Getting an Erection The Ins and Outs of Penis Function

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    Mar 04, 2013
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Getting an Erection The Ins and Outs of Penis Function Photo by John Dugan

The penis is a remarkable feat of engineering. One moment, it's soft and flat, and seconds later, it's standing out from the body and throbbing with sensation. When the stimulation has passed, it returns to its soft state once more as though nothing had happened. As many an embarrassed teen knows all too well, an erection comes on whether a man wants it or not, and much of the process is outside of a man's sphere of control. But knowing how the penis works could help men know their bodies just a little better, and caring for the penis properly can help men to avoid damage that may lead to poor-quality erections.

From Thought to Action

An erection begins in the brain. An enticing thought, an interesting view or an intriguing noise can all trigger the brain to get ready for sex, and when this signal occurs, the brain starts sending a series of messages through the spinal cord to the blood vessels inside the penis.

Those chemical messages tell the blood vessels in the penis to loosen and relax, opening up as wide as they possibly can. These open spaces create a vacuum, and blood from nearby tissues begins to rush into these gaps. The blood winds through big blood vessels until they are full, and then the blood seeps into the tiny vessels that line the spongy interior of the penis. The pressure mounts as the penis fills up, and when a specific firmness point has been reached, other cells in the penis tighten and lock down, keeping that additional blood from leaving the area. Soon, the penis is ready for action.

A Fading Sensation

If left to its own devices, the penis might stay firm for about 30 minutes. That's how long nighttime erections tend to last in the average man, unless a dream takes a wild turn or the man is awakened suddenly. A sense of firmness during a sexual activity, on the other hand, might only last for a few minutes. The steps to lose an erection are the same, but the implementation is immediate during sex and subtle and slow in other scenarios.

When the brain knows that playtime is over, it sends an all-clear signal to the penis, and the cells that have trapped blood inside the organ are allowed to loosen. Similarly, the blood vessels inside the penis are allowed to tighten back up, and they expel the extra blood from the penis. The firmness begins to fade as blood leaves these tissues, and the whole episode fades away into memory.

Possible Problems

The channels that fill with blood when a man is aroused are spongy and straight. Men who treat their penis roughly during sex or masturbation can do damage to those cells, and they may notice that the penis curves just a little when it's erect. Those damaged cells are to blame. Proper penis care can keep them from forming, and these steps can also keep existing damage from worsening.

Masturbation techniques involving dry friction and forceful pulling are most closely associated with penis cell damage, as are sex positions that involve bending and contortion. These acts may feel wonderful in the moment, but they can be hard on the penis. Tender, slower, deliberate motions executed with plenty of lubricant can provide intense pleasure without the awkward side effects.

A penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) may also be beneficial, as these products can keep the skin of the penis smooth and pliant. Skin like this is likely to move when needed, rather than sticking to deeper structures in a tight, painful cap. These creams may also contain essential vitamins that penis cells need in order to respond to signals from the brain, ensuring that an erection works as it should.

Author's Profile

For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

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