Electrical stimulation of parts of the subthalamus and mesencephalon produces coordinated stepping movements, and for this reason these areas are sometimes referred to as the subthalamic and mesencephalic "locomotor" regions. In this study we contrast the sexual behavioral effect of electrolytic destruction of these two regions in the male rat. Lesions of the mesencephalic locomotor region had no significant effect on male sexual behavior. In contrast, subthalamic lesions centered on the caudal zona incerta just dorsal to the subthalamic nucleus eliminated sexual behavior in 6 of 15 males. The sexual behavior of the remaining males was affected to a lesser degree, for the most part in accord with the extent of destruction to this "critical zone." Subthalamic lesions produced no obvious impairment in locomotion, posture, limb use, muscle tone or sensorimotor orientation. Even so, the fact that electrical stimulation of the subthalamus elicits coordinated stepping suggests that the region is linked with systems directly concerned with movement and locomotion. These links could be particularly important in the process by which sexual motivation is translated into sexual behavior.