It is a normal occurrence for men to experience random erections every once in a while. This type of erection is achieved without sexual stimulation. While random erections can occur in adult men, it has been found to be more common in teenagers and young adults.
Random erections that only occur in the morning in men of any age are normal. Also, you shouldn’t be worried if you are having occasional problems with getting or maintaining an erection.
But if you notice that your erectile function has been impacted too much, you should visit your doctor as it could be that you have erectile dysfunction or other health concerns.
Erections and testosterone
Testosterone and erections have a connection as research has shown that testosterone plays a vital role in sexual function. A study taken showed that men who had higher testosterone levels were able to get stronger erections.
It is still not clear the particular role testosterone plays in achieving random erections. While it is certain that testosterone is involved in getting random erections, erections also occur as a result of several happenings in the body.
A man gets an erection when he becomes sexually excited. Because of this excitement, all the hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles work together to achieve an erection.
An erection starts when nerve signals in the brain stimulate the muscles in the penis to relax. This would increase the blood flow to the penis, which fills it until an erection is created. After this, the vessels close up to sustain the erection.
When a man is no longer sexually excited, the veins to the penis open up and let blood flow out. It is important to note that random erections are a sign of good health and optimal sexual function.
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT)
The most common random erection is the nocturnal penile tumescence, which is often referred to as morning wood. Waking up with an erect penis is the primary symptom of NPT. This is a common thing in both men and boys.
If you have NPT regularly, it is a sign of healthy blood and nerve supply to the penis. Men and boys who have NPT tend to find it easier maintaining an erection while awake. While adults can experience NPT, it is more common in younger men.
As men go through the aging process, their natural testosterone levels experience a gradual decline, and as such, they might have fewer episodes of NPT. Typically, a man gets up to five erections that last for about 30 minutes each while sleeping.
What causes NPT?
NPT occurs because of a number of processes. Research has shown that three major factors contribute to nocturnal penile tumescence. These factors include;
The most notable factor that causes NPT is the hormonal changes that take place in your body while sleeping. When you are deep in sleep is the point where your testosterone levels reach its highest point.
Testosterone is considered the main male sex hormone, and it plays an essential role in most of the bodily functions that occur in men. It is responsible for a man’s deep voice, sex drive, and how he looks.
Since testosterone levels in the bloodstream are at its peak while sleeping, it could lead to NPT and leave you with a morning erection. This is also the reason why men experience fewer random erections as they age.
As men get older, their testosterone begins to decrease gradually, which will result in low sex drive and fewer random erections.
Another reason why you get random erections may be due to a mental factor. As you sleep, higher amounts of cortisol are produced by your body. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone that can impact a lot of bodily functions ranging from your immune system to your ability to keep an erection.
Regardless of that relationship, your body still manages to produce a lot of testosterone when you sleep, which is a major factor that is responsible for your ability to get and maintain an erection.
When you wake up from a REM sleep with high levels of testosterone, you are more likely to have an erection.
Also, waking up with an erection could be because of a physical component. While you sleep, if you have physical contact with your partner, your penis may be stimulated, and it would cause you to have an erection.
In some cases, the pressure from the pillow, sheets, or clothing could lead to an erection.
Typically, when you are awake, your body produces several hormones that can suppress erections. But the production of these hormones is reduced while you are sleeping. Because of this, you are more likely to experience NPT and also have erections while you sleep.
NPT and Erection health
Experiencing NPT is a good sign that you have good general and erectile health. If you wake up with an erect penis or you get other random erections, it goes to show that your body is fully capable of getting an erection.
It also means that you are most likely not affected by erectile dysfunction. You should not be worried if you don’t wake up with an erection occasionally.
Most men typically get up to five erections while they sleep. So, it is possible to wake up at the wrong time and end up without an erection.
But, if you are frequently not having random erections or waking up with an erection, it could mean that you have an underlying health problem such as erectile dysfunction.
If you are worried that you do not have nocturnal erections, you can try the postage stamp test. This test involves you securing a length of connected postage stamps to your flaccid penis before going to bed.
If you wake up and notice that the perforated connections of the stamps are torn, it is proof that you are getting nocturnal erections.
How frequently do men get erections
On average, a man gets up to eleven erections during the day and about five more at night. These random erections can happen for several reasons, and it is not dependent on only when a man is sexually excited.
Sometimes erections happen when there is no sexual stimulation. This is why most men wake up with an erection. This morning erection is the last out of the 1 to 5 erection that men have during the night, and each of these erections lasts for about 30 minutes.
During REM sleep is when nighttime erections usually, when a man is dreaming about something. A lot of research is still ongoing to know exactly why they happen.
But other research suggests that these erections occur to preserve elastic penile tissues. Healthcare providers often use the info about nighttime erections to diagnose erectile dysfunction.
Another type of these random erections is known as the reflex erection. This type of erection can happen when a man is scared, nervous, angry, or stressed.
Some other factors that could contribute to reflex erections include an enlarged prostate condition, the need to urinate, or recreational drugs. These random erections are most frequent in teenagers and young adults.
A lot of teenagers worry that they have random erections at the wrong time, but it is a normal part of the growing process. As men age, they would experience a decline in the frequency of their random erections.
When to see your doctor
If you notice that there is a significant change in the frequency of your erections, you should visit your healthcare provider. Also, if you are experiencing pain before, during, or after an erection, you should see your doctor immediately.
And if you have an erection that lasts for more than four hours, ensure that you go to an emergency room as soon as possible. Random erections are normal, and as such, there is no need to manage them medically.
How to manage random erections
Random erections are mostly unavoidable. If you are very worried about your random erections, speak to your healthcare provider as they can determine whether your erections are normal or a sign of a health condition.
However, if you get a random erection, these are some of the ways you could manage it.
♦ Try to focus on something else; think about something other than the erection. Research has shown that erections pass faster when you distract yourself.
♦ Try not to stimulate your erection. If you stimulate your random erection further, it could turn to a normal erection. Normal erections take a longer time to pass than random erections.
♦ If you are standing, you can hide your erections by putting your hands in your pocket. When your hands are in your pocket, you can gently shift the position of the erection, so it’s closer to your body.
♦ Try changing your position. You would find it easier to hide your erection if you sit down in a way that your pants are huddled in the crotch area.
Also, it is important to note that random erections are normal, and they could signify that you are sexually healthy.