In the field of behavioral neuroscience, it is essential to use the appropriate animal models for the topic of investigation. Using the wrong model can result in false interpretation of the results. In this review we will discuss the animal models used to study sexual behavior, with a focus on rats. We will discuss the potentials and pitfalls of the different paradigms and try to make recommendations on how research in this field could be optimized. Both male and female sexual behavior are discussed, in addition to sexual motivation.