Structure and function of the male reproductive system

Updated April 17, 2017

The male reproductive system is composed of five major organs. The system consists of both internal and external structures that provide three major functions. It produces, maintains and transports sperm; discharges sperm; and produces and secretes male sex hormones.

Bulborethral Glands

These glands, located below the prostate gland and composed of several tubes, are approximately the size of peas. The tubes secrete fluid in response to sexual stimulation and provide lubrication for the penis during intercourse.

Vas Deferens

The National Cancer Institute defines the vas deferens as a tube that carries sperm out of the testes. The structure is a muscular tube that runs along the side of the testicles to become part of the spermatic cord.


The penis is the external reproductive organ of the male. Urine and semen both pass through this organ. The penis is innervated with nerve endings and blood vessels that allow it to become erect during sexual excitement.

Prostate Gland

The prostate gland is a chestnut-shaped organ that surrounds the first part of the urethra. The prostate gland is located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. It produces seminal fluid and secretions that help keep the urethra moist.


The testes are contained within a sac that hangs below the penis, called the scrotum. Each testicle contains sperm. Sperm is responsible for the fertilisation of the female egg during reproduction.

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About the Author

Amanda Davis began writing in 2010 with work published on various websites. Davis is a dietetic technician, registered, personal trainer and fitness instructor. She has experience working with a variety of ages, fitness levels and medical conditions. She holds a dual Bachelor of Science in exercise science and nutrition from Appalachian State University and is working toward her master's degree in public health. Davis will be a registry eligible dietitian in May 2015.