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Looking under the hood of the male body reveals more than a simple sex-driven, sperm-carrying system. In fact, scientists are still trying to decipher some of the mysteries of the male physique. Here are some wild facts, and unknowns, about a guy's body, from his other brain and the male G-spot to lactating man-breasts and more.
More to Semen Than Just SpermSlide 2 of 21
More to Semen Than Just Sperm
The sticky concoction called semen holds more than just sperm(those DNA-carrying swimmers that make a mad dash for the nearest egg). In fact, semen is a combination of sperm and fluids produced by accessory glands surrounding the penis. Its non-sperm ingredients include a mix of fructose, molecules made from fatty acids called prostaglandins, and proteins that nourish sperm and help them swim, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Additional fluids from the prostate and bulbourethral glands are slightly alkaline, or basic, reducing the acidity of any urine residue in the urethra, neutralizing the acidic environment of the vagina, and lubricating the tip of the penis for intercourse.
And turns out, what a man eats affects the quality of this semen, with a study published in 2012 in the journal Human Reproduction finding that guys who consumed more of the fat often found in fish (called omega-3s) had better-formed sperm than those who ate less of the fishy fat.
And while semen carries those critical egg fertilizers, some women are allergic to it, reacting to it with genital itching, burning and swelling. In severe cases, women may experience hives or swelling elsewhere on the body, and even difficulty breathing. A study described in 2011 at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Philadelphia suggested a possible cure: frequent sex.Slide 3 of 21
Bulging GroinsSlide 4 of 21
Hernias are weak areas in the outer layer of the abdominal cavity that bulge out like little balloons. There are several kinds of hernias, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, depending on where they form in the abdomen. But inguinal hernias, those that extend into either side of the groin, are more common in men than in women. Weak spots in the inguinal ring, the entrance to a canal housing arteries and nerves that run to the testes, allow fat or parts of the small intestine to slip through, creating a bulge in the groin (and not the good kind).
Though women also have an inguinal ring and canals, they aren't as large as those in men. Some men are born with weak spots in the inguinal ring, which can cause hernias; they can also occur because of lifting a heavy object or straining on the toilet.Slide 5 of 21
The Other Male BrainSlide 6 of 21
The Other Male Brain
Some reflexes, or involuntary muscle movements, are well known. Hit the area below your kneecap and your lower leg jerks up. But you may be surprised to find out muscles wrapped around a man's testes, called cremaster muscles, also display reflexes; though if you hit the surrounding area you probably won't get the response you're looking for.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cremaster muscles are normally responsible for pulling the testes closer to the body when it gets cold or when a man is sexually aroused. And rather than responding to the knee-jerk hammer, the cremaster reflex activates when the inner part of a man's upper thigh is stroked. The cremaster muscle contracts on the same side as the stroking, momentarily pulling the testes up toward the body.Slide 7 of 21
Foreskin - What Is it Good For?Slide 8 of 21