[en] Besides their well-known genomic actions, oestrogens also exert effects through the activation of receptors associated with the plasma membrane that are too fast to be mediated by transcriptional activation (nongenomic effects). Although the existence of such rapid effects of oestrogens and their involvement in various biological processes are not in doubt, questions remain about the mechanisms responsible for the rapid modulations of oestrogen production that are required to sustain their nongenomic effects. Recent data indicate that the conversion of androgens into oestrogens in the brain by the enzyme aromatase can be rapidly modulated by conformational changes of the enzyme, thus providing a possible mechanism for rapid controls of the effects of oestrogens on male sexual behaviour. In this review, the data supporting this hypothesis are described. Subsequently, a few unanswered questions are discussed, such as the mechanism of oestrogen inactivation or the potential cellular sites of action of brain-derived oestrogens on male sexual behaviour.