The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Why is my penis erect when I wake up?

Why do men and boys get erections each night?


Answer

Once a man is capable of having erections, he generally has four to five erections each night. You generally don't notice them because you are asleep, but they generally occur during the phase of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement). This is the phase when you dream. Since you usually pass through the REM phase just before waking up, you usually find yourself with an erection.

There is a secondary reason for this happening. When you are sexually aroused, muscles in your prostate gland close off the path to your bladder and open the path to the ejaculatory ducts. You have small muscles that hold the bladder closed until you are ready to pee, and the arousal brings in a second set of muscles to make sure urine doesn't escape while you sleep. It happens just before you wake up in the morning because your bladder is full and it is pressing against your seminal vesicles. Recall that as your seminal vesicles become full, you are more easily aroused. Well, in the morning the seminal vesicles may not be full, but because the bladder is crowding them, they behave as if they are full; and so, you easily gain an erection. This is why boys who suffer from nighttime bed wettings grow out of it when they pass puberty. The second set of muscles keep accidents from happening.

Some men jokingly refer to morning erections as your body's automated self-check. In some ways this is true. All men don't have morning erections all the time, but most men experience them frequently, if not daily. If, when you are older, morning erections disappear for a long period of time, especially if it is accompanied with difficulty having an erection during sex, it can be an early indication of upcoming heart problems. Erections work by controlling the flow of blood. The same thing that hardens the arteries of the heart can impede the flow of blood to the penis.

The morning erections are a bit irritating. Your bladder is full, but while you are aroused, you can't pee. Fortunately, it fades shortly, but usually the erection hasn't gone completely away. An erect penis points up, but the toilet is down. Sometimes, in an attempt to get the penis pointing in the right direction, a boy will force his erect penis to point down. It is strongly recommended that you don't do this. You can damage the balloon-like chambers that give you erections. The result will be an erection that curves to one-side or the other. If this does happen to you, the body will usually repair itself in about three months. If it doesn't, scar tissue has probably formed in the chambers. You will have to see an urologist for treatment in this case.

What should you do in the morning? Hold it, and wait for the erection to fade.