Understanding the Male Anatomy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
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:
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 2/17/2016
Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS