12 March 2012

Everything you need to know about erections

Because they are pretty important really

Everything you need to know about erections

If you're male, then you've probably known about erections forever and are totally down with the whole concept of them. But in the same way that the idea of bleeding once a month freaks boys out a bit, erections can be quite a random thing to comprehend if you're a girl. The idea that a part of your body can suddenly become hard and move without you even telling it to is pretty strange. I mean, if your ear became solid and then rose up, that would be a bit of a shocker.

So, all pretty amusing, but... as a boy's willy is the thing that can make you pregnant or transmit an STD, you should really know exactly what is going on with it. Here is our list of essential and non-essential facts about erections…


The Nuts and Bolts (ahem)

An erection happens when blood flows to the penis, and builds up inside it causing pressure. When this happens the blood pressure inside the penis rises dramatically and makes it enlarge and stiffen and point upwards. This state of affairs is what's known as a hard on, stiffie, wood etc. Erections can occur from quite a young age but when boys go through puberty and start to become fertile they increase in number.

Myth buster: There isn’t a bone inside the penis. We don’t know why it’s called a boner… sorry.

When do they happen?

Generally speaking, if all is going according to plan, you get an erection when you are about to have sex, but they er pop up at other times also.

A healthy male averages 11 erections a day, 9 of those when he is asleep. Teenage boys can get even more than that. And they aren't necessarily caused by being turned on. They can be totally random and happen when they least expect or want them to. Which must be a pretty weird thing to have to live with when you think about it...

Myth buster: Boys don’t think about sex every 7 seconds. Whilst they probs do think about it quite a
lot, this stat seems to have been randomly generated some time back in the 20th century and now
everyone thinks it’s true. Take a moment now to imagine how funny it would be if it was actually true… Boys would have no GCSEs for starters.


An erection happens before ejaculation. When boys are younger they can get an erection but haven't developed enough to ejaculate. They can still masturbate and have a 'dry orgasm'. At some point, as they begin puberty, they will start to produce sperm, about 120 million sperm a day to be precise. That builds up and needs to go somewhere and so boys ejaculate or 'cum'. And that's the bit that can get you pregnant. Every time a boy comes, they release between 50 and 400 million sperm. And it only takes one to reach your egg and make a baby...

Once the boy has ejaculated, the erection usually stops. Though sometimes it doesn’t. That's just life really.

Word to the wise: Pre-cum is a white fluid that comes out of the tip of a boys penis when they are excited. It's part of their bodies preparation for having sex. It is different to full ejaculation but it CAN still make you pregnant. 

Myth buster: You can absolutely totally and 100% definitely get pregnant the first time you have sex. And standing up. Basically, if you enter the world of erections, you can get pregnant if you don’t use contraception. End of.

Confused about anything to do with sex, realtionships and STD's? Here are some people who can help:

Further help and advice 

* Type in your postcode and find help in your area at nhs.uk/worthtalkingabout
* likeitis.org.uk/ or call 0845 300 80 90 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to find out how make an appointment at a Marie Stopes centre near you.
* brook.org.uk or call 0800 018 5023 (free) to find out how to make an appointment at one of their advice centres
* fpa.org.uk/
* Childline are always there to talk about this or any other issue in total confidence 24 hours a day on 0800 1111

At the end of the day, life as a girl is pretty difficult, but at least you don't need to worry about getting an erection when you're trying stuff on in TopShop or whatever.

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