Erection, Emission and Ejaculation – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:01 Now, for the reproductive organs, for erection, emission and ejaculation, it is slightly more complicated.

    00:09 The same principles exist.

    00:12 We have our superior hypogastric plexus.

    00:15 We have our hypogastric nerves.

    00:19 We have the inferior hypogastric plexus.

    00:23 But the actual process of erection, emission and ejaculation use both parasympathetic and sympathetic. So for an erection to occur that is mostly down to a parasympathetic input.

    00:42 So for an erection to occur, the smooth muscle of the erectile tissues relaxes and this allow blood to fill the erectile tissues.

    00:53 So with parasympathetic input via the prostatic plexus.

    00:57 So erection can occur while the smooth muscles of the erectile tissue relaxing allowing the blood to fill these spaces.

    01:07 Now for emission to occur, that's when the semen and the sperm are delivered to the prostatic urethra as a sympathetic response.

    01:20 So a sympathetic response allows the sperm to pass along the vas deferens and enter into the prostatic urethra.

    01:28 And that's emission. We can see that's happening via say the testicular plexus which we can see here.

    01:36 So we have multiple systems, multiple plexuses going on that enable both the erection to emission to occur.

    01:46 For ejaculation where semen is expelled through the external urethral orifice.

    01:53 Then that uses sympathetic input. That's important because it closes off the internal urethral sphincter. If it didn't then semen could pass into the bladder.

    02:05 We know closure of the internal urethral sphincter is a sympathetic response.

    02:10 So it utilizes that pathway.

    02:13 And also, for the ejaculation to actually occur, we need to contract the bulbospongiosus muscle.

    02:20 Because the bulbospongiosus muscle is surrounding the corpus spongiosum. It's surrounding the urethra that now has the sperm in.

    02:30 And contraction of this muscle squeezes the urethra and it ejaculates the semen. So we see that for erection, emission and ejaculation, it's a whole process that involves both somatic and autonomic systems, complicated process.

    02:50 For the uterus and the vagina, we can return to our typical superior hypogastric plexus, inferior hypogastric plexus and our hypogastric nerves that communicate between the two.

    03:05 And we can see for the uterovaginal plexus this runs alongside the uterine artery.

    03:12 And really it's an extension of the inferior hypogastric plexus.

    03:17 So we can see we have got the inferior hypogastric plexus here and then running alongside the uterine artery, we can see we have got the uterovaginal pelxus.

    03:27 That's going to have inputs from the sympathetic nervous system, so coming from the lumbar regions that pass into the inferior mesenteric plexus, then drop down via the superior hypogastric plexus and the hypogastric nerves.

    03:46 And we can see the inferior hypogastric plexus also has the pelvic splanchnic nerves passing from S2-S4.

    03:56 So we can see that we have a whole series of these autonomic nerves supplying the organs within the pelvic.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Erection, Emission and Ejaculation – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs by James Pickering, PhD is from the course Pelvis.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Parasympathetic via S2–S4
    2. Parasympathetic via S3 and S4
    3. Sympathetic via L1 and L2
    4. Sympathetic via L3 and L4
    5. Parasympathetic via S1 and S2
    1. Bulbospongiosus
    2. Corpus spongiosum
    3. Corpus cavernosum
    4. Detrusor muscles
    5. Puborectalis

    Author of lecture Erection, Emission and Ejaculation – Autonomic Nerves of Abdominopelvic Organs

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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