Female reproductive organs are pretty much hidden within the pelvis area. Male reproductive organs, on the other hand, are located both inside and outside the body.
The three external structures in the male reproductive system are the penis, the testicles and the scrotum.
The penis is made up of the shaft and the head (or glans). EverydayHealth.com says the shaft houses two flexible cylinders comprised of erectile tissue that run the length of the penis and support erections, and the erectile tissue surrounding the urethra. KidsHealth.org describes the glans as having a small opening, which is where semen and urine exit the body.
Most men have two testicles (or testes) which are responsible for producing testosterone and generating sperm. The Cleveland Clinic says they are about the size of large olives that lie in the scrotum, secured at either end by a structure called the spermatic cord.
The scrotum is charged with regulating the temperature of the testicles. When it’s cold, the muscles surrounding it pull them in toward the body. When it’s too warm, they allow them to drop from the body.
KidsHealth.org reports alongside the testicles are the epididymis and the vas deferens, which make up the duct system of the male reproductive organs. These are part of the system’s internal structures.
The epididymis is a long, coiled tube that rests on the backside of each testicle. The Cleveland Clinic says it functions in the transport and storage of the sperm cells. The vas deferens is a muscular tube that passes upward alongside the testicles and transports the sperm-containing fluid; better known as semen.
Also inside is the seminal vesicle. It produces fluid to provide energy to the sperm as they search for the egg.
The prostate gland, according to EverydayHealth.com, makes a different fluid to help the sperm move more quickly through the female reproductive system.
The bulbourethral or Cowper’s glands are located on the sides of the urethra just below the prostate gland. The Cleveland Clinic reports these glands produce a clear, slippery fluid that empties directly into the urethra. This fluid lubricates the urethra and neutralizes any acidity that may be present due to residual drops of urine in the urethra.
The urethra is the way by which the semen is carried outside of the body through the penis.
Ejaculatory ducts are formed by the fusion of the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles. They empty into the urethra.
Reviewed July 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle