Background notes

 

Reproductive and sexual anatomy: Males

 

Overview

The male reproductive and sexual anatomy includes the external and internal sex organs, such as the penis and testes, and the internal reproductive organs, such as the urethra and seminal vesicle. The male reproductive system produces hormones, which help a boy develop into a sexually mature man during puberty. Males also use these organs to produce and release semen into the reproductive system of a female during sexual intercourse where it can fertilise an egg.

Male reproductive organs

 
Organ Description Function
Testes Egg shaped organs that sit in a soft pouch called the scrotum Produce sperm
Scrotum A sac of skin that contains the testes Helps to regulate the temperature of the testicles to 36.8 °C which is slightly less than the body’s core temperature
Epididymis Tightly coiled tube inside the testes Sperm travel from testes to the epididymis where they mature - grow tails and are able to swim
Sperm duct (vas deferens) The tubes coming out of each epididymis During ejaculation, mature sperm travel along the vas deferens to the seminal vesicles
Seminal vesicle Sac like gland that merges with vas deferens; 5 x 10 cm Contributes 60% of seminal fluid which contains energy for the sperm in the form of fructose
Prostate gland Gland at base of the bladder Produces alkaline fluid, contributes 10-30% of seminal fluid
Cowper's gland Small gland beneath prostate gland Releases neutralising (pre-ejaculate) fluid to counter any traces of acidic urine still present in the urethra 
Urethra Tube running internally from bladder to penis and outside the body

Tube through which urine and semen pass to outside of body

Semen and urine cannot exit the body at the same time
Penis

Consists of the shaft or body and the head or glans

Is made of spongy tissue that grows and expands when filled with blood during an erection

The head is highly sensitive, containing a massive number of nerve endings and is covered with a protective foreskin

Passage of urine and sperm outside the body

Sexual pleasure

Relevant resources

Illustrations

Male reproductive system

Circumcision

Fact sheets/booklets/videos

Boys and puberty


This Background Note relates to the following Learning Activities: