Male Genitalia 101

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • Male Genitalia 101

     

    That's right, it's time to really understand your male anatomy, so you can then have an understanding of what can go wrong or why you may not be feeling "sexually healthy."  Let's start with basic anatomy.  The male reproductive system includes the penis, scrotum, testes (testicles) vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate gland and the urethra.  Let's look at each structure briefly to understand its purpose or function.

      

    Penis

    It is the external organ and it is used to consummate sexual intercourse, allow sperm to enter a woman's body and to release urine.  The penis is the counterpart to the woman's vagina.

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    Scrotum

    It's a pouch of skin which contains the testes, epididymides and the lower portions of the spermatic cords.

     

    Testes (testicles)

    These are 2 olive-sized ovals, one on each side, that have 2 main functions - to produce sperm so that sexual intercourse results in a baby, and to produce the male sex hormone, testosterone.   The vas deferens and the epididymis are included in the term testes.

     

    Prostate gland

    Is a small walnut sized gland that is found below the bladder.  It actually surrounds the urethra and it produces fluid.  That fluid, white and sticky, makes up the liquid part of semen.  The prostate gland can enlarge as you age causing urinary problems.  It is at risk for inflammation and it can also be a site for cancer.

     

    Urethra

    It helps to transport urine from the bladder and it helps transport semen out to the tip of the penis.  When a man ejaculates during sexual intercourse, the sperm can then enter the woman's cervix and travel to fertilize a waiting egg.

     

    What can go wrong?

     

    There is significant blood supply to the male genitalia.  When arteries become blocked or less patent and open due to plaque build up, the compromised blood supply can mean sexual dysfunction or other health problems.  That can typically happen when heart disease is present.  Let's look at some of the other issues that can complicate your sexual health.

     

    There are neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, chronic diseases like kidney disease, alcoholism and drug abuse and medications like anti-depressants that can cause dysfunction and/or loss of sexual desire.  Certainly psychological issues like depression, anxiety, concerns about performance, marital problems, feelings of guilt, even past trauma can also cause sexual dysfunction.  Specifically you can have 3 types of ejaculation disorder - premature ejaculation which occurs before or just as penetration happens, inhibited ejaculation, when ejaculation is slow to occur, and retrograde ejaculation which occurs when the ejaculate is forced back into the bladder rather than being released out of the end of the penis.  Some of these ejaculatory problems can be caused by physical structural anomalies while some may be due to medication or psychological issues. It's also important to recognize that if you choose to have unprotected sex, you can be at risk for a number of STDs that can seriously impact your sexual health and your general health.  

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    Now that you know the structures that make up your genitalia and what can go wrong you can become proactive and protect your sexual health.  You can also feel less anxious about seeking help when something goes awry.  After all, you will now know how to communicate specifics to your health care provider since you have just completed Male Genitalia 101.

Published On: October 15, 2009