Semi-quantitative [14C]2-deoxyglucose (2DG) autoradiography was used to map the neural responses of female hamsters to lordosis-inducing flank stimuli. Specifically, manual stimulation of one flank was used to maintain estrous females in lordosis for 20 min after an IV injection of 200 muCi/kg of 2DG. Hemispheric differences in 2DG uptake then were sought in brain nuclei implicated in the programming of lordosis, or in the mediation of somatosensory or hormonal influences on this response. The responses to lateralized flank stimulation included reliable contralateral elevations in 2DG uptake in the ventral posterior lateral nucleus of the thalamus (VPL), the dorsal mesencephalic central gray (dCG), and the tectum. Elevated activity on the part of the VPL may not be crucial for lordosis. However, the effects of flank stimulation on 2DG uptake by the dCG and tectum confirm and extend much previous evidence implicating the dorsal midbrain in the mediation of tactile and hormonal effects on sexual responses. For example, these results suggest that somatosensory influences on hamster lordosis are mediated by both the dCG and tectum. In addition, they suggest that these influences are strongly lateralized until at least this stage of sensory processing, leaving for some subsequent element of neural circuitry the task of translating these lateralized inputs into the bilaterally symmetric outputs ultimately required to program the normal, bilaterally symmetric, lordosis response.