Male reproductive anatomy
The male reproductive organs are the penis, testicles, epididymis, vas deferens and prostate gland. It is easier to see the male reproductive organs as they are mainly on the outside of the body.
The penis is made up of two main areas; the shaft, which is made of spongy tissue that fills with blood when the penis is erect, and the glans, the sensitive tip which is covered by foreskin in uncircumcised men. The penis has three functions:
- passing urine
- sexual pleasure
- transporting semen (including sperm) into the female vagina during sexual intercourse
The testicles are two oval shaped glands located in a sack of skin called the scrotum. The scrotum is situated behind the penis. One testicle hangs slightly lower than the other so they fit more comfortably. The testicles produces sperm and male sex hormones. They hang outside the body so they can be kept cooler than the rest of the body as this is important for the production of sperm.
The epididymis is a series of small tubes attached to the back of each testicle. The epididymis collects and stores sperm until it is released through the penis. The epididymis eventually becomes the vas deferens, which is a larger tube that transports sperm into a storage area in the prostate gland.
There are other glands as well as the prostate (seminal vesicles, bulbourethral glands and Cowper’s gland) that provide the sperm with nourishment and lubricating fluid. The mixture of sperm and other fluid is called semen.