Male reproductive system

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This article is about the human male reproductive system. For the male reproductive systems of other placental mammals, see Mammalian reproduction#Male placental mammals. For the marsupial male reproductive system, see Marsupial#Male reproductive system.
Male reproductive system
Sobo 1906 490.png
Dissection of human male external genitalia showing different surrounding structures of the scrotum, such as testis, epidermis etc.
Latin systema genitale masculinum
TA A09.0.00.002
FMA 45664
Anatomical terminology
Male reproductive system

The male reproductive system consists of a number of sex organs that form a part of the human reproductive process. In this type of reproductive system, these sex organs are located outside the body, around the pelvic region.

The main male sex organs are the penis and the testicles which produce semen and sperm, which, as part of sexual intercourse, fertilize an ovum in the female's body; the fertilized ovum (zygote) develops into a fetus, which is later born as an infant.

Corresponding equivalent among females is the female reproductive system.

External genital organs[edit]

External male genital organs


Main article: Human penis

The penis is the male intromittent organ. It has a long shaft and an enlarged bulbous-shaped tip called the glans penis, which supports and is protected by the foreskin in uncircumcised males. When the male becomes sexually aroused, the penis becomes erect and ready for sexual activity. Erection occurs because sinuses within the erectile tissue of the penis become filled with blood. The arteries of the penis are dilated while the veins are passively compressed so that blood flows into the erectile cartilage under pressure.


Main article: Scrotum

The scrotum is a pouch-like structure that hangs behind the penis. It holds and protects the testicles. It also contains numerous nerves and blood vessels. During times of lower temperatures, the Cremaster muscle contracts and pulls the scrotum closer to the body, while the Dartos muscle gives it a wrinkled appearance; when the temperature increases, the Cremaster and Dartos muscles relax to bring down the scrotum away from the body and remove the wrinkles respectively.

The scrotum remains connected with the abdomen or pelvic cavity by the inguinal canal. (The spermatic cord, formed from spermatic artery, vein and nerve bound together with connective tissue passes into the testis through inguinal canal.)

Internal genital organs[edit]

Image showing innervation and blood-supply of the human external male genitalia.


Main article: Epididymis

The epididymis, a whitish mass of tightly coiled tubes cupped against the testicles, acts as a maturation and storage for sperm before they pass into the vas deferens, that carry sperm to the ampullary gland and prostatic ducts.

Vas deferens[edit]

Main article: Vas deferens

The vas deferens, also known as the sperm duct, is a thin tube approximately 30 centimetres (0.98 ft) long that starts from the epididymis to the pelvic cavity.

Accessory glands[edit]

Main article: Male accessory gland

Three accessory glands provide fluids that lubricate the duct system and nourish the sperm cells. They are the seminal vesicles, the prostate gland, and the bulbourethral glands (Cowper glands).

See also[edit]