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Why do men wake up with an erection?

Why do men wake up with an erection?

June 16, 2024

There are many fallacies and myths about why men wake up occasionally with an erection , and yet, it does not have to do with repressed emotions that supposedly are expressed during dreams or because of having sexually stimulating dreams.

The morning erection, known clinically as nocturnal penile tumescence It is a physiological phenomenon that is covered with taboos and shame and that, nevertheless, tells us about the normal functioning of the nervous system in men. Next we will see why it occurs.

  • You may be interested: "Circadian rhythm disorders: causes, symptoms and effects"

Dismantled the myth of nocturnal penile tumescence

Although men think an average of 30 times a day in sex, and tend to give more importance to the frequency with which they have intimate relationships, the morning erection is not exactly due to sexual desire, nor is it experienced by means of an erotic dream Its origin has to do with some unconscious and physiological processes that appear while you sleep .


Thus, in the vast majority of cases it is a natural physical mechanism that consists of the muscular relaxation of the cavernous bodies and the arteries inside the reproductive member, allowing a greater influx of blood and oxygen.

In this way, the penis grows in size in a voluminous way, going from 7 or 8 centimeters in normal state to 14 or 15 centimeters in the state of erection. This process is a good sign of health and regeneration, since it helps to revitalize the tissues of the genital organ, thus preserving optimal functioning.

When does the erection really occur?

Contrary to what is usually commented, morning erections do not appear at the moment of awakening, but occur during the night, with a variable frequency of between 4 or 5 times and a different duration between 20 and 45 minutes. Erections coincide directly with the REM sleep phase , one of the 5 stages of sleep known as "rapid eye movement sleep". In it, people may wake up for a few seconds due to high physiological activity, although these lapses are so short that we almost never remember having experienced them.


In addition, in the REM phase the muscle tone is drastically reduced, which means that most of our muscles are momentarily "disconnected" from the brain and relax completely; parallel to this, the physiological activity increases , which explains that the blood flow to the penis increases.

On the other hand, during sleep multiply testosterone levels , reaching its maximum during the first hour of the morning. This fact, added to the accumulation of urine in the bladder, slightly stimulates the erection.

Should we worry about the morning erection?

As we have already mentioned, this is another concern that confuses some men a lot. Some see it as a problem, but in reality it is a good sign.

Any person who enjoys a good state of health will experience erections with enough constancy throughout the dream. The maximum exponent of this phenomenon is fulfilled in the ages of adolescence, between 13 and 15 years , stage in which the male sex passes more than 35% of sleep in the state of erection.


The absence of this type of awakening is usually a direct symptom of poor erectile function normally associated with bad daily habits (poor eating, sedentary life, smoking) or other more serious ailments that will require medical treatment.

Considerations to the problem

We dedicate this last section for individuals who suffer from erection problems or what is the same, do not experience very often the morning erection.

And is that the loss of sudden erection can be associated with the age or personal psychology of each man, and is also very common with those males who are over 40 years.

As some clinical psychologists and sexologists say, as we get older we lose sexual capacity . This implies, among other things, that the cavernous walls see how their capacity for sponging diminishes, which makes the erection less powerful and less frequent.

As a point of interest, it has been concluded that until the age of 50 years approximately, 80% of cases in the problems of erection have a psychological origin.Depressions, stress, low self-esteem or lack of experience and difficulty in maintaining relationships with the opposite sex are within the range of these problems.

For experts, the solution is relatively simple. One of them is accepting the erectile limitation, accepting the disability, not submitting to the pressure of oneself or of other people. Paradoxically, this can help the problem disappear.

  • Related article: "The psychological causes of erectile dysfunction"

The Science of 'Morning Wood' (June 2024).


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