REPRODUCTIVE & SEXUAL
The reproductive system is designed to allow human beings to reproduce. Like some other animals, the human reproductive system also plays a large role in experiencing intimacy, pleasure and connection to others (for more on that topic please click here). The reproductive systems include a penis and testicles, which produce and deliver sperm during ejaculation, as well as a vagina, ovaries and uterus. For reproduction, ovaries produce eggs which can be fertilized by sperm. This can occur when a penis ejaculates inside a vagina. When an egg is fertilized, it is carried in the uterus for approximately 9 months. After 9 months, a new baby is born. Most people have either a penis and testicles OR a vagina, ovaries and uterus. Some people may have a variety of these combinations. And sometimes not all reproductive organs are not fully functional (i.e. there are no sperm or eggs produced). When this occurs, partners may explore other parenthood options such as adoption, foster care, surrogacy or in vitro fertilization. Human beings are able to reproduce functionally starting in their teenage years during puberty. Those with a penis and testicles begin to experience erections and can ejaculate sperm. Those with ovaries begin to have their periods. However, human beings are not fully developed intellectually until their mid-twenties. Parenthood should always be an intentional decision made by people when they are emotionally, financially and functionally able to take on such responsibility. They are ways to have sex without the risk of reproduction, including the use of condoms, mutual masturbation, oral sex, anal sex and other types of sexual pleasure that does not include penis in vagina penetration.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Indicators of thriving include for partners who wish to reproduce include:
- Daily erections
- Ability to ejaculate
- No changes to testicles
- High sperm count
- Regular monthly menstruation (period)
- Healthy uterus
- Ability to financially, emotionally and physically care for a child or children for at least 18-21 years.
- Knowledge of human behavior and development
- Having sex with the ability to have reproductive consequences without having discussed parenthood, or being financially, emotionally or physically able to care for a child or children for 18-21 years
- Belief that having a child or children will fix relationship or solve personal problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
- Low testosterone
- Low estrogen
- Ovarian cysts or cancer
- Testicular cancer
For people with a penis and testicles, it’s important to ensure you have healthy erections, and check your testicles weekly or monthly for any signs of pain, new bumps, or new shapes. These could indicate cancer and should be checked immediately by a medical professional. In addition, it’s important to ejaculate regularly through masturbation or with a partner. For people with a vagina, uterus and ovaries, it’s important to monitor your menstruation cycles, and look for any signs of abnormalities. If they are present, it’s time to seek medical help. For penises and vaginas, irregular smells, bumps, warts, discharges, rashes, itchiness or growths could be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Get these checked immediately.
- Learn more about your own body and sexuality and when you might need to get checked. Planned Parenthood’s Sex Education 101 for Teens provides baseline information for people of all ages. For more in depth information you can also check out their main page.
Learn more about your reproductive health, parenthood, preventing and treating STD’s, and where to get services.
If you are experiencing extreme pain or discomfort in your testicles, penis, vagina or abdomen:
- Dial 911; or
- Go the nearest hospital emergency room