Got a penis but not really sure how it works? The Condom Depot Learning Center is pleased to tell you everything you need to know about the anatomy of the XY reproductive system, also known as the male reproductive system.
The reproductive goal of the XY reproductive system is to ejaculate male sex cells (sperm). After going through puberty, a person with XY chromosomes who has a healthy reproductive system and is not intersex is capable of doing this through a vast series of organs and tubes, laid out below.
Let’s start with the obvious. Sperm are the male sex cell. Produced in the testes, sperm carries essential DNA to the egg (ovum) in the female reproductive system during penis-in-vagina intercourse, which then can combine during conception.
Testicles and Scrotum
The testicles are the sperm production plant of the body. Other names for the testicles are the gonads, balls, or testes. In a post-puberty person who has them, the the testicles hang externally on the body, in a sac called the scrotum. This is because the testicles must be kept at a temperature that is below body-temperature so they can continue to produce healthy sperm.
The scrotum is a loose sac of skin that both of the testicles are kept in. Often, the scrotum is very stretchy and it even has muscles which will contract it closer to the body if it is too cold for sperm production, or let it hang more loosely if it is too warm.
Epididymis and Vas Defernes
The epididymis are tiny coils of tubes that are on each testicle. When the penis is aroused, the epididymis contracts which forces sperm into the vas deferens prior to orgasm.
The vas deferens are the small tubes that transport semen from the testicles to the urethra. Some attempted forms of male contraception have considered stopping sperm from getting through these tiny tubes. Cutting the vas deferens is how vasectomies, another form of male contraception, work.
The prostate gland creates seminal fluid, which allows sperm to move more easily. When combined with seminal fluid, sperm becomes semen. Other chemicals from other parts of the system are also added to semen for other reasons– for instance, the seminal vesticles supply fructose which gives sperm energy and makes them able to move.
The urinary tract is not considered a part of the XY reproductive system, although they are wound very closely together together, and the urethra is actually a part of both systems. For its role in the urinary tract, it carries urine from the bladder to the penis to be expelled from the body. During arousal, the urethra is kept open by some of the erectile tissues. During orgasm, the urethra shuts down its ability to carry urine and instead only carries semen through the penis.
The penis is the main organ in the XY reproductive system. It is a long, fleshy tube which hangs external from the body, above the testicles in the scrotum. The penis is the method through which sperm leaves the body. During arousal, the penis is held rigid by the erectile tissues (corpus spongiosum and corpus cavernosa), which have filled the empty spaces in the penis with blood. When the penis is not aroused, it is flaccid.
Seem simple? The Condom Depot Learning Center is proud to announce its Back-to-Basics campaign, answering all the questions you might have missed out on in sex ed.