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What are Erections? Your Guide to Excellent Hard-Ons

May 30, 2024

Have a question about erections? Like, why do they happen at the most inconvenient times? What exactly is dribbling out of it? What's with the raging semis? Continue reading to find answers to all of your burning questions. (Not that your boner should catch fire.)

So, what is it exactly?

So, what is it exactly?

An erection, also known as a boner, wood, or chubby, is a hardening of the penis. The penis is usually flaccid and just hangs around minding its own business. It becomes temporarily engorged with blood and enlarged during an erection. This causes it to feel stiff and to stand up and away from the body.

What causes this to happen?

What causes this to happen?

Sexual arousal, which is caused by seeing, feeling, or even thinking about something that turns you on, is frequently the cause. Erections can also occur for no apparent reason. These random boners are referred to as spontaneous erections. So if you get a stiffy while watching a slug documentary, it's just a penis doing what a penis does, and it's not a big deal. It's also common to wake up with morning wood, whether or not you had a sex dream.

How does it function?

To understand how an erection works, we must first learn about penis anatomy. The corpora cavernosa consists of two chambers that run the length of your penis. Each has a network of blood vessels that form sponge-like spaces. When those blood vessels relax and open, blood rushes through and fills them, inflating the penis and causing an erection. A membrane surrounding the corpora cavernosa helps to trap blood, keeping your D hard. However, erections aren't just about the penis. Your brain also plays a role. When you are aroused, your brain sends signals to your penis, causing the muscles to relax and allow blood to enter.

Is it true that everyone gets them?

Is it true that everyone gets them?

Everyone who has a penis does it. However, certain lifestyle factors, such as being tired, stressed, or intoxicated, can make it difficult to obtain an erection. Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by certain medications and medical conditions.

Is it painful?

It should not be. Most erections make you more aware of your D when you wouldn't normally feel or think about it. However, there are some situations in which an erection may be uncomfortable. Pee boners are one such example. They occur because your penis is designed to keep you from wetting yourself. It's really quite wonderful. You'll feel the burn if you try to pee while still hard. Excessive or particularly vigorous masturbation can also cause discomfort. So, if your pain begins after you've been particularly heavy-handed recently, resting your penis should help. An underlying medical condition or injury, on the other hand, can cause painful erections. If you are experiencing penis pain, you should see a doctor.

What if things start spilling? Is that typical?

What if things start spilling? Is that typical?

Totally normal — as long as what's coming out isn't bloody, green, or yellow, and doesn't stink. (All of these are symptoms of a STI or other infection.) Aside from that, what you're seeing is either ejaculate or pre-ejaculate — or cumulus, as most people refer to it. Ejaculation usually occurs during orgasm. This is when your arousal rises and culminates in an intense, satisfying release accompanied by ejaculate shooting from your penis. It is, however, possible to orgasm without ejaculating. It is also possible to ejaculate without the presence of an O. Cumulus is the thin, slippery fluid that dribbles out of your D when you're hard before ejaculation. It happens to everyone who has a penis and is not a big deal. A note about cumin: It can contain a trace amount of sperm and thus cause pregnancy.

What's the point of it all?

The purpose of an erection is to allow you to engage in penetrative sex. You don't have to have penetrative sex if you don't want to, but in order to get it in there — whether there's a vagina or anus — you have to be a little hard. Penetration without an erection is analogous to pushing a rope.

How do you get rid of it?

One way is that the penis is designed to lose an erection after you've ejaculated. Other than ejaculating, you may be able to get rid of it by removing the source of stimulation, such as:

  • Adjusting your position (or your boner) so your jeans or thighs don't rub it
  • Thinking about something else, preferably nonsexual
  • Reading anything in sight or counting backwards to divert your attention

You can also simply wait it out and cover it with something, such as your bag or jacket, in the meantime. You can try untucking your shirt if it is long enough (the shirt, not the boner). Hightailing it to the nearest exit or washroom might be your best bet if a menacing rager appears at an inconvenient time.

How often should you expect one?

When it comes to how many erections a person should have, there is no hard and fast rule. People with penises have 11 erections per day on average and three to five more each night, but everyone is different. Many factors, such as age, hormone levels, and lifestyle, can influence how frequently you get hard. Consult a healthcare provider if you are concerned about your ability to obtain or maintain an erection. The same applies if you frequently feel hard or have an erection that lasts longer than 2 hours.

Is there anything you can do to avoid this happening?

Not at all. Erections are an expected side effect of having a penis. They're going to happen whether you like it or not. Some of the methods we provided to stop an erection may also help you prevent one, but it's not guaranteed, especially if you have a particularly sensitive penis.

What if you want it to happen?

We're talking now! Being relaxed and allowing yourself to be aroused are the keys to getting an erection.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make up a fantasy about something sexually stimulating.
  • Examine images that pique your interest.
  • View porn.
  • Read some erotica.
  • Not just your penis, but anywhere it feels good.
  • Consider using a sex toy.

How do you know if you're doing everything correctly?

It's fine as long as it doesn't cause you — or anyone else — any pain or distress. Sexual arousal should be pleasurable. Erections should not be a source of embarrassment or guilt. If you're worried about your erections or are struggling with negative feelings about your sexuality, speaking with a professional may be beneficial. You can consult your primary care provider or use the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) directory to find a sexual health professional in your area.

So, what is the bottom line?

So, what is the bottom line?

Erections are a normal part of having a penis. As inconvenient as they may be when they arise on their own, the ability to have them is a sign of good health. Their primary goal may be to facilitate penetrative sex, but there is no pressure. It's your erection, your call.

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