The Male Sexual Anatomy

Lisa Bowen-Moore

In Greek art, the male human nude was used as a canon of human perfection. The sensuous male form in motion was considered the crowning achievement of Greek sculpture. Its asymmetrical balance, this motion while at rest, and the resulting harmony of opposites is the essence of male beauty. The following will discuss the male sexual anatomy, physiology, and overall sexual health. In examining the male sexual body, the anatomy encompasses both the external and the internal sex organs. The external sex organs consist of the penis and the scrotum. The internal sex organs consist of the testes, genital ducts, and the fluid producing glands. The systems of internal and external organs that are the male genitals are also referred to as the urogenital system.

The penis is the male organ that is responsible for the transmission of urine and semen from the body. It is an expanding flexible rod which, splits into an Y and is attached to the underside of the pubic bone. It consists of fibrous tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and three cylinders of erectile tissue. This tissue soaks up blood and expands when the brain signals certain arteries to begin pumping blood through, which produces an erection. The purpose of an erection in the reproductive process is to allow the penis to become firm enough to enter a vagina.

The scrotum is a loose sac of skin, fascia, and smooth muscle that encloses and supports the testes outside the body at an optimum temperature for the production of sperm. The scrotum is divided into two parts with each containing a testis. The testes produce sperm and the sex hormone testosterone. "In most men the left testis hangs somewhat lower than the right one, although the opposite may sometimes occur." (Byer 153) The epididymis is a coiled tube about 20ft long, which runs along the posterior side of the testis. It stores sperm and can retain them for up to six weeks, during which time the sperm become mature. The viability of the sperm in the testes is dependent upon the relative lower temperature of the testes in comparision to the body temperature. When the environmental temperature is low the testes move closer to the body by way of the spermatic cord and relaxes when the temperature is too high and moves away from the body. The spermatic cord is covered with skeletal muscle and it suspends the testes in place.

"In the unlikely event that both of your testicles were removed ?you could get by. Your doctor would drop prosthetic testicles into your scrotum. And he'd prescribe a testosterone patch or biweekly injections. Testosterone can be replaced and there will be no decline in the sexual function. Testosterone, rather than causing an erection, only provides the desire for one. You couldn't make babies, but you'd have no trouble making love." (Caine, 323)

The genital ducts of the male reproductive tract carry the mature sperm from the testes to the exterior of the body. The ductus (vas) deferens is the continuation of the epididymis. It is a straight tube located within the spermatic cord. A vasectomy (male sterilization) is the surgical removal, or interruption of a section of the vas deferens, followed by the sealing or tying of each end. The junction of the ampulla and the seminal vesicle duct forms the ejaculatory duct, which receives secretions from the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland before being ejected into the urethra. The urethra is a small tube extending from the bottom of the urinary bladder to the exterior of the body. Its function is to convey both urine and semen to the exterior of the body, each at different times.

The fluid-producing glands include the seminal vesicle, the prostate, and the Cowper's glands. These glands can also be referred to as accessory glands. The seminal vesicles secrete a viscous, alkaline fluid rich in fructose, which serves to nourish and protect the sperm. This secretion constitutes more than half the bulk of semen. Semen is a grayish white, sticky mixture that consists of sperm and other fluids from the accessory glands. The prostate gland secretes a milky, alkaline fluid that is essential in the neutralization of the acidity in the vagina during intercourse. The Cowper's glands secrete an alkaline, mucous-containing fluid into the penile urethra that is lubricating and protective and adds to the bulk of the semen. An ejaculation is