Erections

Often without your permission
Image by Nicki Varkevisser CC BY 2.0 Cropped

Penis getting stiff too often?

Becoming a sex maniac?

When I get a 'hard-on' in the subway, I think, "Oh no, everybody's noticing me!". I don't have any control over it and it makes me want to slink off and not even get off at my stop.

Today

It is like every guy has a rule in their head that erections should only happen when he is wanting to have sex or dreaming about sex or making out with a girl. If an erection happens any other time without his permission it is a major cause for concern.

Nothing could be further from reality. Erections will happen to a teenage boy anywhere and everywhere and frequently and without permission. It is normal!

Definitions

Penis
This is the part of your body that you pee out of.
Erection
This is when your penis becomes hard and stiff.
Aroused
In this context means having a sexual response (erection).
Street names for erections
Boner, Stiffy, Hard-on, Crack a stiff, Crack a fat, Woody, Fat, Tool-up... and lots of others...

The concerns

  • I get erections "all the time".
  • My penis seems to have a mind of its own.
  • I never used to be like this.
  • Is there something wrong with me? (Maybe cancer!)
  • Am I becoming a sex maniac? (like the rapist I saw on T.V.?)
  • Am I becoming gay? (There were only boys around the last time it happened!)
  • What will people think if they see the bulge in my pants?
  • Is my penis big enough when I have an erection?

Erection facts

Erection of the penis during adolescence can be very rapid. Full erection can be achieved within three to five seconds from the start of stimulation. Stimulation can be direct or indirect through fantasy. The adolescent's penis at times seems to have a 'mind of its own' and will erect at awkward moments, causing him to feel embarrassed. It may erect for example after being rubbed slightly by his clothes while he is walking, due to pressure when he sits down, to the touch of bodies...., to daydreams, while he is listening to stories with a sexual theme, while he is talking to girls, or while he is looking at advertising displays featuring the female body.

Erections can also happen while the teenager is doing an activity he particularly likes or one that causes strong emotions such as excitement or fear (e.g. abseiling or go-kart racing) or for absolutely no reason at all - even at church.

It is not uncommon for a boy to experience an erection when he definitely doesn't want one - like when getting changed or showering with others after sports. There is something about having other naked bodies around a guy that can trigger him off. Also, if one guy gets and erection, you can be sure that others will respond the same way in a very short space of time!

It is the release of the male hormone 'testosterone' into the blood stream that causes your body to overreact to all these situations and give you erections of your penis.

Physically speaking, erections happen when your brain directs extra blood to your penis. This is needed when you are an adult to be able to successfully have sex with a woman for pleasure and to produce children. As a teenager, your brain has to learn to 'get it right' about when to send the extra blood down there. While your brain learns, you have to put up with all the false alarms! 'Now?' says the brain. 'No, not now' you respond. 'Oops - too late to turn back'. Let's trigger off the embarrassment center in the brain as well!

Erections anywhere

We have a dog that shows up occasionally through the evening just to say 'hello' for no reason at all. In addition, if there is anything exciting or unusual happening, you can guarantee the dog will also show up to see what is going on.

That is a bit like it is for teenage boys: their penis becomes erect sometimes for no reason at all, but if there is some action that excites the boy or something happens that the boy really likes (not even sexual) then very often an erection happens!

Whenever I'm playing football or baseball on the Sony PlayStation I always get an erection.

age 16, Missouri [1]

I don't know why, but when "E. T." lights his finger up. That just gives me an erection for some reason.

age 12, Florida [2]

My first "sexual experience," if you can call it that, came when I was about 8 years old, watching a James Bond film. One of the Bond Girls removed her bra. You didn't see anything, but the very idea of an exposed breast gave me what I later understood to be my first erection.

age 19 USA [2]

This is ridiculous. I'm 19, and I still wake up EVERY day with an erection. But that's not the ridiculous part. I seem to have some sort of clock in my penis that knows it's 10 AM. Every day, at 10AM, I get an erection. It doesn't matter whether I'm at work, sitting in my car, or in school. It's embarrassing! I've been dealing with the 10 AM erection, as well as ones at other random times, since I was 14. Aren't the random erections supposed to stop by now? I'm tired of trying to hide it all the time.

age 19, Missouri [2]

Although the number of unwanted erections decreases as the boy moves into adulthood, he never gets total control over that member of his body throughout his entire adult life.

It is normal for all guys to often have several erections at night while sleeping and to wake in the morning with an erection as well (morning glory, morning wood).

What you can do about erections

Males are aroused sexually mainly by what they see with their eyes or with their mind's eye (imagination). They can also be aroused by other sources too e.g. touch or smell but eyes remain the main source of arousal.

Controlling thoughts and what a guy looks at can go some way to helping stop unwanted erections, but whatever he does, erections will still remain a part of the adolescent boy's life.

Gym showers

Guys can be afraid of getting an erection or being tormented about their 'size' when they are forced to shower together after sport sessions. For some guys this is a fear that dominates the rest of their week leading up to gym class.

Firstly, you can be assured that very few guys are comfortable with the group shower situation that is typical of the US school system. You are not alone in your feelings. The guys who would make fun of you are generally the ones who feel the most insecure and try and get the attention onto someone else.

If you spend time fearing an erection, then it will most likely happen! It is like setting an exercise of trying not to think of pink elephants for the next 5 minutes - and what can't you stop thinking about then for the next 5 minutes?

Watch what you are looking at in the change room. Every guy is turned on by what they see and that particularly relates to teenagers with any situation even remotely sexual - and guys walking around with no clothes on comes into the 'sexual' category. Just get on with what you have to do and then leave. While you are in the change room, try and send your mind to another place. Think about mowing the lawn or painting the house!

Instead of imagining yourself 'failing' during the showers, try and imagine yourself going through the whole shower scene and coming out without having had an erection! That might take some effort at first, but sports stars use that method all the time to visualize themselves as winners to overcome their fears.

These tips might help but they are not a guarantee. Teenagers get erections all the time and that is life - it could happen to any guy in the shower.

See this link to see the change in attitude towards having to shower after gym class. [5]

Throbber

You need to be aware that when you get an erection and your penis is even lightly pressed against another person, that other person can feel amplified throbbing of your blood pulse through your penis!

For most guys when you get a real hard erection, you can feel the throbbing of your own penis. What I am talking about occurs as soon as your penis begins to get erect and continues through all stages of erection. You mostly can't feel the throbbing but the other person can.

Just be aware the way your body works in this area.

Unknown erection

Guys can be feeling good 'down there' and not realise they are getting an erection. This is especially true of young guys in the start of puberty who have not learned to immediately associate those 'good feelings' with their penis beginning to get stiff. This can be embarrassing when other people notice the erection and say something.

Q & A

Lately my penis has been getting hard all the time, even when I don't think about sex at all. It seems to have a mind of its own. What can I do about it? It's really embarrassing sometimes -- at school, when I've got a bulge in my pants, I imagine everyone is staring at it.

age 14, Australia [2]

Welcome to puberty! You're describing one of the most common experiences of a boy's teenage years. There are some ways to help this problem, though. Wear tighter underwear (briefs) and less revealing pants, and if you feel yourself start to get an erection, discreetly put a hand in one of your pockets and move your penis so it's pointing to the side. It also helps sometimes to keep your hands in your pockets, so you can hold your penis in this position. Other than that, good luck! [2]

Different Advice:
Many guys my age are really self-conscious about showing their erections while you're in shorts or something. I (and probably many others) have found a way so nobody can tell. Basically, put your penis against your stomach and slide up your underwear or pants so the elastic band that holds up your shorts/underwear is covering your penis. This keeps it from poking out. After a while, the erection will go down and you won't have to worry about it anymore. [2]

Last week I saw two dogs having sex and as I watched them I started to get an erection. Is there something wrong with me because I got turned on?

age 12, New Zealand

No! Teenagers are easily turned on by anything sexual or even non sexual - including watching animals mating.

In class the other day it was crowded around a science desk and my knee was against another guy's leg and I got an erection! Is there something wrong with me! Does it mean I am gay?

age 13, Australia

No - it doesn't mean you are gay! Your body responds to the touch of another person. The touch sensors in your skin don't know whether you are touching a boy or girl - they just respond to touch.

Once, in the locker room, I had an erection when I saw some of the other guys changing...does this mean I'm gay?

age 14, Belgium

As some of the other answers have said, guys easily become sexually aroused in their teen years. This can happen in completely non-sexual situations, in situations like locker rooms where guys are changing, and of course in actual sexual encounters. Having an erection in the locker room is generally embarrassing. You may even have been teased or called names like 'fag', but it does not mean that you are gay.

In the same way, if a guy finds a magazine with pictures of naked men and is turned on, that does not mean that he is necessarily gay. Teenagers are often aroused by anything that is sexual, whether it has to do with the opposite sex or the same sex.

Your sexuality is now 'wide awake' but it still needs time to find its focus. Be careful not to do things, or participate in stuff that could direct your sexuality in directions you do not want it to go in your life.

Bent penis

Hi, I'm 17 years old, and I would like to know what is wrong with my penis. I started to masturbate when I was about 12 going to 13, .... then I saw that my dick wasn't straight anymore, it curved to the right. I tried to bend it back as hard as I can, but it won't go back it only hurts. I think I have some disorder. I was chatting and some one said they could put a cast on it. So I don't know. I'm afraid of what girls will think when they see it. please, if it's a disorder, please help me. thank you. email me back.

age 17 Florida [2]

I have masturbated for over a year, and it seems my penis is bending to the left side. Do all guys' penises do that?

age 14, Iowa [2]

My friend's penis curves upward when it is erect, and mine doesn't. Why is that? Our penises are the same size.

age 16, Pennsylvania [2]

My erect penis curves upward by about 30 degrees. It doesn't affect me in any way apart from how it looks. What will girls think?

age 15, Alaska [2]

This is much more common than you think. Don't worry about it. A woman's vagina is highly flexible, so it's not likely to have any anatomical (physical) bearing on intercourse. Every penis is built a little differently. Some curve down, and some curve to the left or right when erect. (Some point straight out when erect, others are hard against the stomach.) If it provides pleasure, it shouldn't matter what shape it is. [2] Have a look at the charts on the Penis page for more information about how common this is.

By the way, girls have exactly the same "what will they think?" concerns about their bodies. [2]

If your penis suddenly bends after being straight (especially if there is pain involved), or the bend is gradually getting worse, then you should see a doctor. Take along a digital image to show him the problem.

Viagra

Viagra (or Cialis) is a brand name for a tablet (Sildenafil) used to give an erection where an erection does not happen naturally for some reason (erectile dysfunction). It is usually prescribed for older men. It is extremely rare for a teenager to be prescribed Viagra by a doctor. Street name for Viagra is 'blue diamond'.

If a person who does not have an erection problem takes Viagra, he can get an erection that lasts longer than four hours. While this sounds like heaven, this is a serious situation called 'priapism' and can cause permanent damage to the penis that needs to be fixed surgically. Taking the drug when there is no erection problem will cause addiction so that normal erections won't happen without the use of the pill. Heart attacks at any age are another possible side effect. [4]

Lack of an erection can be caused by alcohol, anxiety, or medical conditions you may or may not be aware of. 'Performance anxiety' could merely be caused by attempting to have sex with a person you are not completely comfortable with. An erection normally happens naturally when you are intimate with a person you have a relationship of trust which has built up over time.

If you are a teenager suffering from erectile dysfunction, a complete physical examination by your doctor or healthcare provider is essential. Your doctor can determine if any other conditions are involved and help you choose the safest and most effective therapy. Surgery, hormone treatment, medication, and psychotherapy can all be effective treatments.

Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction in Teenagers [3]

Using accessories

It is very dangerous to put your penis inside an object with a hole (example a wrench) whether to try and enhance pleasure or not. If you get an erection, the penis gets bigger and the blood cannot return to your body through the hole in the object. The penis will not go down and requires a hospital visit to get the object cut off. See an example from a newspaper. [6]

More information

YouTube How an erection works (in 60 secs)

Wikipedia Technical detailed description of how an erection works

wikiHow How to Hide an Erection.

References

The following addresses cannot be hyperlinked (page will lose secure status) - copy and paste addresses.
  1. website no longer exists
  2. Adult site (used with permission) - details available on request
  3. http://edguidance.com/erectile-dysfunction-and-teenagers/
  4. http://www.rehabcenter.net/can-i-become-addicted-to-viagra-or-cialis/
  5. http://www.omaha.com/news/education/as-schools-install-more-private-stalls-popularity-of-open-showers/article_fccc3dc7-cd93-5b79-98d7-4e64b5f2cc0c.html
  6. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/tweed-heads-firies-use-angle-grinder-to-free-mans-penis-from-ring-spanner/news-story/a4927c224080aae448c1bac81e95cb64