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The Penis: Exactly How Does it Work?

Have You Wondered Why Your Penis Does What it Does?

Do you even know the basic information about your own penis? Read on and you will.

The anatomy of the penis is complex. It is primarily comprised of two cylinders of sponge-like vascular tissue (corpus cavernosa) that fills with blood to create an erection.

Blood is pumped into the penis under great pressure and a series of valves keeps the blood in the penis to maintain the erection. A third cylinder is the urethra, a tube that carries the urine and the ejaculate. The knobby head of the penis is called the glans.

Blood flows to the penis by two very small arteries that come from the aorta. These arteries are the same size as the arteries to your finger.

The main problem that causes impotence is that the blood vessels become blocked and the blood cannot get to the penis. The other major problem is leakage of blood from the penis into the veins around the penis, which is called a venous leak. This is very common, similar to a hole in a tire. The larger the hole, the more air that needs to be pumped into the tire to keep it hard.

Corpora Cavernosa

The erectile tissues in the penis are called the corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum and this tissue expands during sexual stimulation. Penis enlargement programs aim to increase the holding capacity of this tissue, allowing higher amounts of blood to be held by the penis tissues during stimulation causing an increase in penis size. The sexual stimulation can be visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory or imaginative.

During sexual stimulation, the arteries supplying the penis with blood dilate and large amounts of blood rush into the erectile tissue. The blood is trapped because the vessels draining the penis become compressed. The penis usually stays hard until orgasm and ejaculation is achieved or until the male is no longer stimulated.


The epididymis is a structure that lies on and around each testicle. It functions in the transport, storage and maturation of sperm cells originating from the testicle. When a man complains of scrotal pain, acute or chronic epididymitis is often most common diagnosis. Acute epididymitis is usually more severe, involving more significant swelling and pain than chronic epididymitis. Epididymitis that lasts more than six weeks is considered chronic epididymititis.

Vas Deferens

The vas deferens are tubes that carry the produced sperm to the prostate where it is activated by an enzyme prior to ejaculation. These tubules are cut and tied during a vasectomy.


Your testes are a large number of tightly packed coiled tubes where sperm is produced. Sperm production takes about two months and it is a continuous production. A typical male produces several hundred million sperm cells each day. This sperm production process is called spermatogenesis and the sperm that is not ejaculated is broken down and absorbed in the body.

Testes also contain cells that secrete the male sex hormone testosterone. Spermatozoa are among the smallest and most highly specialized cells in the body, having all the characteristics that a baby inherits from the father in fertilization, are found in each sperm head. The nucleus is covered by a specialized enzyme coating, which enables the sperm to break down the covering of the egg and permit entry if contact occurs. Each sperm has a mid section and an elongated tail that helps it to swim to fertilize the egg. Sometimes there are problems in this process, resulting in male infertility.


The scrotum is a pouch-like sac that hangs outside of the body cavity behind your penis. This location provides the correct temperature for the sperm to produce.


Your penis is shaped like a boomerang, only you cannot see it. Just like you only see a tree above ground, you do not see the root of your penis tucked up inside your pelvis and attached to your pubic bone. In an MRI picture, the penis looks distinctly boomerang-like, as noted by a French researcher who studied men and women having sex inside an MRI scanner.

Peyronie's syndrome is a condition that tends to show up more in older men. An older man's erection may not be as rigid, but still is hard enough for sex. Over time, if the penis bends too much a certain way during sex, small tears in the tissue can form scars, and the accumulated scar tissue gives the penis an abnormally curved shape.

Judging True Penis Size:

You cannot judge the true size of a penis while it is flaccid or without an erection. Sometimes males with relatively small flaccid penis', can grow to a large size when erect, while their larger counterparts do not show as much more growth when aroused.

There is not a single person on this planet that has not heard general statements relating penis size to race and ethnicity. Though in some cases the generalizations are true, researchers say they are merely stereotypes. There are men in all ethnic groups that negate such generalizations. In other words, do not judge a book by its cover because most of the time those judgments are false.

About the Author

has over 20 years experience as a sexual health medical practitioner and has specific expertise in male sexual dysfunction.