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The science of the male sex act

Sex is the most talked-about, joked about, thought-about issue in popular culture. It is the subject of songs, movies and even television adverts. Every grown adult is expected to know how to do it, but beyond the basic mechanics we’re not taught about it and fiction is coy. We are not short of information on sexual practices. Thanks to fifty shades of grey. There is a general absence of accurate detail of what happens to our bodies during, and as a result of, the act.

The male sex organs allow men to have children. But they have other important jobs, too: The sex organs produce hormones, control the process of boys maturing into grown men, and make sex and sexual pleasure possible. Like women, men have external and internal sex organs.

The external male sex organs include the penis and the scrotum. The main purpose of the external sex organs is to allow for sexual intercourse and sexual pleasure. The structure of the penis is similar to that of the female clitoris, apart from the fact that the clitoris is mostly inside the body. During the time in the womb, they both develop from the same organ.

The penis can carry and release the man’s sperm into a woman’s vagina. The round glans (head) of the penis is located at the tip of the longer shaft of the penis. It is covered with a mucous membrane. The movable foreskin (partially) covers the head of the penis. In some men, the foreskin has been shortened or removed in a medical procedure known as circumcision.

A tube called the urethra runs through the inside of the penis. Urine leaves the body through the urethra, and so does semen (the fluid that carries sperm) during ejaculation. The shaft and the head of the penis contain erectile tissues called corpora cavernosa. These tissues are like sponges. During sexual arousal, blood builds up in the corpora cavernosa until they are full and firm. This allows the penis to become erect and stiff (erection). In most men, it also becomes longer and thicker.

The scrotum is a bag of skin that surrounds the testicles, the epididymis and the start of the vas deferens.

The head of the penis and the skin on the penis, scrotum and the surrounding area contain a dense network of nerve fibers. This makes the external sex organs very sensitive. As a result, touching and rubbing this area can cause sexual arousal and increased pleasure that may lead to orgasm and trigger ejaculation.

The main internal male sex organs include:

  • Testicles
  • Epididymis
  • Vas deferens tubes
  • Seminal vesicles
  • Prostate

 

In order for coitus to occur humans need to be sexually aroused. Sexual arousal is then followed by a series of phases. These phases are:

  • excitement phase
  • plateau phase
  • orgasmic phase
  • resolution phase.

Phase One: Excitement

This phase usually begins within 10 to 30 seconds after erotic stimulation, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. The penis becomes slightly erect. A man’s nipples may also become erect. Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are all accelerated.

Phase Two: Plateau

The changes that started in the excitement phase continue to progress. The testes are drawn up into the scrotum. The penis becomes fully erect. Breathing and pulse rates quicken. A “sex flush” may appear on the stomach, chest, shoulders, neck or face. Muscles tense in the thighs, hips, hands and buttocks, and spasms may begin.

Phase Three: Orgasm

This is the climax of the cycle. It is also the shortest of the four phases, usually only lasting a few seconds. First, seminal fluid collects in the urethral bulb. This is when a man may have the sensation that orgasm is certain, or “ejaculatory inevitability.” Next, semen is ejaculated from the penis. Contractions occur in the penis during the orgasmic phase. Breathing, pulse rate and blood pressure continue to rise. Muscle tension and blood-vessel engorgement reach a peak. Sometimes orgasm comes with a grasping-type muscular reflex of the hands and feet.

Phase Four: Resolution

This phase is a return to the normal resting state. It can last from a few minutes to a half-hour or longer. This stage is generally longer for women than men. The penis returns to its normal flaccid state. There is usually a refractory period, where it’s impossible to orgasm again until a certain amount of time has passed. The amount of time varies among men by age, physical fitness and other factors. Swelling recedes, any sex flush disappears, and there is a general relaxation of muscle tension. Understanding what’s happening to you and your partner’s bodies during sex can only aid in the full enjoyment of the experience. Combine this with some good communication skills, and you’ve found the key to unlock sexual pleasure and your heart’s desires.

So, this is what happens when sexual activity occurs. It is a complex body activity and in individuals with some underlying medical conditions, it could lead to some health issues. This is not to scare but to state the obvious. Sex not only feels good. It can also be good for you. Here’s what a healthy sex life can do for you.

Health benefits of sex

  1. Helps keep your immune system in functioning properly: You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:

 

  1. Boosts your libido
  2. Lowers your blood pressure
  3. Counts as exercise
  4. Lowers heart attack risk
  5. Lessens pain
  6. Helps to reduce risk of prostate cancer
  7. Improves sleep
  8. Eases stress

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525757/

https://teachmephysiology.com/reproductive-system/pregnancy/coitus/

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/sexual-response-cycle#1

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/23/the-science-of-sex-what-happens-to-our-bodies-when-were-aroused

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health#1

 

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