R E P R O D U C
T I O N:
(Iguanas do it.)
Every living thing has the ability to reproduce, which just means "start a new generation of living things like themselves." Every living thing from iguanas to bats to spiders to popcorn plants has reproductive organs (sex organs) so they can:
The Male Side
Most boys are born with two testicles ("balls"). These are walnut sized organs that are enclosed by the scrotum (a fleshy sack). They hang under the penis and their job is to produce sperm (male reproductive cells).
Some males are born with only one functioning testicle and they have absolutely no trouble producing sperm.
A man's testicles may produce up to 200 million sperm cells a day...
If each of these sperm cells could fertilize a female's
Sperm cells are produced in a series of tiny chambers within the testicles. As these cells mature, they begin a long journey through the epididymis.
The epididymis is a long, tightly coiled canal. Uncoiled it would stretch about 20 feet! It lies over each testicle, and its job is to mature, store, and transport the sperm. This is where the sperm take swimming lessons.
To help the sperm along their way out of the body, the prostate gland and the seminal vesicle produce seminal fluids (sticky white liquid that come out of the penis during ejaculation). These seminal fluids contain sugars (sperm food) to help a sperm swim and live longer outside a man's body.
Lots of people think the penis is a skin-covered cylinder. Not true. The penis is made up of spongy tissues interlaced with large blood vessels. There is a constant flow of blood in and out of the penis.
When a man is sexually turned on, this regular, even flow of blood stops. The blood vessels suddenly bring more blood into the penis. The walls of the penis expand and become hard. This is called an erection, which some people call a "boner," "hard on," or "woody." (The skin of the penis is loose to allow for expansion during erection.) By touching or rubbing or through sexual intercourse, a man can become so sexually excited that he ejaculates ("comes") and a sticky, white seminal fluid spurts out of the penis carrying the sperm with it.
How much seminal fluid comes out? About one teaspoonful.
How many sperm cells are in that teaspoon of ejaculate? About 400 million!
Remember, sperm may be really tiny....
but each one of them could fertilize an egg and start a pregnancy.
Interested in learning about Birth Control Options?
Interested in learning about Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Images © 1997 Planned Parenthood, Used by Permission.
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last updated August 24, 2005
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