith CB (1999) Appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors of female rats in bilevel chambers. I. A correlational and factor analysis and the effects of ovarian hormones. Horm Behav 35:224-240. [PubMed] [Content]

Cantor JM, Binik YM, Pfaus JG (1999) Chronic fluoxetine inhibits sexual behavior in the male rat: reversal with oxytocin. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 144:355-362. [PubMed] [Content]

Kippin TE, Talianakis S, Schattmann L, Bartholomew S, Pfaus JG (1998) Olfactory conditioning of sexual behavior in the male rat (Rattus norvegicus). J Comp Psychol 112:389-399. [Content]

Pfaus JG, Heeb MM (1997) Implications of immediate-early gene induction in the brain following sexual stimulation of female and male rodents. Brain Res Bull 44:397-407. [PubMed] [Content]

Smith WJ, Stewart J, Pfaus JG (1997) Tail pinch induces fos immunoreactivity within several regions of the male rat brain: effects of age. Physiol Behav 61:717-723. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Marcangione C, Smith WJ, Manitt C, Abillamaa H (1996) Differential induction of Fos in the female rat brain following different amounts of vaginocervical stimulation: modulation by steroid hormones. Brain Res 741:314-330. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (1996) Frank A. Beach award. Homologies of animal and human sexual behaviors. Horm Behav 30:187-200. [PubMed] [Content]

Arvanitogiannis A, Flores C, Pfaus JG, Shizgal P (1996) Increased ipsilateral expression of Fos following lateral hypothalamic self-stimulation. Brain Res 720:148-154. [PubMed] [Content]

McCarthy MM, Pfaus JG (1996) Steroid modulation of neurotransmitter function to alter female reproductive behavior. Trends Endocrinol Metab 7:327-333. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Damsma G, Wenkstern D, Fibiger HC (1995) Sexual activity increases dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens and striatum of female rats. Brain Res 693:21-30. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Wilkins MF (1995) A novel environment disrupts copulation in sexually naive but not experienced male rats: reversal with naloxone. Physiol Behav 57:1045-1049. [PubMed] [Content]

Edelstein K, Pfaus JG, Rusak B, Amir S (1995) Neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment prevents effects of constant light on circadian temperature rhythms of adult rats. Brain Res 675:135-142. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Jakob A, Kleopoulos SP, Gibbs RB, Pfaff DW (1994) Sexual stimulation induces Fos immunoreactivity within GnRH neurons of the female rat preoptic area: interaction with steroid hormones. Neuroendocrinology 60:283-290. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Kleopoulos SP, Mobbs CV, Gibbs RB, Pfaff DW (1993) Sexual stimulation activates c-fos within estrogen-concentrating regions of the female rat forebrain. Brain Res 624:253-267. [PubMed] [Content]

Flanagan LM, Pfaus JG, Pfaff DW, McEwen BS (1993) Induction of FOS immunoreactivity in oxytocin neurons after sexual activity in female rats. Neuroendocrinology 58:352-358. [PubMed] [Content]

McCarthy MM, Brooks PJ, Pfaus JG, Brown HE, Flanagan LM, Schwartz-Giblin S, Pfaff DW (1993) Antisense oligodeoxynucleotides in behavioral neuroscience. Neuroprotocols 2:67-74. [Content]

Wenkstern D, Pfaus JG, Fibiger HC (1993) Dopamine transmission increases in the nucleus accumbens of male rats during their first exposure to sexually receptive female rats. Brain Res 618:41-46. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Pfaff DW (1992) Mu-, delta-, and kappa-opioid receptor agonists selectively modulate sexual behaviors in the female rat: differential dependence on progesterone. Horm Behav 26:457-473. [PubMed] [Content]

Blackburn JR, Pfaus JG, Phillips AG (1992) Dopamine functions in appetitive and defensive behaviours. Prog Neurobiol 39:247-279. [PubMed] [Content]

Damsma G, Pfaus JG, Wenkstern D, Phillips AG, Fibiger HC (1992) Sexual behavior increases dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens and striatum of male rats: comparison with novelty and locomotion. Behav Neurosci 106:181-191. [PubMed] [Content]

Pinel JP, Pfaus JG, Christensen BK (1992) Contingent tolerance to the disruptive effects of alcohol on the copulatory behavior of male rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 41:133-137. [PubMed] [Content]

Fibiger HC, Nomikos GG, Pfaus JG, Damsma G (1992) Sexual behavior, eating and mesolimbic dopamine. Clin Neuropharmacol 15 Suppl 1 Pt A:566A-567A. [PubMed]

Pfaus JG, Phillips AG (1991) Role of dopamine in anticipatory and consummatory aspects of sexual behavior in the male rat. Behav Neurosci 105:727-743. [PubMed] [Content]

Kaplitt MG, Pfaus JG, Kleopoulos SP, Hanlon BA, Rabkin SD, Pfaff DW (1991) Expression of a functional foreign gene in adult mammalian brain following in Vivo transfer via a herpes simplex virus type 1 defective viral vector. Mol Cell Neurosci 2:320-330. [PubMed] [Content]

Robertson GS, Pfaus JG, Atkinson LJ, Matsumura H, Phillips AG, Fibiger HC (1991) Sexual behavior increases c-fos expression in the forebrain of the male rat. Brain Res 564:352-357. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Damsma G, Nomikos GG, Wenkstern DG, Blaha CD, Phillips AG, Fibiger HC (1990) Sexual behavior enhances central dopamine transmission in the male rat. Brain Res 530:345-348. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Mendelson SD, Phillips AG (1990) A correlational and factor analysis of anticipatory and consummatory measures of sexual behavior in the male rat. Psychoneuroendocrinology 15:329-340. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Phillips AG (1989) Differential effects of dopamine receptor antagonists on the sexual behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 98:363-368. [PubMed] [Content]Pfaus JG, Pinel JPJ (1989) Alcohol inhibits and disinhibits sexual behavior in the male rat. Psychobiol 17:195-201. [Content]

Mendelson SD, Pfaus JG (1989) Level searching: a new assay of sexual motivation in the male rat. Physiol Behav 45:337-341. [PubMed] [Content]

Paul D, Mana MJ, Pfaus JG, Pinel JP (1988) Attenuation of morphine analgesia by the S2 antagonists, pirenperone and ketanserin. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 31:641-647. [PubMed] [Content]Pfaus JG, Blackburn JR, Harpur TJ, MacDonald M, Mana MJ, Jacobs WJ (1988) Has psychology ever been a science of behavior? A comment on Skinner. American Psychologist 43:821-822. [Content]

Blackburn JR, Pfaus JG (1988) Is motivation really modulation? A comment on Wise. Psychobiol 16:303-304. [Content]Jacobs WJ, Blackburn JR, Buttrick M, Harpur TJ, Kennedy D, Mana MJ, MacDonald MA, McPhereson L, Paul D, Pfaus JG (1988) Observations. Psychobiol 16:3-19. [Content]

Pfaus JG, Gorzalka BB (1987) Opioids and sexual behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 11:1-34. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Gorzalka BB (1987) Selective activation of opioid receptors differentially affects lordosis behavior in female rats. Peptides 8:309-317. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Phillips AG (1987) Cholecystokinin facilitates ejaculation in male rats: blockade with proglumide and apomorphine. Eur J Pharmacol 141:331-338. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Myronuk LD, Jacobs WJ (1986) Soundtrack contents and depicted sexual violence. Arch Sex Behav 15:231-237. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG, Pendleton N, Gorzalka BB (1986) Dual effect of morphiceptin on lordosis behavior: possible mediation by different opioid receptor subtypes. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 24:1461-1464. [PubMed] [Content]

Pfaus JG (2010) Biology of libido. In: Mulhall J, Goldstein I, Incrocci L, Rosen R (Eds.), Cancer and Sexuality (in press). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Pfaus JG, Ismail N, Coria-Avila GA. (2010) Sexual motivation. In: Koob G, Thompson D, Le Moal, M (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, pp 201-209. New York: Elsevier. [DOI]

Rowland DL, Pfaus JG (2009) Sexual development: Physiological development. In: Dixon S (Ed.) The Chicago Companion to the Child. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Pfaus JG (2007) Models of sexual motivation. In: Janssen E (Ed.) The Psychophysiology of Sex, pp. 340-362. Indiana U. Press.

Giuliano F, McKenna K, Srilatha B, Pfaus JG (2006)Preclinical research and animal models in sexual medicine. In: Porst H, Buvat J (Eds.) Standard Practice in Sexual Medicine, pp. 1-17. London: Blackwell. [DOI] [Content]

Scepkowski LA, Georgescu M, Pfaus JG (2006)Neuroendocrine factors in sexual desire and motivation. In: Goldstein I, Meston C, Davis K, Traish A (Eds.) Women's Sexual Function and Dysfunction (pp. 159-167). London: Taylor and Francis. [PDF]

Goldstein I, Giraldi A, Kodigliu A, van Lunsen HW, Marson L, Nappi R, Pfaus JG, Salonia A, Traish A, Vardi Y (2004)Physiology of female sexual function and pathophysiology of female sexual dysfunction. In: Khoury S (Ed.) Sexual Medicine: Sexual Dysfunctions in Men and Women (pp. 683-747). WHO Press, Paris.

Pfaus JG (2002)Sexual differentiation of sexual behavior. In: International Symposium on Environmental Endocrine Disruptors. Tokyo, Nippon Press. [PDF]

Pfaus JG (2001)Contributions to the Dictionary of Biological Psychology. Winn P (Ed.) London: Routledge.

Pfaus JG (1997)Sexy GnRH neurons. In: Parhar IS, Sakuma Y (Eds.) GnRH neurons: Gene to behavior (pp. 367-388). Tokyo: Brain Shuppan Publishers.

Pfaus JG (1995)Neural mechanisms of sexual motivation and performance in females. In Bancroft J (Ed.) The pharmacology of sexual function and dysfunction (pp. 37-48). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Pfaus JG, Everitt BJ (1995).The psychopharmacology of sexual behavior. In Bloom FE, Kupfer DJ (Eds) Psychopharmacology: The fourth generation of progress (pp. 743-758). New York: Raven Press.

Pfaff DW, Brooks PJ, Funabashi T, Pfaus JG, Mobbs CV (1992) Gene memory in neuroendocrine and behavioural systems. Ciba Found Symp 168:165-183; discussion 183-186. [PubMed] [DOI]

Phillips AG, Blaha CD, Pfaus JG, Blackburn JR (1992) Neurobiological correlates of positive emotional states: Dopamine, anticipation, and reward. In: Strongman K (Ed.) International review of studies on emotion, Vol. 2 (pp. 31-50). Chichester: Wiley.

Phillips AG, Pfaus JG, Blaha CD (1991) Dopamine and motivated behavior: Insights provided by in vivo analyses. In: Willner P, Scheel-Kruger J (Eds.) The mesolimbic dopamine system: From motivation to action (pp. 199-224). London: Wiley.

Pfaus JG, Pinel JPJ (1990) Alcohol inhibits and disinhibits sexual behavior. In: Pinel JPJ (Ed.) Current research in biopsychology (pp. 211-219). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Pfaus JG, Pinel JPJ, Christensen BK (1988) Effects of alcohol on the sexual behavior of male rats: Disruption, disinhibition, and tolerance. In: Kuriyama K, Takada A, Ishii H (Eds.) Biomedical aspects of alcohol and alcoholism (pp.443-446). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


Jim Pfaus received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1990. Following postdoctoral training in molecular biology and behavior with Dr. Donald Pfaff at the Rockefeller University (1990-1992), he joined the Department of Psychology and the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology at Concordia University where he is a full professor. Jim was the 1995 recipient of the Frank A. Beach Award from the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, and in 1997 was inducted into the International Academy of Sex Research. He received the Frank A. Beach Comparative Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association in 2009, the Sandra Lieblum Lectureship from the International Society for Sexual Medicine in 2011, the Herbert Thomas Award from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in 2012, the Concordia University Research Award in 2013, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in 2014. He was made a fellow (IF) of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and a Concordia Research Fellow, both in 2013.  Jim serves on the Standards Committee of the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) and on the Board of Directors of ISSWSH. Jim is an associate editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and Sexual Medicine Reviews, section editor for preclinical research and psychophysiology for Current Sexual Health Reports, and serves on the editorial boards of the Behavioral Neuroscience, Hormones and Behavior, and Physiology and Behavior. He is also an associate editor of the APA Handbook of Psychology and Sexuality. At Concordia, Jim serves as Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee, Vice-Chair of the Animal Research Ethics Committee, and is a Fellow of Concordia’s Science College.  He is cross-appointed in the graduate programs of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Exercise Science.

Fun fact

Jim’s son Josh (age 11) is an amazing violin and hockey player.

Lab Alumni

Former Postdoctoral Fellows
Shavindra Dias, MD (Department of Medicine, University of Columbo, Sri Lanka)
Sarah Farrell, PhD (Research Scientist, Department of Physiology, University of Rochester, Rochester,     NY)
Hélène Gelez, PhD (Senior Research Scientist, Pelvipharm SAS, Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris, France)
Paul Vasey, PhD (Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB)
Carol Coopersmith, PhD (Senior Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA)

Former Graduate Students
Mayte Parada, PhD (PDF, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montréal, QC)
Michaela Georgescu, PhD (Clinical psychologist in private practice, Hudson, QC)
Bita Sharifzadeh, PhD (Clinical psychologist in private practice, Montréal, QC)
Nafissa Ismail, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)
Veronica Afonso, PhD  (Research Associate, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, QC)
Genaro A. Coria-Avila, DVM, PhD (Investigador Titular, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, VER, México)
Wendy Smith, PhD (Clinical psychologist in private practice, Pointe Claire, QC)
Rachel Toledano, PhD (Clinical psychologist in private practice, Montréal, QC)
Soraya Centeno, PhD (Curator, Galerie Sorance, Victoria, BC)
Tod Kippin, PhD (Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
James Cantor, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Center for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON)

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