Male Reproductive/Sexual System

The penis, scrotum, and testicles are all part of the reproductive/sexual system of a male and allow a person to:

  • remove urine from the body
  • have and enjoy sex
  • produce sperm (male sex cells) and fertilize ova (eggs) in a female

The reproductive/sexual system is partly hidden, this includes:

This page also contains information on:

Internal Anatomy (back to top)

Testicles (a.k.a. balls)

  • Oval shaped glands that are about 4cm in length and 3cm in width
  • The testes are responsible for making millions of sperm and also release the hormone testosterone

Testes (a.k.a testicles)


  • A coiled tube that lies around the back of the testicles
  • Sperm passes through the epididymis from the testes
  • Sperm is stored here for about 20 days until they mature
  • The testes and epididymis form each testicle


Vas deferens

  • About 45 cm long and runs from the epididymis to the urethra
  • It carries the sperm from the testes to the urethra
  • The sperm becomes mixed with secretions along the way and forms semen

picture of the male sexual reproduction system with emphasis placed on the vas deferens

Urethra (a.k.a. pee-hole)

  • The tube that links the vas deferens (sperm duct) to the outside
  • Serves both the urinary and reproductive systems

Urethra (pee hole)

Seminal vesicules

  • Lies behind the bladder and produces the secretions that make up 60% of semen
  • This thick fluid nourishes the sperm

Seminal vesicules

Prostate gland

  • Located below the bladder, about the size of a chestnut
  • During ejaculation, the prostate gland enlarges to block urine from leaving the bladder

Prostate gland

External Anatomy (back to top)

Penis (a.k.a dick, cock)

  • Consists of the shaft and the head (called the glans)
  • The glans and the frenulum (tissue that links the underside of the glans and the shaft) are very sensitive and play a big role in sexual pleasure
  • Some males are circumcised which means that the foreskin (skin covering the head of the penis) has been cut away; on an uncircumcised penis the foreskin is still covering the head but can be slid back
  • Inside the penis is the urethra, carrying sperm and urine to the outside of the body
  • During sexual arousal, the penis becomes filled with blood and becomes erect
  • During ejaculation, between 300 and 500 million sperm are released

Penis (dick, shaft, cock)

Scrotum (a.k.a. nut sac, ball sac)

  • The testicles are contained in the scrotum outside the body to maintain the right temperature for the sperm to be produced

Scrotum (nut sac, ball sac, sac)

Penis Care (back to top)

An uncircumcised penis has its foreskin intact. Males should gently retract the foreskin during bathing and clean the penis. The skin should be gently dried before repositioning the foreskin. It is very important to reposition the foreskin back over the head of the penis after cleaning or the foreskin can slightly squeeze the head of the penis, causing swelling and pain which would require medical care.

Circumcised/Uncircumcised penis

Testicular Cancer (back to top)

Hey Guys, It's Important to Check Yourself Regularly!

Testicular cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of a testicle. Malignant means it can spread to other parts of the body.

Non-cancerous or benign tumours can also affect the testicles. A non-cancerous tumour is a growth that does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They are typically not life-threatening. Other non-cancerous conditions of the testicle include epididymitis (painful bacteria infection), hydrocele (build up of fluid in the scrotum), Orchitis (painful swelling), and Testicular torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord).

Testicular Self-Examination (TSE) is an easy way to check to make sure there aren't any unusual lumps or bumps - which can often be the first sign of testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 to 35. It is important to self-examine every month so you can become familiar with the normal size and shape of your testicles, which makes it easier to tell is something feels different or abnormal.

The following provides the "how to" of performing a monthly testicular self-examination (TSE).

  1. Perform the TSE during or right after a hot shower or bath. The skin that covers the testicles (scrotum) is more relaxed which makes it easier to examine the testicles.
  2. Examine one testicle at a time. Use both hands to gently roll each testicle (with slight pressure) between your fingers. Place your thumbs over the top of your testicle, with the index and middle finger of each hand behind the testicle, and then roll it between your fingers.
  3. You should be able to feel the epididymis (sperm-carrying tube), which feels soft, rope-like, and slightly tender to pressure, and located at the top of the back part of each testicle. This is a normal lump.
  4. Typically, one testicle (usually the right one) is slightly larger than the other, this is normal.
  5. When examining each testicle, feel for any lumps or bumps along the front or sides. Lumps may be as small as a piece of rice or a pea.
  6. If you notice any swelling, lumps, or changes in the size or colour of your testicle or experience any pain or achy areas in your groin, see your primary care provider right away.

Lumps or swelling may not be cancer, but they should be checked by your primary care provider as soon as possible. Testicular cancer is almost always curable if caught and treated early.

self-exam 1

self-exam 2 

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