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Male Reproductive Anatomy

In order to have a good understanding of reproductive problems, it helps to understand the reproductive system itself. The primary purpose of the male reproductive system is to enable reproduction. To do this, this system of organs creates, stores, transports, and discharges sperm and semen, as well as produces and secretes male sex hormones.

Many of the male reproductive organs are located on the outside of the body. However, the internal portion of of the male reproductive system is important and plays a huge role in the “machinery” of the male anatomy.

The external organs of the male reproductive anatomy are:

  • Penis – Probably the most immediately recognizable part of the male anatomy, the penis is vital for reproduction. The urethra runs through this organ, allowing urination and ejaculation. The shaft of the penis contains a soft, sponge-like tissue that fills with blood and stiffens and enlarges the penis during sexual arousal, allowing for penetration of the man’s partner.

  • Scrotum – This loose sac of skin hangs beneath and behind the penis. The scrotum houses the testicles, several nerves, and blood vessels. The scrotum also helps ensure the man’s testicles remain at an appropriate temperature, slightly lower than the temperature of the body. In cold climates, the scrotum contracts, drawing the testicles nearer to the body to provide additional heat, and in warm climates, the scrotum expands, allowing the testicles to cool down.

  • Testicles (Testes) – These oval-shaped glands are usually about the size of large olives. Most men have two testicles, which are responsible for generating the male hormone testosterone, as well as creating sperm.

The internal organs include:

  • Epididymis – This long, coiled tube that rests in the back of each testicle transports and stores sperm. This is where the sperm grow to maturity. During sexual arousal, contractions force the sperm into the vas deferens.

  • Vas Deferens – This long, muscular tube carries the matured sperm to the urethra.

  • Seminal Vesicles –  These sac-like pouches join the vas deferens just behind the man’s bladder, and produce a sugar-rich fluid to energize the sperm on its journey. This is where most of the ejaculatory fluid is made.

  • Urethra – In either sex, the urethra transports urine from the bladder out of the body. In men, this tube has the additional task of ejaculating semen. Urination is extremely difficult and usually not possible while the penis is erect, so the man’s partner needn’t worry about being urinated in or on during orgasm.

  • Prostate – This small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder surrounds the urethra, adding nourishing fluid to the semen before ejaculation.

  • Bulbourethral Glands – Also called the Cowper’s Glands, these pea-sized glands produce a clear, slippery liquid directly into the urethra. This liquid lubricates and cleans the urethra, counteracting any acidity that may be left from urination.