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Inside the male reproductive system

You can use this information to answer tricky “how does that work” questions

Introduction

When talking to your child about things like erections, wet dreams and how babies are made it can be helpful to have an understanding of the male reproductive system. You can use this information to answer tricky “how does that work” questions and to ensure that you are giving your child the right information.

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The testes are where sperm is made. This begins once puberty has started. Testes grow bigger during puberty and come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes one testis is larger 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 the skin on the body 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 urethra is a tube with a small opening at the tip of the penis. It can carry urine from the bladder, or semen (containing sperm) from the prostate. There is a valve that can block off one or the other, so a person can’t urinate and ejaculate at the same time.

The penis hangs outside the body. Penises come in all different 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 other skin on the body and may have veins sticking out. Pubic hair grows around the base of the penis, the testes and the anus.

The penis is involved in many things, including:

  • urination
  • erections
  • ejaculation (including wet dreams)
  • sexual intercourse
  • pleasure

For information on ejaculation, wet dreams and erections go to Wet Dreams and Erection pages.

The foreskin is a fold of skin that covers the head of the penis. Some people have their foreskin removed. This is called circumcision. The penis works the same way with or without a foreskin. It does not impact how healthy or clean a penis is. It is important to clean the penis regularly. If a person has a foreskin they can keep it clean by carefully washing underneath it when showering or bathing. To find out more about how your child can keep their penis clean, go to How to Clean Your Penis.

 

Conversation Starters

You know how you wash your body every day to keep it clean and healthy? Well you need to wash your penis too.
You are getting really good at naming your private body parts. Would you like to know what the inside of your private body parts look like?

Strategies for you to try

Create labelling and sorting games

Ask your child to point to the different parts of their reproductive system on the pictures or put labels on the different parts. Ask your child to sort the images into inside body parts and outside body parts.

Teachable moments

Use teachable moments to start a conversation with your child. Examples of teachable moments could include:

  • helping your child to clean their penis when showering
  • if you notice ejaculate on your child’s pyjamas

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Inside the male reproductive system

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Introduction to puberty for boys
Inside the male reproductive system

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