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Understanding Erections – Mental States and Physical Reactions



When we think about what it takes to get an erection, we think of having a hot sex partner or at least some hot sexy material to look at! We don’t generally think about muscles and blood vessels because, well, let’s fact it, that’s just not very sexy! But every man who is concerned about improving and expanding the quality of erections and making his sexual life the very best it can be needs to have a basic understanding what happens when we get an erection, so let’s take a look at what goes on behind the scenes when we get hard and ready for action!

You may already know that the regulation of blood flow to the penis is what makes it possible to produce an erection. What many don’t know is that there are specific tissues in the shaft of the penis that are designed especially to gather blood. This leads to a build up that force the penis to become hard and erect, not unlike the way a dam traps water. The dam analogy helps us understand the process because of the way a dam is designed to manage the flow of water. In the same way, blood is released after sperm are ejaculated, as the regulation of blood flow allows the penis to return to its state of rest after the work of producing sperm.

What is fascinating about the whole experience from a biological perspective is that we see that the penis, and thus male sexuality, is not separated from the rest of the body. An erection is, in fact, highly dependent upon another bodily organ—the brain. It is only when the brain sends out signals that travel down the spinal cord to the nerves of the pelvis and finally the prostate gland that the arteries that supply the penis with blood are engaged, and engorged. So the beginning of the erection process is pretty much the way most men think it is; it all begins with the proper stimulation. But the cycle that starts with that hot babe next to you undressing and the arteries pumping blood to the penis must be working smoothly for the thoughts and desires of a man to be put into successful and satisfying action.

The power of an erection is a wonder of human anatomy. The pressure of blood in the penis during an erection can be double that of normal circulation. The pelvic muscles contract and act like a vise to hold the power of the erection, which allows the intensity of thrusting and pleasure that is the heart of the sexual act.

But there is another major link in the chain, and that is the switch from intense, erect force to release during orgasm. We find that there is a change in the type of neural activity occurring at the time of orgasm. Noradrenalin levels rise as the brain and nerves in the penis build to a frenzy that mirrors the physical passion that accompanies orgasm.

The rise in noradrenalin that occurs at the explosion of orgasm corresponds to a loosening of the muscles that lets blood flow decrease. This change is quite rapid when one thinks of how intense the blood pressure and tightening of the muscles is before the penis returns to a state of calm after the orgasmic storm.

There are many factors involved in a healthy, happy and pleasurable sex life, from psychological to lifestyle choices to the basic biology of sex. Understanding the way an erection works can help us see the way mental states and physical reactions are interrelated, and understand the complex partnership between brain and nervous system and the penis itself. At the same time, understanding the flow of blood through the circulatory system and the muscular contractions that are so essential to erection and orgasm allow us to see the network of blood and muscle that must be maintained in optimal condition for us to get the most of our sexual experiences.