Why do men get erections when they sleep?

Q: Why do men get erections when they sleep? –H.T., 25

erection in sleep


A: He’s dreaming of someone, or something, that makes his tent go pup. For a more detailed explanation, I talked to James Barada, M.D., a urologist and director of the Center for Male Sexual Health in Albany, New York. “Nocturnal erections are a normal, healthy process that occurs during REM sleep. A man’s erecto-genic center of the brain sends signals to the penis, causing the surrounding tissue to relax and allowing the blood vessels there to fill the penis with blood. This causes an erection,” he says. Just like Viagra, I point out. “Exactly. In fact, a way to judge a man’s future impotence is to count how many erections he gets per night,” says Dr. Barada.

So, on some sleepless night, if you decide to count erections instead of sheep, you should notice that he has three to five per night, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, that means his penis isn’t getting its RDA of oxygen. “When the penis is erect, a man’s genitals are well oxygenated,” says Dr. Barada. “This rejuvenates the tissue. If the penis is deprived of oxygen, it can become less responsive to the signals of stimulation.” Woodies during sleep mean more nonsleeping hard-ons for you. As long as his erections aren’t stealing the covers, welcome them.

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