The Male Anatomy
(Male Reproductive Organs)
Diagram, Chart, and Pictures of the Male Reproductive System
The male reproductive system includes the following structures:
- Testes (testicles)
- Vas deferens
- Seminal vesicles
- Prostate gland
Male reproductive system. Longitudinal section of the penis and its relationship to the bladder and the urethra.
The penis consists of three main parts: the root, the body, and the glans penis.
- The root is attached to the abdominal and pelvic wall.
- The body is the middle portion. The body of the penis consists of three cylindrical spaces of soft tissue. When the two larger spaces fill with blood, the penis becomes large and rigid, forming an erection.
- Two larger cylindrical spaces of soft tissue, called the corpora cavernosa, are located side by side and form the bulk of the penis.
- The third cylindrical space of soft tissue, called the corpus spongiosum, surrounds the urethra, which forms the urinary passage.
- The glans penis is the cone-shaped end or head of the penis, which is the termination of the corpus spongiosum. The small ridge that separates the glans penis from the shaft or body of the penis is called the corona.
The scrotum is a thin sac of skin and thin muscle in which lie the testicles. The scrotum acts as a climate control system, allowing the testicles to be slightly away from the rest of the body and keeping them slightly cooler than normal body temperature for optimal sperm development. The muscles in the scrotum, called the cremasteric muscles, move the testicles slightly within the scrotum depending on the surrounding temperature.
The testes (or testicles) are two olive-sized oval bodies, one on the right side and one on the left side. The testes have two main functions:
- to produce sperm (the male reproductive cell), and
- to produce testosterone (the male sex hormone).
The epididymides and the vasa deferentia are attached to the testicles and are important in transporting sperm cells after they develop in the testes.
The term testicles includes the testes as well as the surrounding structures, such as the vas deferens and the epididymis. These two names, testes and testicles, are often used interchangeably even though their definitions are slightly different.
Vas Deferens and Seminal Vesicles
Once sperm are produced, they travel through a collection area, called the epididymis, and then through a tube or duct, called the vas deferens, which then joins the seminal vesicles to form the ejaculatory duct. The seminal vesicles produce a fluid that provides nutrients for the sperm and lubricates the urethra. This fluid mixes with other fluids to create the semen.
During ejaculation, muscles surrounding the seminal vesicles contract and push out the sperm and the fluid from the seminal vesicles, much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. The seminal vesicles are located behind the prostate and the bladder.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2017
Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS
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