Is It Normal to Get Erections?

Is It Normal to Get Erections?

Yes. Erections are a perfectly normal function of the male body, especially in guys who are going through puberty.

What Is an Erection?

An erection is a hardening of the penis that occurs when sponge-like tissue inside the penis fills up with blood. Usually, an erection causes the penis to enlarge and stand away from the body.

Erections can go away on their own or after ejaculation, the release of semen through the urethra, the small hole at the tip of the penis.

Sometimes guys ejaculate at night while sleeping (these are called nocturnal emissions or wet dreams). Guys may have several erections and arousal periods while in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, the type of sleep in which most dreams occur.

What Causes Erections?

Although many erections are caused by sexual arousal, such as watching a sexy television show or fantasizing, many erections seem to happen for no particular reason.

So if you've had an erection in an odd or embarrassing situation — like right in the middle of a really boring history lesson — there's no reason to worry that something is wrong with you. Your body is just acting naturally for a guy your age.

Am I Getting Too Many Erections?

Because each guy is different, it's impossible to say what's a "normal" number of erections. Some guys experience many erections each day, whereas others may not experience any.

Hormones fluctuate with age, sexual maturity, level of activity, and even the amount of sleep a guy gets. Unless your erections are causing you discomfort or pain, don't worry about how many you get.

If you're concerned, talk to your doctor, who can answer your questions and probably put your mind at ease.

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Erections?

Because erections usually aren't controllable, there's not much you can do to avoid getting them. Unless the penis is stimulated enough to ejaculate, time is the only thing that will help them go away.

As your hormones settle down and you advance through puberty, the frequency of unexpected erections and wet dreams should decrease.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.
Web SiteGo Ask Alice! Go Ask Alice! is Columbia University's health question and answer service. It offers open and frank discussions of sensitive topics.
Related Articles
What Are Wet Dreams? Find out what the experts have to say.
I'm a Guy. How Can I Talk to My Female Doctor About Certain Things? Find out what the experts have to say.
Is My Penis Normal? Just about every guy wonders about the size of his penis at one time or another.
Male Reproductive System What makes up a guy's reproductive system and how does it develop? Can anything go wrong? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty Voice cracking? Clothes don't fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn't have to be. Read all about it.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter