Erections & Impotence
An erection—also known as a boner, hard-on, or stiffy—refers to a penis that has become temporarily enlarged and hard. Erections can occur at all ages—babies still in the womb can even get them. Typically, however, erections become much more frequent during puberty, and at that age they are more likely to be a result of sexual arousal. Erections are completely normal, and they happen to every guy, so if you get one, there's no need to be embarrassed.
When a guy becomes aroused, especially before and during an orgasm, his penis becomes erect as the blood vessels in the spongy tissue of the penis fill with blood. As it gets harder, it also gets longer and wider, and it may even change color. Erections can be completely straight or slightly curved, and both of these are completely normal and acceptable.
There are many reasons that men get erections. For example, when participating in, or when thinking about sexual activities, the body prepares itself for sex by causing the penis to become erect. However, erections can happen for reasons unrelated to sexual activity as well—sometimes they even happen for no reason at all! For example, guys generally get erections while sleeping. The typical male will get an erection anywhere from 3 to 5 times each night while sleeping. Getting erections while sleeping is completely normal, and it is a sign that your penis is healthy. So, when you wake up with an erection, don't worry; it just means that your body is working properly!
The inability to attain an erection that's firm enough for sex, or an erection at all, is called "impotence," or erectile dysfunction. For young adults the usual cause is fatigue, distraction, stress, or intoxication. Most men experience sexual situations where they are unable to obtain a firm erection for successful intercourse.
It is rare for a young man to have ongoing problems with maintaining an erection. A persistent or repeated problem requires a medical evaluation. There are many medical problems that can cause difficulty with erections including depression, diabetes, medication side effects, substance abuse, anxiety as well as other medical problems. A physician can help you understand the cause and offer treatment, usually successfully.
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