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An erection is when blood enters and fills the spongy tissue of the shaft, until the penis rises and stiffens into hardness. This process usually occurs during some sort of sexual arousal, physical contact, or sexualized thoughts, but most males experience random and uncontrolled full or partial erections without stimuli during the day. These spontaneous erections may be embarrassing if in public but they’re a very natural part of the male experience. Children and infants are known to get erections, as are unborn babies.
In this Piece, we’re going to give you the basics about hard-ons. There will be numerous other times, and mentioned in other Pieces, where we’ll discuss medical issues such as erectile dysfunction and even what happens when you have damaged your cock while erect. But first, we need to discuss the basics of anatomy as well as how and why your member gets stiff.
On average, males will begin obtaining steady erections after the onset of puberty, which usually happens somewhere between the ages of 10-14. Some hard-ons will take the form of “morning wood” and nighttime erections, until a natural decrease around the age of 40, when they might lessen or even stop completely depending on testosterone levels. Until then, most males will have between 4-8 erections while sleeping.
Some males report differences in the type of erections they have during the day and night, as well as their physical and emotional responses to them. These erections will vary in strength and length of stiffness. Morning hard-ons are sometimes called “piss hard-ons” as they are more associated with a need to urinate than sexual arousal. These erections have, in some men, been reported to be “stronger and harder” than those due to sexual arousal.
So-called “semi-erections” are also common. This occurs when a guy is slightly aroused but not totally stimulated. These may turn into full hard-ons or deflate with time or after the removal of the original stimuli.
The time it takes for a male to obtain a full erection and to “deflate,” either after ejaculation or not, depends on the guy, his rate of arousal, the size and girth of his dick.
On average, a guy’s penis, when fully erect, will rise away from the pelvisand point upward and outward, or even downward. But curvatures of the cock are almost as common, with some making turns toward the left or right, and others curving upwards (or downwards). Outside of injures including circumcision, which scars the internal tissue of the penis, curves occur naturally and without issue or pain during erection.
If you do experience pain during an erection, at any point, or have a prolonged erection over 4 hours, seek medical care as this may be a sign of a more serious condition (known as priaprism).
This is a question that only you can answer for yourself. As gay males, we have two questions to ask ourselves about genitalia:
A) What do we like in ourselves?
B) What do we prefer in a partner?
Because of the proliferation of pornography which, by its very nature, employs guys in the less-than-5% population with extra-large endowments, many viewers expect and desire a dick like a porn performer. But you’re most likely not a porn star. You are a regular guy, with a regular sex life. Measured expectations are the key to a happy life.
Length is fun to look at/play with, and some guys enjoy having a longer cock, and a partner with one as well.
As far as sex goes, for some, longer may be better for oral and anal sex as it is able to massage the throat muscles and, if long enough, for anal sex, penetrate your second sphincter. For others, these are bad things.
Girth, is great for a “stretching” of the anus and mouth as well as stimulating your prostate. Described as a “full” feeling, this is preferred by some guys. But there’s no standard right or wrong answer, just what you prefer. Knowing your body will help you decide what is best for you when searching for a sexual partner. This is when masturbation and sex toys can be a major help in self-exploration.
Outside of some type of true deformity, accident or even complication after circumcision, most guys erect cocks look normal. Normal is a relative term and should be avoided. The real issues are, do you have a healthy cock and erections? Erectile dysfunction is a real and growing problem, which we well address in another Piece in the General Health section, but if you are able to obtain an erection, trust us, it looks normal.
Our friend Frank Cosmo, from Cosmopolitan magazine. (Shut up, we just read it for the articles) has some thoughts on the types of erections guys have.
The Pee Boner. This is a fake-out boner that really just happens when you really, really, really have to pee, and goes away right after, like stepping on a garden hose.
2. The Morning Boner. This greets you in the morning with a stiff hello, like a butler that can only pee and ejaculate. This boner is the Egg McMuffin of morning sex: The two go well together.
3. The Ghost Boner. This one comes along and leaves like the wind. There’s nothing happening around you to set it off, there’s no one to see it. It’s just there and gone like an apparition.
4. The “I Don’t Know How I Should Feel” Boner. We’re watching something on TV, like reruns of The Nanny, when suddenly a boner shows up out of nowhere and forces us to come to terms with the fact that we’re sexually attracted to Fran Drescher’s weird accent for some reason.
5. The Inappropriately Timed Boner. This boner pops up at a time that just makes us feel dirty and we really have no idea why its there, like when our dad is saying grace at Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike No. 4, we know in our heart that boner is there for no reason and usually can go away with a little bit of focus. It’s just our penis being a free spirit.
6. The Classic Boner. You can’t beat a classic (well, I guess in this case you can). This is the pre-sex boner that shows up right when we need it most. This is our penis being a bro(ner) and doing exactly what it’s supposed to do exactly when it’s supposed to do it.
7. The Night Boner. This boner shows up right when we want to go to sleep and makes it tough to fall asleep on anything other than on our back. We’re forced to either wait things out or lose 20 minutes of sleep negotiating with it.
8. The Attention-Seeker. This boner pops up when we’re in a public place, or worse, doing a presentation at work. “Hey, what’s going on,” this boner says. “Let me show you my PowerPoint.” This is pretty much every boner we got throughout middle school and most of high school. They’re less common when we’re adults but we can still get them on occasion.
9. The Forever Boner. This boner thinks we’re buds and just wants to hang out a bunch. It’s like that friend that comes over and then doesn’t take the signals a few hours later that it’s time for them to leave because you’re tired. In both cases, the only way to get them to leave is by masturbating.
10. The Legendary Boner. Not all boners are created equal. Sometimes we just wind up getting a boner that has that certain je ne sais quoi that really elevates it above the other boners we normally get. It somehow feels extra manly, like a Viking boner.
11. The Marathoner aka the Tag-Team. This is the boner that shows up right after another boner after sex like, “Yo, what’s up? This penis doesn’t even know what flaccid is.”
12. The Sad Boner. This is the opposite of No. 10. It’s a boner by definition, but nothing more, like our penis just isn’t feeling it. Seeing it instantly makes you sad, like an abandoned baby carriage or present-day Aaron Carter.
13. The Sweatpants Boner. Sweatpants are a boner’s tuxedo. While a boner in and of itself, these boners know they’re out and they don’t have a care in the world.
14. The Public Bathroom Boner. For some reason, our penis decides when we’re sitting on a public toilet seat, now is the time to get hard. All we can do at this point is to start writing out our will, because we want to die.
Honorable Mention: The Denim Non-Boner. The moments when our jeans bunch up in just the wrong way, causing us to desperately try to explain to an uncomfortable stranger, “Oh, don’t worry! That isn’t my penis!” and now somehow things are worse.
The other side of the coin, is erections as comedy standard. Many comedians and B list actors make millions vomiting up their juvenile thoughts on erections and how funny it is to get hit in the balls. These “jokes” aren’t made from a place of male physical security, rather from a deeper, shallow place of insecurity and envy. Laugh if you want, but be in on the joke.
Erections aren’t only natural and normal, they are a daily fact of life for us. Babies get erect and even corpses, so from cradle to grave, a hard dick is what you will have. This is great news. Most of us greet the morning with a stiffy stuck to the sheets and have numerous small and major boners throughout the day. This is our body’s way of telling us that things are going A-OK. If you hate having erections or they make you feel embarrassed, think back on this moment the first time you want one, and cannot get one.
Yes, as noted above, there will be times when your dick seems to have a mind of its own and gets hard at the most inconvenient times, for seemingly no reason. But, you should never feel ashamed to have an erection, or shame others that get them. Take the tip from the god Osiris and enjoy your woody, stroke him, show him love, and he’ll give you pleasure beyond your wildest dreams. Because that is his job.
And because we love erections so much, here are two (2) more for the road.
There is a rare condition called diphallia, where a dude can have two actual functioning dicks.