The Science Of Erections: Here’s Everything You Need To Know About This Curse!

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For most men, getting an erection is as simple as breathing, but in fact, it’s a very complex process involving a precise sequence of psychological and physiological events that can easily go wrong. Here's how erections work, explained scientifically!

First, something triggers a sense of arousal in a man.

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Then, the “arteries relax and open up to let more blood to flow in; at the same time, the veins close up."

"Once blood is in the penis, pressure traps it within the corpora cavernosa. Your penis expands and holds the erection."

uroncology.com

For centuries, scientists have understood that the two paired cylinders within the penis, the corpora cavernosa, when trapped with blood, are responsible for the rigidity of an erection. But as late as the 1980s, scientists still weren't sure how the blood became trapped within the penis in the first place.

Here's what scientists say about erections:

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Without some kind of mechanism to trap the blood that's released during the initial stage of the erection, the increased blood flow stemming from sexual arousal would just flow into the penis and then flow out through the veins, making the penis full — or tumescent — but never hard.

There's no other part of human anatomy with a draining system that allows blood to leave at one time and then change to a system where the blood is trapped at a high pressure.

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Scientists have solved the mystery through an increased understanding of the corpora cavernosa. The interior of these cylindrical structures is like a sponge, with cavernous spaces lined with smooth muscle.

And as every man knows, an erection starts in the brain.

media.glamour.com

Sensory or mental stimulation (i.e. sexual arousal) is followed by a burst of a brain chemical called nitric oxide which functions as a neurotransmitter.

Nitric oxide causes the smooth muscle enzyme guanylate cyclase to produce a messenger called cyclic guanine monophosphate (cGMP), which acts to increase the size of blood vessels carrying blood to the penis, and decreases the size of vessels carrying the blood out.

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When the smooth muscles are relaxed, blood can flow in through the arteries and fill the spaces. This influx of blood creates pressure in the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand. The tunica albuginea then acts like a trap door, keeping the blood in the corpora cavernosa, allowing for sustained erections.

The whole thing comes to an end when muscles in the penis contract to stop the inflow of blood and opens the veins for blood outflow.

edc2.healthtap.com

Finally, what we have so far described was related to the fact that the brain was able to secrete neurotransmitters such as nitric oxide, dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and noradrenalin in response to physical or involuntary arousal. However, in some cases, the erection can also occur when asleep, or by electrical stimulation, spinal cord injury, or the use of certain medications.

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