During puberty, boys will begin to produce sperm and ejaculate. This means their bodies are able to reproduce.
The male reproductive system
- The testes (balls) are where sperm is produced after a boy has started puberty. Testes grow bigger during puberty and come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes one testis is larger than the other or hangs lower than the other. This is all normal.
- The scrotum is the skin that holds the testes on the outside of the body. This skin is usually a bit darker than the rest of a boy’s skin and may have pubic hairs on it.
- The vas deferens is the tube that carries the sperm from the testes to the prostate gland.
- The prostate gland is where sperm are mixed with fluid called semen. The prostate gland is also involved in ejaculation.
- The anus is where faeces (poo) comes out. The skin around the anus is usually a bit darker than the rest of a boy’s skin and may have pubic hairs around it.
The head of the penis has lots of nerve endings so it is very sensitive and pleasurable to touch. A boy might rub his penis when he masturbates, or his partner might rub it during sex.
All about the penis
- The penis hangs at the front of a boy’s body. Penises come in all different colours, shapes and sizes, so there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ penis. Some penises are short and thick, some are long and thin, some lean to one side. The penis may be darker or redder than the rest of a boy’s skin and may have veins sticking out. Pubic hair grows around the penis, the testes and the anus.
- The foreskin is a fold of skin that covers the head of the penis. Not every boy has a foreskin because it is sometimes removed. This is called circumcision. The penis works the same way with or without a foreskin. If a boy has a foreskin he should keep it clean by carefully washing under it when he showers or bathes.
- The urethra is a tube with a small opening at the tip of the penis. It has two functions. It can carry urine (wee) from the bladder, or semen (containing sperm) from the prostate. There is a valve that can block off one or the other, so boys can’t urinate (wee) and ejaculate (release semen) at the same time.
Ever wondered why the testes are outside the body? Sperm need to be kept a bit cooler than the rest of the body. So, the scrotum stretches or tightens to keep the testes and sperm at the right temperature!
Every body is unique and no two bodies look the same – that goes for your genitals too! Penises and testes come in many colours, shapes and sizes, so there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ penis or ‘normal’ testes. Let’s take a closer look.
Just so you know, this slide show has cartoon images of male genitals.