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Morning Erections

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12 March, 2023
What Are Morning Erections (MEs)?
Morning Erections

What Is A Morning Erection?

A morning erection, also known as nocturnal tumescence or well, ‘morning wood’, is a common occurrence in men of all ages. This natural phenomenon involves the swelling and hardening of the penis during sleep or immediately after waking up. While many men may experience this phenomenon regularly, some may not understand the underlying cause or if it is a cause for concern.


The physiological mechanism behind morning erections is related to the circadian rhythm of the body, which regulates various physiological processes. During sleep, the body undergoes a series of stages known as the sleep cycle. In the rapid eye movement (REM cycle) stage, the body experiences increased blood flow to the genital region, resulting in erections. This can happen several times throughout the night, even if the individual is not consciously aware of it.


While morning erections are a natural and normal physiological response, they can also be a sign of good health. A lack of morning erections could potentially indicate underlying medical conditions such as low testosterone levels, hypertension, or diabetes.


The topic of morning erections is often discussed in popular culture, but it is important to approach the subject with sensitivity and accuracy. Over-sexualizing or stigmatizing morning erections can perpetuate harmful attitudes towards sexuality and male physiology.

What Causes A Morning Erection?

Morning wood is  a natural occurrence for many men. While they are often associated with sexual arousal, morning erections can also be caused by various physiological factors. In this article, we will discuss the causes of morning erections and their importance.

Causes of Morning Erections

  • Hormonal changes: During sleep, the body experiences a surge of testosterone, which can lead to morning erections. Testosterone is responsible for male sexual development and plays a significant role in sexual function.

  • Nervous system activity: The parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the relaxation response in the body, can cause an erection during sleep. Additionally, the brain sends signals to the penis to maintain blood flow during sleep, resulting in morning erections.

  • Physical stimulation: The bladder is located near the prostate gland, and a full bladder can put pressure on the gland, resulting in an erection. This is why many men experience morning erections after waking up.

Importance of Morning Erections

Morning erections are a sign of healthy sexual function in men. They are also an important diagnostic tool for doctors to identify physical and psychological concerns related to sexual health. A lack of morning erections can indicate underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hormonal imbalances.

Who’s More Prone To Morning Erections?

Not all men experience morning erections, and there are various factors that can influence their occurrence.


Age is a significant factor that can influence the occurrence of morning erections. Younger men tend to experience morning erections more frequently than older men. As men age, the frequency of morning erections tends to decline. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, men in their 20s experience morning erections up to four times a night, while men in their 50s may only have one or two per week.

Testosterone levels

Testosterone is the male sex hormone that plays a vital role in sexual function. Low levels of testosterone can lead to a decrease in sexual desire and function, including a reduction in the frequency of morning erections. Studies have found that men with low levels of testosterone are less likely to experience morning erections.


Sleep is another factor that can affect the occurrence of morning erections. It is during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep that most men experience morning erections. The REM stage of sleep typically occurs in the early morning hours, and men who have interrupted sleep or do not get enough sleep may have a reduced frequency of morning erections.

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also affect the occurrence of morning erections. When the body is under stress, the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, can increase. This increase in cortisol levels can interfere with the production of testosterone and lead to a reduction in the frequency of morning erections. Additionally, anxiety can lead to a decrease in sexual desire and function, which can also impact the occurrence of morning erections.

When are Morning Erections Normal and Healthy?

Morning erections, also known as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT), are spontaneous and usually brief erections that occur during sleep or upon waking up. Although some men may find them embarrassing or inconvenient, morning erections are a natural and common phenomenon that reflect the health and function of the male sexual system. However, not all morning erections are the same, and some may signal underlying concerns that require medical attention. In this article, we will explain what morning erections are, why they happen, what factors can affect their frequency and quality, and when they may indicate a concerns.

Are morning erections normal?

Yes, morning erections are generally considered normal and healthy for men of all ages, from puberty to old age. They are not necessarily a sign of sexual arousal or desire, and can happen regardless of whether the man had sexual dreams or thoughts. In fact, some men may have morning erections even if they have erectile dysfunction (ED) or low libido, as the reflex that causes them is separate from the conscious control of sexual function. Moreover, the frequency and intensity of morning erections may vary depending on various factors, such as the sleep quality, the level of testosterone and other hormones, the medication use, and the overall health status.

When Should You Worry About Morning Erections?

doctor treating patient Worry About Morning Erections

While morning erections are usually harmless and normal, there are some cases where they may indicate an underlying concerns. Some of the red flags to watch out for include:

  • Painful or prolonged morning erections: If your morning erections are painful, last for more than an hour or more, or don’t go away after ejaculation, it could be a sign of priapism, a rare but serious condition that can damage the penis tissues and cause permanent erectile dysfunction.

  • Irregular or weak morning erections: If your morning erections are sporadic, weak, or don’t last long enough for penetration, it could be a sign of ED, a common condition that affects up to 30 million men in the US. ED can have many causes, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, smoking, stress, and anxiety, and may require medical evaluation and treatment.

When Could Morning Erections Indicate a Medical Condition?

It is important to understand that morning erections are a normal part of male physiology. They occur as a result of increased blood flow to the penis during sleep, which is unrelated to sexual stimulation. However, certain factors can affect the frequency and intensity of morning erections, including age, stress levels, and overall health.

  • One medical condition that can affect morning erections is erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity. While morning erections may still occur in men with ED, they may be less frequent or less rigid. In some cases, the absence of morning erections can be an early warning sign of ED.

  • Another condition that may affect morning erections is Peyronie’s disease. This condition causes the development of scar tissue in the penis, which can cause a curvature or deformity of the organ. Peyronie’s disease can also cause pain during erections, including morning erections.

  • In rare cases, certain medical conditions can cause an excessive number of morning erections. One such condition is priapism, which is a prolonged and painful erection that can last for hours. Priapism is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

  • Other medical conditions that may affect morning erections include sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, and hormonal imbalances, such as low testosterone levels.

While nocturnal tumescence are a normal part of male physiology, changes in their frequency or intensity may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you are experiencing persistent concerns with morning erections, or any other symptoms related to sexual health, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Mental Health Conditions

Morning erections are not only a sign of sexual arousal, but also a sign of good blood flow and nerve function in the penis, and can help prevent erectile dysfunction (ED) and other related conditions.


However, some men may notice a decrease or absence of morning erections, which can be caused by various psychological and physical factors. In this article, we will focus on the psychological conditions that can affect morning erections, and how to address them.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common psychological factors that can interfere with the normal mechanisms that regulate penile blood flow and erection. When a man is stressed or anxious, his body releases cortisol and adrenaline, which can constrict the blood vessels and decrease the blood flow to the penis. This can make it harder to achieve or maintain an erection, even during sleep. Chronic stress and anxiety can also disrupt the sleep cycle, reduce REM sleep, and lower the frequency and intensity of morning erections.


To address stress and anxiety, men can try various relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. They can also talk to a therapist or counselor to identify and manage the sources of stress and anxiety in their life.

Depression and Low Mood

Depression and low mood can also affect the frequency and quality of morning erections, as well as the overall sexual desire and performance. Depression can alter the brain chemistry and reduce the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in the regulation of sexual arousal and pleasure. Low mood can also reduce the motivation and energy to engage in sexual activity, including masturbation or intercourse, which can further decrease the blood flow to the penis and weaken the erections.


To address depression and low mood, men can seek professional help from a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. They can also try to engage in regular physical exercise, which can boost the mood and increase the blood flow to the penis. In some cases, medication or psychotherapy may be necessary to treat the underlying depression.

Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is a type of psychological condition that can affect men who worry or fear about their sexual performance, such as their ability to satisfy their partner or maintain an erection. Performance anxiety can trigger the release of stress hormones, which can constrict the blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to the penis, leading to weaker or absent morning erections. Performance anxiety can also cause men to avoid sexual activity, which can further perpetuate the concern and create a cycle of anxiety and avoidance.


To address performance anxiety, men can try to communicate openly and honestly with their partner about their concerns and expectations. They can also seek the guidance of a sex therapist, who can offer specific techniques and strategies to manage performance anxiety, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, sensate focus exercises, or mindfulness techniques. In some cases, medication such as sildenafil (Viagra) may also help to improve the quality and duration of erections.

Medications That Can Negatively Affect The Penis

Many men take prescription or over-the-counter drugs for various health conditions, but some of these medications may have unwanted side effects on their sexual function and genital health. In particular, some drugs can interfere with the blood flow, nerve signals, or hormone levels in the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction (ED), decreased libido, penile curvature, or other concerns. This article will review some of the medications that have been linked to such concerns, their mechanisms of action, and some possible alternatives or coping strategies.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and some other antidepressant medications can cause ED, delayed ejaculation, or decreased orgasmic intensity by altering the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system. Some men may benefit from switching to a different class of antidepressants, adding a low dose of another drug, or using non-pharmacological treatments such as psychotherapy, exercise, or mindfulness.


Some drugs used to lower blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, diuretics, and alpha-adrenergic blockers, can also lower the blood flow to the penis by relaxing or constricting certain blood vessels. This can lead to ED or priapism (prolonged and painful erection). However, stopping or changing the medication may not always be feasible or safe, and some men may need to use ED drugs, penile injections, or vacuum devices to maintain or regain their sexual function.


Certain allergy and cold medications, such as diphenhydramine and pseudoephedrine, can cause urinary retention, dryness, or irritation of the urinary and genital tract, which may affect the erectile and ejaculatory functions. Using a lower dose or a different formulation, or avoiding certain triggers, may help alleviate these symptoms.

Hormone treatments

Some hormone therapies used for prostate cancer, such as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), can cause ED, decreased libido, shrinkage, or loss of the penis and testicles by reducing the levels of testosterone and other androgens in the body. However, these treatments may be necessary to control the cancer and prolong life, and some men may benefit from using ED drugs, penile implants, or other interventions to maintain their sexual function and quality of life.

Other drugs

Some other medications that may affect the penis and sexual function include:


  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, used for benign prostatic hyperplasia or hair loss, which can reduce the size and sensitivity of the prostate and penis by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT);

  • Chemotherapy drugs, which can damage the nerves, blood vessels, and tissues in the penis and scrotum, leading to ED, infertility, and penile shrinkage;

  • Opioids, which can suppress the levels of testosterone and other hormones, as well as affect the pain signals and mood centers in the brain and spinal cord, leading to ED, delayed ejaculation, or decreased libido;

  • Statins, which can lower the levels of cholesterol and other lipids in the body, but also affect the production of testosterone and other hormones, leading to ED or muscle weakness.

While many medications can have beneficial effects on various health conditions, some of them can also negatively affect the penis and sexual function of men. It’s important for both patients and healthcare providers to be aware of these potential side effects and discuss them openly and honestly. In some cases, switching to a different drug, adjusting the dose or timing, or using complementary or alternative therapies may help mitigate the negative effects.

How to Treat and Prevent Medical Conditions that Affect Morning Erections?

The absence or reduction of morning erections may indicate underlying medical conditions that affect erectile function and sexual health. In this article, we will explore the causes, treatments, and prevention of medical conditions that affect morning erections, based on scientific evidence and expert recommendations.

Causes of Medical Conditions that Affect Morning Erections

  • Hormonal imbalances: such as low testosterone, high prolactin, or thyroid dysfunction

  • Neurological disorders: such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal cord injury

  • Cardiovascular diseases: such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, or heart failure

  • Metabolic disorders: such as diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome

  • Psychological factors: such as depression, anxiety, stress, or relationship concerns

  • Medications and substance abuse: such as antidepressants, antihypertensives, or alcohol and drugs

Treatments of Medical Conditions that Affect Morning Erections

  • Hormone replacement therapy: for low testosterone or high prolactin levels

  • Medications for erectile dysfunction: such as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) like sildenafil or tadalafil, or alprostadil injections or suppositories

  • Penile implants or vacuum devices: for severe or refractory cases of erectile dysfunction

  • Lifestyle changes: such as exercise, diet, smoking cessation, or stress management

  • Medical management of underlying conditions: such as glucose control for diabetes or blood pressure control for hypertension

  • Psychological therapy: such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for general/ personal psychological stressors or couples therapy for relationship concerns

Prevention of Medical Conditions that Affect Morning Erections

  • Regular physical exams and screenings: for cardiovascular, metabolic, and hormonal health

  • Healthy lifestyle habits: such as regular exercise, balanced diet, weight management, and stress reduction

  • Safe and responsible use of medications and substances: under medical supervision and guidance

  • Open communication and support for mental and emotional well-being: with partners, friends, or healthcare professionals

  • Early detection and treatment of medical conditions: before they become chronic or irreversible

Morning erections are a natural and normal physiological response in men, and can be an indicator of good health. While the subject may be taboo in some circles, it is important to approach the topic with sensitivity and accuracy. Further research may shed light on the underlying mechanisms behind morning erections and their potential implications for men’s health.

Penis Hardness Scale For Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction is a common issue for many men, and one of the most common concerns associated with sexual dysfunction is erectile dysfunction. There are several scales available to measure the degree of erectile dysfunction, such as the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). However, the Penis Hardness Scale (PHS) is a simple and useful tool for men to self-assess their erection quality. In this article, we will explore the PHS in-depth and discuss its usefulness in assessing sexual dysfunction.

What is the Penis Hardness Scale (PHS)?

The Penis Hardness Scale (PHS) is a self-assessment tool designed to measure the hardness of an erection on a scale from 1 to 4. The scale was developed by Dr. Chris McMahon, a renowned sexual health physician. The four levels of hardness are:

Prevention of Medical Conditions that Affect Morning Erections

  • Penis does not enlarge.

  • Penis is larger but not hard.

  • Penis is hard but not hard enough for penetration.

  • Penis is completely hard and fully rigid.

How is the PHS useful in assessing sexual dysfunction?

The PHS is a quick and easy way for men to assess the quality of their erection, and it can be used as a tool to monitor changes in erectile function over time. It can also be useful in identifying the severity of erectile dysfunction and the efficacy of treatment options. For example, if a man rates his erection as a 1 or 2 on the PHS, it suggests a severe form of erectile dysfunction, and he may require more aggressive treatment options.

How does the PHS compare to other scales?

The PHS is a more straightforward and practical tool compared to other scales, such as the IIEF. The IIEF is a more complex questionnaire that assesses five domains of erectile function. It is used more commonly in clinical settings, and the results of the IIEF may help determine the specific type of erectile dysfunction a man is experiencing. However, for the average man who is seeking self-assessment, the PHS is a more convenient and accessible tool.


When it comes to male genitalia, one of the most discussed topics is the difference between a circumcised penis and an uncircumcised penis. While both types of penises serve the same function, there are some key differences between the two.

Uncircumcised penis and Circumcised Penis

A circumcised penis is one where the foreskin, the loose skin that covers the head of the penis, has been surgically removed. This procedure is usually done shortly after birth for cultural, religious or medical reasons. The result is a penis with a permanently exposed head that has a smooth and rounded appearance.


On the other hand, an uncircumcised penis has a foreskin that covers the head of the penis. This is the natural state of the penis and is how all male infants are born. The foreskin is typically retractable, which means it can be pulled back to expose the head of the penis.


There are several benefits to circumcision, including a reduced risk of urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and some types of cancer. It can also be easier to maintain hygiene with a circumcised penis. However, there are also potential risks and complications associated with circumcision, such as bleeding, infection, and scarring.


Meanwhile, an uncircumcised penis has a natural protective covering that can help to keep the head of the penis moist and sensitive. However, uncircumcised men may need to take extra care to keep the area clean to prevent infections and other concerns.


Ultimately, the decision to circumcise or not is a personal choice that should be made after careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks. It’s important to discuss any concerns with a medical professional to make an informed decision.

What Is The Normal Frequency Of Erections?

Erections are a natural and normal part of male physiology. However, many men may wonder what is considered a normal frequency for erections. In this article, we will explore the topic and provide some insight into what you can expect.


First, it’s important to understand that the frequency of erections can vary widely from person to person. Factors such as age, overall health, and lifestyle habits can all influence how often a man experiences erections. Additionally, the quality of the erections themselves can also vary, with some being firmer and longer-lasting than others.


In general, most healthy adult men can expect to have erections a few times per week, and sometimes more frequently. However, it’s important to note that the exact frequency can vary greatly depending on the individual. Some men may have erections multiple times per day, while others may only experience them once or twice per week.


There are also certain factors that can influence the frequency of erections. For example, men who engage in regular exercise may experience more frequent and stronger erections, as physical activity can improve blood flow and cardiovascular health. On the other hand, men who smoke, drink heavily, or use drugs may experience a decrease in the frequency and quality of their erections.


It’s also important to note that the frequency of erections can change over time. As men age, they may experience a natural decrease in the frequency and quality of their erections. However, this is not always the case, and many older men continue to experience healthy erections well into their later years.


If you are concerned about the frequency or quality of your erections, it may be helpful to speak with a healthcare provider. They can provide more information on what to expect and offer guidance on how to improve your overall sexual health. By making healthy lifestyle choices and seeking medical care when necessary, you can help ensure that your erections remain a normal and enjoyable part of your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Penises are a source of fascination and curiosity for many people, but they can also be a source of confusion and misinformation. To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about penises.

(1) What is the average penis size?
The average erect penis size is about 5.16 inches (13.12 cm) in length (the average size is 4-6 inches for the Indian population, specifically) and 4.59 inches (11.66 cm) in circumference, according to a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Urology International. However, penis size can vary widely, and there is no “normal” size. It’s also worth noting that penis size is not correlated with sexual performance or satisfaction.


(2) Is it normal for the penis to curve?
Yes, it’s normal for the penis to have a slight curve, and many penises do. However, in some cases, a curved penis can be a sign of Peyronie’s disease, which is a condition that causes scar tissue to form in the penis, leading to curvature and other symptoms. If you’re concerned about the curve of your penis, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.


(3) Can the foreskin be pulled back?
Yes, in most cases, the foreskin can be pulled back to expose the head of the penis. However, some men have a condition called phimosis, in which the foreskin is too tight to be retracted. This can cause discomfort or pain, and in some cases, it may require medical treatment.


(4) What is circumcision?
Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the foreskin of the penis is removed. It is typically done for cultural or religious reasons, but it can also be done for medical reasons. There is some debate about the benefits and risks of circumcision, and it’s a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a doctor.


(5) Can the penis be too sensitive?
Yes, some men have a very sensitive penis that can be easily overstimulated or even painful to the touch. This can be a result of a condition called glans hypersensitivity, and it can be treated with desensitizing creams or other methods. However, some men enjoy the extra sensitivity, and there is no “right” level of sensitivity for a penis.


(6) Is it normal to have bumps or lumps on the penis?

It’s not uncommon to have bumps or lumps on the penis, and in most cases, they are harmless. However, some bumps or lumps can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection or other medical condition, so it’s important to have them checked out by a doctor.

Sexual health is as important as physical and mental health. In most cases, one consultation can go a long way. Personalised, discreet, and judgement-free treatment at your fingertips – book an online consultation with one of Allo’s leading experts.