The Reproductive System

Male Reproductive System

Like all biological systems, the male reproductive system is comprised of several organs. These organs are located outside or within the pelvis.

The main male reproductive organs are the penis and the testicles, which are located external to the body. 

The penis is composed of a long shaft and a bulbous end called the glans penis. The glans penis is usually surrounded by an extension of skin called the foreskin (though this often is removed in a cosmetic procedure called circumcision). The penis has three internal compartments (the corpus cavernosum) that contain erectile tissue. When a male is sexually aroused, this tissue becomes suffused with blood, increasing pressure, and the penis becomes larger and erect.

The testes (analogous to the female ovaries), or testicles, are retained in a pouch of skin called the scrotum, which descends from the base of the penis. The scrotum contains nerves and blood vessels needed to support the testicles’ functions. The scrotum also regulates the temperature of the testicles by contracting (drawing the testicles closer to the warmer body) or relaxing (allowing the testicles to move away from the warmer body).

Male Reproductive System

Each testicle (or testis) produces sperm (analogous to the female ova), which are passed into a series of coiled tubules called the epididymis. The epididymis stores and nurtures sperm until they are passed into the vas deferens, a tubule that is about 30 centimeters long, extending from the testicle into the pelvis and ending at the ejaculatory duct. The epididymis and vas deferens are supported by several accessory glands (the seminal vesicles, the prostate gland, and the Cowper glands) that produce fluid components of semen and support the sperm cells. During male orgasm, semen passes through the ejaculatory duct into the urethra and is ejaculated from the penis through the urethral opening.

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