Studies in monogamous rodents have begun to elucidate the neural circuitry underlying the formation and maintenance of selective pair bonds between mates. This research suggests that at least three distinct, yet interconnected, neural pathways interact in the establishment of the pair bond. These include circuits involved in conveying somatosensory information from the genitalia to the brain during sexual activity, the mesolimbic dopamine circuits of reward and reinforcement, and neuropeptidergic circuits involved specifically in the processing of socially salient cues. Here we present an integrated description of the interaction of these circuits in a model of pair bond formation in rodents with a discussion of the implications of these findings for evolution, individual variation, and human bonding. J. Comp. Neurol. 493:51–57, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.