Morning Erections

Posted by Max Priestley | 10:14 AM

Many young men, and even some older ones who haven’t found the right people to ask, are curious about morning erections. Most men have the experience, with some regularity, of waking up in the morning with an erection.

What Is A Morning Erection?

Morning erections, colloquially referred to as "morning wood" and scientifically defined as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) are a healthy and normal physiological response that most men experience. Morning erections would be better described as the tail end of a series of nighttime erections, as they are just the last erection in a series.

On average a healthy male will have between three and five erections in a full night sleep, with each erection lasting between 25 -35 minutes.

Causes of Morning Erections

It is a common myth that morning erections are caused by a full bladder. This is untrue. While the reason for morning erections is unknown, we do know that the erections are closely associated with REM sleep (the time in the night when you dream and brain activity changes). These erections are also associated with an increase in heart rate. It isn’t known for sure if the erections are a result of the other physiological changes, more research is required. Some suggest that morning erections are a way for your body to make sure everything is in working order.

Lack of Morning Erections

Early research on morning erections did not find a difference in the morning erections of older men when compared to those of younger men. More recent research has shown a gradual decline in morning erections (some show just a decrease in the rigidity and length of time of an erection and not the frequency of getting erections).

One of the reason morning erections attracted the interest of researchers was as a tool to rule out physical causes of erectile dysfunction. If a man cannot get an erection to his satisfaction during sexual activities one of the first things a doctor will determine is whether or not he is getting full erections during the night and in the morning.

If a lack of morning erections is accompanied by a lack of overall erections it suggests a physical over a psychological cause. If you are concerned about a noticeable change in your morning erections it's something you may want to talk about with your doctor. However there are a variety of other factors that influence morning erections (including length and quality of sleep) and a change in morning erections doesn't always indicate a serious problem.

Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Morning Erections

Medications used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) including sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis), can have an impact on morning erections. Both medications, if taken the night before prior to sexual activities, can result in morning erections, although morning erections occur more often when tadalafil is used.

Of course there is no reason to take a medication simply to get a morning erection, as morning erections, while they may be related to overall erectile function are not necessarily a total indicator of function or dysfunction.


  1. Gordon, C.M. and Carey, M.P. “Penile Tumescence Monitoring During Morning Naps to Assess Male Erectile Functioning.” Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 24, No. 3 (1995): 291-307.
  2. Rosen, R.C., Goldstein, L., Scoles, V., et. al “Psychophysiologic Correlates of Nocturnal Penile Tumescence in Normal Males.” Psychosomatic Medicine Volume 48, No. 6 (1986): 423-429.
  3. Sae-Chul, K. “Regaining of Morning Erection and Sexual Confidence in Patients with Erectile Dysfunction.” Asian Journal of Andrology Volume 8, No. 6 ( 2006): 703-708

Question: Why does he ejaculate too quickly?

“I’m a 37 year old woman who has just started a relationship with a much younger guy. He’s super hot, and I love his body, and most of the sex is good, but he cums way too quickly. He knows it, and we’ve finally talked about it, but I don’t know how to help him with it. Most of my boyfriends haven’t had this problem, but some have. How can he learn to last longer, and how come guys don’t just learn to control ejaculation?


Even though premature ejaculation is considered the most common sexual dysfunction for men, the fact is we still don’t know what causes premature ejaculation. It is likely the result of many factors. And many people are misinformed as to what premature ejaculation actually is. The good news is that there are several ways to learn to control ejaculation.

In terms of the why guys don’t just “naturally” learn to control ejaculation, there’s probably several reasons.

Evolutionary psychologists would say that the goal of sex is procreation and therefore there’s no reason to prolong it. And it's true that we may be the first animals to want to prolong erections to prolong penetrative sex play (even though we aren’t the only animals to like having sex, or to make it a creative act). Not that I'm suggesting we listen to the evolutionary psychologists on this one.

A more simple answer is that no one teaches young men to control ejaculation. Children are taught to learn the signs of other reflexes. We teach them how to control urination for example. But when it comes to teaching young men ejaculatory control, I don’t think you’ll find it in even the most progressive sexual health curriculums.

Another possibility is that most men’s earliest sexual experiences are with masturbation (or even partner sex) done secretly and quickly, for fear of discovery. It is thought that these early experiences may condition some men’s sexual response to a pattern of rapid ejaculation.


Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, is defined as a man’s inability to get an erection or maintain it long enough to have sex with a partner. For some men, impotence means they are unable to ejaculate during sex.

Erectile dysfunction or impotence happens to most men at one time or another, but studies indicate that erectile dysfunction is more common in older men, so it is often associated with the aging process in men.

Occasional impotence is often not seen as a problem, but when impotence continues for awhile, it can bring on great emotional distress for both the man and his partner.

Common Causes of Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by emotional problems:

  • Worry
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest in sex, or in the sexual partner

Erectile dysfunction can also have physical causes:

  • Reduced testosterone level, which can be treated with hormone therapy
  • A side-effect from some medications, including meds for depression, heart disease, high blood pressure and epilepsy
  • An injury to the groin, or nerve damage
  • Illnesses including kidney or heart disease, or diabetes, can cause erectile dysfunction
  • A reduction in blood flow to the penis, common in men who have hardening of the arteries
  • Overuse or abuse of drugs including alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs
  • A possible side-effect of some medical procedures, including prostate or urinary tract surgery


Question: What's the Deal with Penis Size?

What’s the deal with penis size? Guys seem obsessed with it, I know some women friends who are definite size queens, but here’s my problem. I’ve been with guys of a lot of different sizes, but there doesn’t seem an obvious link for me between size and pleasure. I have this feeling that there’s probably a right size out there for me, and when I find it that’s the man I should marry (or at least test drive!) Do you think that there’s such a thing as your genital soul mate?

There are many questions in this one. Does penis size matter? Do we actually fit together? And what makes a good lover?

The short answer to the question about size is kind of like that famous presidential quote: it matters to some of the people, some of the time... There has been surprisingly little research in this area, but you’ll find information on that research through the link below.

For the most part people’s size interests take a back seat to other considerations। Aside from your friends who are size queens, the same person might be happy driving a Toyota Tercel one day, and an SUV the next. And as folks on the discussion board are pointing out, small can sometimes be better, depending one what you want to do with it.