Lordosis behaviour was induced in immature 20-day-old male rats by sequential treatment with oestradiol benzoate (OB) and progesterone, but prepubertal male rats were behaviourally less sensitive to the OB and progesterone treatment than were female rats. Thus, the sex difference in the lordosis response was present early during development. Castration at various times after birth showed that the capacity of immature rats to show lordosis is normally inhibited by an action of testicular secretions exerted during the first 10 days of life. Treatment of day 0 castrated rats with OB, either as a single injection given on the day of birth or as daily injections given on the first 10 days after birth, was much more effective in inhibiting the display of lordosis behaviour at 30 and 37 days of age than was treatment with testosterone benzoate (TB). Treatment with dihydrotestosterone benzoate neonatally had no inhibitory effect. Treatment of intact male rats or day 0 castrated OB-or TB-treated rats with the anti-oestrogen ethamoxytriphetol (MER-25) during the first 10 days of life antagonized the inhibitory effect of the testes and of the OB or TB treatment on the development of the lordosis response. It is suggested that during normal development oestradiol formed in the brain from testosterone in the circulation acts during the first 10 days of life to inhibit the capacity of male rats to show lordosis when adult.