The Drosophila melanogaster laboratory model has been used extensively in studies of sexual conflict because during the process of courtship and mating, males impose several costs upon females (e.g., reduced fecundity). One important difference between the laboratory and the wild is that females in the laboratory lack a spatial refuge from persistent male courtship. Here, we describe two experiments that examine the potential consequences of a spatial refuge for females. In the first experiment, we examined the influence of a spatial refuge on mating rate of females, and in the second one we examined its influence on females' lifetime fecundity. We found that females mated about 25% less often when a spatial refuge was available, but that the absence of a spatial refuge did not substantially increase the level of male-induced harm to females (i.e., sexual conflict). © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved.