Erection: top five facts
Christian Mueller /

Erection: top five facts

Erections are miracles of nature, but because they are so commonplace we often fail to recognise their mystique. Imagine: a part of the body that enlarges and hardens itself of its own accord! Let Love Matters give you the facts behind the phenomenon.


  1. How erections work

    Basically, an erection occurs when blood engorges the penis, filling the spongy erectile tissue within resulting in an enlarged and stiffened unit.

    For this amazing structure to build on cue, a lot has to go right. First, the brain, realising it is aroused, beams messages to the blood vessels that supply the penis with blood. This causes them to relax and widen, allowing more blood to flow in. The veins that usually carry blood away from the penis are then compressed, trapping the extra blood inside, causing the penis to remain erect until orgasm.

    As far as erect penises go, there are two types. One type, ‘growers’ expand and lengthen when they are aroused, while others, ‘showers’ retain their girth most of the time and don’t grow much bigger during an erection. According to an international Men’s Health survey, 79 per cent of men have growers, while 21 per cent have showers.

    And did you know… sometimes men have erections involuntarily, including when they least desire one, refusing to deflate, much to their embarrassment!

  2. Penises sometimes have minds of their own

    Often erections occur outside of a man’s control. It is usually sexual stimulation that causes them to grow, but anything from a warm breeze, the need to urinate or an idle thought can trigger an erection.

    This is why, on average, men sustain an erection for at least 90 minutes while they sleep. Deep relaxation can also inspire an erection, as can the hormones that are released during REM sleep. On average, a healthy male has three to five erections every night, many lasting 25 to 35 minutes.

    Involuntary erections are more common among young boys (even infants can get them), but can happen to anyone. Such erections are dictated by the nerves in the lower spine and are as unconsciously controlled as digestion or breathing.

  3. Erections and pre-cum

    When a man has an erection, his penis often emits a clear fluid called pre-cum. The purpose of this mysterious liquid is to clean out the urethra and to help keep sperm alive as they move through the vagina towards the egg. Although pre-cum itself contains no sperm, it can sweep sperm from previous ejaculations with it as it travels through the urethra, giving it the ability to impregnate a woman if any gets inside her vagina.

  4. Sadly, penises are breakable

    Beware men: an erect penis is breakable – or ‘fracturable’, as the penis contains no bone to be snapped. Such a fracture occurs when an erect penis is bent too much in the wrong direction, causing a rupture or tear. For a visual, think of a sausage, which will crack if you bend it too much. Medical literature reports about 2,000 cases of such penis fracture each year, though most cases likely go undocumented because patients are too embarrassed to report it.

    Most penis fractures occur during ‘violent intercourse,’ but there are also many cases where men damage their penises by falling out of bed with an erection.

    What’s the cure? Six weeks of rest with a penis splint, or surgery.

  5. Deflation

    Erections deflate following ejaculation in a process called detumescence. It is essentially the reverse of an erection: the penile muscles and arteries contract, the blood flow to the penis decreases, the veins open up, the trapped blood begins draining and soon the penis has returned to its idle state of slight contraction.

    At this point, called the refractory period, it is usually difficult for a man to have another erection. This stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on factors such as age and how frequently the man has sex.

    Got any more intriguing facts about erections? Share them with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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Recent Comments (27)

  1. My penis idle on one side of
    My penis idle on one side of thigh,does it mean has fracture?

    1. No, that’s totally fine,
      No, that’s totally fine, Augustine. Do you ever feel any pain?

  2. wat causes premature
    wat causes premature ejaculation

    1. It’s usually being
      It’s usually being inexperienced or not having had sex in a while. You can try to learn to take more time by masturbating, and trying to last as long as you can!

      1. A u trying to say maturation…
        A u trying to say maturation is good for longer ejaculation?

        1. Hello Hexbon, masturbation…

          Hello Hexbon, masturbation before having sex does indeed help you last longer.

  3. Do ladies feel it during
    Do ladies feel it during ejaculation? And do sparms increase the hips of women?

    1. Yes, ladies can feel
      Yes, ladies can feel ejaculation. And a man’s movements and facial expressions also change during ejaculation.
      No, sperm does not affect hip size.

    2. M looking for a serious…
      M looking for a serious partnetett,below iz my phone no,;+25670641336

  4. For how long should a normal
    For how long should a normal man retain his erection before enjaculation,or even without ejaculation..?.how long does a normal man takes before 1st ejaculation during sex?.what causes premature ejaculation?

  5. am really learning much, keep
    am really learning much, keep up, am asking what could be tha problem coz samtyms am having painful erections

    1. Hi hez,

      Hi hez,
      can you tell us a bit more about the pain, when does it start, does it go away after a while?

  6. you are such a helpful crew
    you are such a helpful crew.bravo

  7. i just go one round or two in
    i just go one round or two in one night for 20 mins

    1. Jimmy,

      This is completely normal for men to have what is called a refractory period, where it cannot get hard after ejaculation. Honestly, your body is just telling you that it needs some time. There is no real way to change it or make it happen less, so just try to work with your body. If you are really hoping to have more sex, then take the time to recharge and focus on your partner. This is a good time to focus on them and give them pleasure. You will become hard again in no time and continue.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Hi Jeff,
      there is very little data on this.
      It is assumed that the risk is relatively low. However, using condoms is very effective, and if you are HIV positive, you should use them all the time.

  8. does mastubating daily cause
    does mastubating daily cause any problem .I.e makes u poor in bedroom

    1. Nope, masturbation is a
      Nope, masturbation is a normal part of a healthy sex life, even if you do it daily.

  9. I have been watching porn
    I have been watching porn films, some guys relises the sperms with a great pressure while others not. What makes the pressure to be off different levels and those with low pressures can they pregnate a woman?

    1. Friar,

      pressure has nothing to do with the ability to get a woman pregnant, don’t worry.
      And please keep in mind that porn isn’t a good depiction of that sex looks like in real life.

  10. i have a wife and anytime i
    i have a wife and anytime i sleep with her even during daytime i just want to have sex with her.Since we got maried it has been an habit dat we have to have sex everyday so plz help me to know the reason for doing sex everyday.

    1. Hi David,

      Hi David,

      You have a sex life that most couples wish for. There is nothing wrong with having sex everyday as long as you both enjoy it. Its called a healthy sex life so keep enjoying it David.

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