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Human Sexuality (High School) - Lesson 6 / Reproductive Physiology




The anatomy and physiology of the male and female reproductive systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will become familiar with the physiology of the male and female reproductive systems.

Instructional Procedures


Introduce this topic in the context of having accurate information about the parts and functions of the male and female reproductive system. In addition to the anatomic and physiological background which this section discusses, the interaction of the whole person should be emphasized. See preface materials:

1. Define anatomy (parts).
2. Define physiology (functions).
3. Explain why correct biological terminology is important.
Discuss the interaction of the reproductive system and the brain. Both are. . .
1. Involved in the reproductive process.
2. Integrally involved with sexuality.
3. Influences sex drive (libido) and behavior.
The hypothalamus or midbrain regulates the pituitary gland by a complex feedback system. The pituitary gland (master gland of the body) secretes hormones which regulate the gonads (testicles and ovaries) and their production of sex hormones.
Identify the parts or anatomy of the male reproductive system and discuss their function (physiology). Use Appendix page 3 to assist you in explaining the following: Explain the following aspects of sperm production and transport.
The biological purpose for the complex anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system is to produce and deliver sperm cells for reproduction. In order for this to occur, a process called sexual intercourse must take place. The vascular compartments of the penis fill with blood by reflex action and an erection occurs. (The size of an erect penis is basically the same in all men.) At this time, the penis is inserted into the female vagina.
During this act, the glans of the penis is stimulated which causes the discharge of semen at the time of ejaculation. This is known as orgasm in the male. Insertion and/or ejaculation are not necessary for fertilization to occur. Droplets of seminal fluid contain large amounts of sperm and may cause a pregnancy without ejaculation. Emphasize that intercourse is not just a physical act. It must include the emotional and psychological aspects if it is to be a positive and rewarding experience. Identify the parts (anatomy) and functions of the female reproductive system and discuss their functions (physiology). Use appendix page 8 and explain the following: Describe the function of the female reproductive organs associated with the menstrual cycle (see Appendix page 9). Explain the following facts:
Inform students that a major purpose of the female genitalia is for reproduction. The vagina is the organ where intercourse takes place. The size of the vagina is basically the same in all adult women. Glands in the female genitalia secrete a substance that helps lubricate the vagina to reduce friction during intercourse. This is a natural way to make sure that during intercourse damage to internal organs does not occur.
As in the male, stimulation of the female genitalia during intercourse creates a pleasurable sensation that results in muscular contractions or orgasm that some experts feel may help move the ova further down the fallopian tube to enhance the possibility of conception.
Compare the anatomical and physiological similarities of the male and female reproductive systems. Have students identify the similar function of the following parts:
Male organ/function/female organ
Vas deferens/fallopian tubes
Scrotum/labia majora
Discuss the need for informed, responsible behavior with respect to reproduction. It is important for people to understand how their bodies function. Missing information, lack of information, or lack of respect for self and others can contribute to irresponsible behavior that can have a devastating effect. Invite a health care professional to discuss the basics of reproductive health care for both males and females. Topics might include the importance of regular checkups, the procedures used in examinations, and anatomy and physiology concerns throughout the life cycle. Also include a discussion of male and female related diseases.


Discuss proper care of the reproductive system. Proper medical care and self-exams can help to eliminate serious health problems. (See Appendix pages 4 through 7). You may also choose to discuss the following:

1. Toxic shock syndrome.
2. Proper timing of physician exams.
3. Cancer screening.
4. Pap smear.

Created: 02/20/1999
Updated: 02/05/2018