The Male Reproductive System

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The organs of the male reproductive system are specialized for the following functions:

To produce, maintain and transport sperm (the male reproductive cells) and protective fluid (semen) To discharge sperm within the female reproductive tract
To produce and secrete male sex hormones
The male reproductive anatomy includes internal and external structures.

What are the external reproductive structures?
Most of the male reproductive system is located outside of the man’s body. The external structures of the male reproductive system are the penis, the scrotum and the testicles.

The penis is the male organ for sexual intercourse. It has three parts: the root, which attaches to the wall of the abdomen; the body, or shaft; and the glans, which is the cone-shaped end of the penis. The glans, which also is called the head of the penis, is covered with a loose layer of skin called foreskin. (This skin is sometimes removed in a procedure called circumcision.) The opening of the urethra, the tube that transports semen and urine, is at the tip of the glans penis. The penis also contains a number of sensitive nerve endings.

The body of the penis is cylindrical in shape and consists of three internal chambers. These chambers are made up of special, sponge-like erectile tissue. This tissue contains thousands of large spaces that fill with blood when the man is sexually aroused. As the penis fills with blood, it becomes rigid and erect, which allows for penetration during sexual intercourse. The skin of the penis is loose and elastic to accommodate changes in penis size during an erection.

Semen, which contains sperm, is expelled (ejaculated) through the end of the penis when the man reaches sexual climax (orgasm). When the penis is erect, the flow of urine is blocked from the urethra, allowing only semen to be ejaculated at orgasm.

The scrotum is the loose pouch-like sac of skin that hangs behind the penis. It contains the...
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