Response of the urethral and intracorporeal pressures to cavernosus muscle stimulation: role of the muscles in erection and ejaculation

Urology. 1995 Jul;46(1):85-8. doi: 10.1016/S0090-4295(99)80165-4.


Objectives: The role of the bulbocavernosus (BC) and ischiocavernosus (IC) muscles in erection and ejaculation was studied.

Methods: The response of the urethral and intracorporeal pressure to cavernosus muscle stimulation was evaluated in 18 male volunteers (mean age, 36.6 years). A two-channel microtip catheter was placed in the prostatic and bulbous urethra. Muscle stimulation was done by two needle electrodes inserted into the BC and IC muscles.

Results: BC muscle stimulation caused an increase in the pressure of the bulbous urethra (P < 0.001) and corpus spongiosum (P < 0.01) and an insignificant change in the prostatic and pendulous urethral and corpus cavernosal pressures (difference not significant). IC muscle stimulation effected an increase in the corpus cavernosal pressure (P < 0.001) without changing the urethral pressure (difference not significant).

Conclusions: The BC muscle contracts rhythmically at orgasm and this might help to eject the semen from the posterior to the anterior urethra. It is apparent that the muscle has minimal or no role in erection. IC muscle may have a role in erection by increasing the intracavernosal pressure. It seems that it has no role in ejaculation. BC may be considered the "muscle of ejaculation," and IC the "muscle of erection."

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ejaculation / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Pressure
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Urethra / physiology*
  • Urinary Catheterization