Ejaculation is the discharge of sperm from the male reproductory tract as a result of an orgasm. It is the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases, ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease. Ejaculation may also occur spontaneously during sleep. Anejaculation is the condition of being unable to ejaculate. Ejaculation is usually very pleasurable for men; dysejaculation is an ejaculation that is painful or uncomfortable. Retrograde ejaculation is the condition where semen travels backward into the bladder rather than out the urethra.
When a man has achieved a sufficient level of stimulation, the orgasm and ejaculation begin. At that point, under the control of the sympathetic nervous system, semen containing sperm is produced (emission). The semen is ejected through the urethra with rhythmic contractions. These rhythmic contractions are part of the male orgasm. They are generated by the bulbospongiosus and pubococcygeus muscles under the control of a spinal reflex at the level of the spinal nerves S2–4 via the pudendal nerve. The typical male orgasm lasts several seconds.
It usually begins during the first or second contraction of orgasm. For most men, the first ejection of semen occurs during the second contraction, while the second is typically the largest expelling 40% or more of total semen discharge. After this peak, the magnitude of semen the penis emits diminishes as the contractions begin to lessen in intensity. The muscle contractions of the orgasm can continue after ejaculation with no additional semen discharge occurring. A small sample study of seven men showed an average of 7 spurts of semen followed by an average of 10 more contractions with no semen expelled. This study also found a high correlation between the number of spurts of semen and total ejaculate volume, i.e., larger semen volumes resulted from additional pulses of semen rather than larger individual spurts.
Recovery Period of Ejaculation
Most men experience a refractory period immediately following an orgasm, during which time they are unable to achieve another erection, and a longer period again before they are capable of achieving another ejaculation. During this time a male feels a deep and often pleasurable sense of relaxation, usually felt in the groin and thighs. The duration of the refractory period varies considerably, even for a given individual. Age affects the recovery time, with younger men typically recovering faster than older men, though not universally so.
Whereas some men may have refractory periods of 15 minutes or more, some men can experience sexual arousal immediately after ejaculation. A short recovery period may allow partners to continue sexual play relatively uninterrupted by ejaculation.