The male genitals

The male genitals
The male genitals were a symbol of power in ancient times, and today they're still synonymous with virility! The male genitalia are more exposed than the female sex organs, and we think we know everything about them... but do we really?
The male genitals were a symbol of power in ancient times, and today they're still synonymous with virility! The male genitalia are more exposed than the female sex organs, and we think we know everything about them... but do we really?
Visible from the outside
Unlike the female sex organs, the male organs are outside the body. They are made up of the penis, two testicles (protected inside little pouches that are called the scrotum) and the glands (located inside the body). The penis is composed of a base, which is connected to the rest of the body at the perineum, a cylindrical body (the shaft) and a head called the glans. The urethra, through which urine and sperm flow, goes from the top to the bottom of the shaft. The end of the penis (the glans) is covered with a mobile skin called the foreskin which is connected to the penis by a membrane known as the frenulum. During erection, the skin moves back to expose the head.
Mission reproduction!
The male genitals were designed to reproduce! They produce sperm cells to fertilise eggs during sexual intercourse. The sperm cells are made and stored by the testicles, then carried by semen (produced by the prostate, a little gland located below the bladder) as well as by the seminal vesicles. The mixing of sperm cells and semen is done at the prostate and expelled by the penis during ejaculation. Male sex organs produce sperm continuously, starting from adolescence. Men don’t get the menopause, so in theory they can reproduce throughout their lives. However, the number of sperm cells in the semen decreases considerably with age, and some men also experience prostrate problems, so it becomes more difficult.
The penis: a symbol of virility
The penis is so much more than a piece of his anatomy: it's a symbol of virility, sexual power and pleasure, often referred to as the family jewels, and is the object of much attention!
- Penis size and male fantasy
From their teenage years, men scrutinise, measure and compare their members. His penis can be an object of pride, but sometimes can be a source of complexes if he thinks his is too small. Size has no influence on the quality of the act itself as the vagina is an elastic organ which adapts to the shape and size of the penis during penetration. Also, only the front part of the vagina, close to the entrance, is the most sensitive and receptive to stimulation. A penis measures on average 7 - 10cm at rest and between 13 - 18cm erect. It is true that a large majority of women do not associate their pleasure with penis size, but a small penis can cause a lack of self confidence and fear of other inadequacies in men.
- An erectile organ
At rest, the penis is soft, and it changes when aroused. When he's turned on, blood flow to the penis increases, the spongy tissue that it is composed of fills with blood, and it increases in size. It becomes red and hard, and allows penetration. The muscle contractions caused by intercourse then lead to ejaculation, during which sperm is expelled by the penis. Once sex is over, the penis returns to its original shape and size.
- A sensitive organ
The male genitalia are extremely sensitive and fragile; they do not respond well to temperature changes, which is why sperm cells are stored in little pouches located outside the body where the temperature is lower (33°C). This helps to preserve them.
- An organ of pleasure
Male sex organs are also very sensitive to stimulation and very receptive to the mechanical movements of intercourse, which creates intense pleasure for him. The glans is the most sensitive part because most nerve endings are concentrated at the frenulum (the membrane that attaches the foreskin to the penis.)

At risk of infection
Like most of the organs in the human body, the genitals are at risk of viruses and infections. They can be contaminated by poor hygiene, and also through sexual intercourse. Some viruses are transmitted by the genital tract and are highly contagious (what we call STIs or STDs, sexually tramitted infections or diseases). These infections can sometimes be very serious, but can be prevented with effective protection such as condoms.
Published by Sarah Horrocks
3 Mar 2008

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