Spontaneous erections

(About penises and nipples, in plain talk. Not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The original spur for this posting was a magazine piece (which I can no longer locate) by a woman complaining about guys getting visible hard-ons in everyday contexts. Why, the writer wondered, can’t men control their hormones in public? Are they just uncivilized beasts?

The fact is that almost all men experience spontaneous, or random, erections, often to their great embarrassment. The triggers are many and complex. When I was a horny teenager (and masturbating, mostly swiftly, around six times a day, to sexual fantasies of my own devising), riding on a bus produced a motion that provoked gigantic unwelcome hard-ons that were very hard to conceal. Other young men get intractable hard-ons in situations of great social anxiety — such as, alas, speaking in public in front of an audience. (There’s more; see below.)

What’s more, an enormous number of people, female as well as male, get spontaneous nipple erections in all sorts of non-sexual situations. Our bodies do a lot of this on their own, without any input from our thoughts. Yes, sexual thoughts and images can trigger these stiffenings, but a lot of it happens out of our consciousness.

Penile erections. From the Medical News Today site, “Are random erections normal?” by Aaron Kandola on 3/31/18:

Males often experience erections, sometimes called boners, without physical or psychological stimulation. While it is usually not a cause for concern, it can feel embarrassing.

Random erections are normal in adolescents and adults, especially when waking up. Fluctuations in testosterone may be responsible.

… An erection is often triggered when an individual becomes aroused by thinking about, seeing, or feeling something or someone who is sexually exciting.

The brain sends signals that widen the arteries connected to the penis, allowing more blood to enter. The veins that usually carry this blood back to the rest of the body shrink. This results in the penis swelling and stiffening, forming an erection.

Erections that occur without sexual stimulation can have several causes.

Nocturnal penile tumescence, which is sometimes called morning wood, may be caused by hormonal changes during the night or physical stimulation from contact with the bed sheets.

A healthy male will typically experience 3 to 5 erections while asleep, each lasting 25 to 35 minutes.

Levels of hormones also fluctuate throughout the day, particularly testosterone, and this can cause random erections.

All of this is intended to be encouraging to your typical man. The first lesson is that boners happen. Actually, a lot.

From my 3/30/15 posting “Still more news for penises”,  on the Bilerico site, “Behold ‘Groin Gazing,’ a Fashion Spread Starring Boners”, filed by John M. Becker on 3/6/14:

Montreal-based photographer Claire Milbrath has an intensely erotic yet basically-SFW new series of fashion photos featured on the global youth media website Vice.com. It’s not your conventional fashion photo spread, though, in the sense that it doesn’t focus on clothes, hair, or accessories.

Instead, the star of the show is the boner — or rather, the bulge in a guy’s pants when he’s sporting one.

(#1) The Boyfriend (from the Groin Gazing site)

It’s called “Groin Gazing,” and each provocative image features a tight shot of a clothed male model’s crotch. Every subject is visibly aroused.

(The sort of thing the magazine writer was annoyed by.)

More broadly, from my 1/30/20 posting “Medical news not for penises”:

Now, boners, they’re all over my blogs. Tons of them on AZBlogX. But on this blog, plenty of moose knuckles (there’s even a Page on moose-knuckle postings), and moose knuckles are just boners under wraps.

(#2) The cover of the magazine (without a visible boner)

There’s even a Boner magazine. Of course there is. The surprise is that it’s in German: a gay magazine for German-speaking areas of Europe.

Inadequate boner. The second lesson from the Medical News Today site is to comfort men who sometimes fail to get a fully hard erection. Again, the message is that it happens sometimes, to almost every guy. (Indeed, anxiety about performing, about providing a fully hard cock for your sexual partner, can make it hard to achieve.)

Yes, there is erectile dysfunction, and roughly half of all men over 50 are reported to experience it, but the message is that it can be treated as a medical condition. Via sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), tadalafil (Cialis) or avanafil (Stendra), oral medications that reverse erectile dysfunction by enhancing the penile effects of nitric oxide, which the male body produces naturally.

As it happens, I haven’t achieved a fully hard erection for many years. But I am unwilling to add another medication to the dozen I’m already taking, and in fact I have no real need to get a full boner any more. I haven’t had any kind of sexual experience with another person for at least 15 years, so I don’t actually need a really hard dick for my guy’s hand, mouth, or asshole. It’s all fantasy sex now, and (as I’ve noted here before) I have a very high sex drive — have had for 70 years — coming from one to three times every day (sometimes in quickie jack-offs, sometimes in longer more elaborate interludes with gay porn or with a sound track I supply out loud for myself (I enjoy dirty sex talk immensely).

But this is not to say my dick doesn’t get aroused. Actually, aroused a whole fucking lot. When I call it up for jack-off time, of course, but many times during sleep, and in an astonishing number of random moments during the day, with no obvious trigger. It just happens, the way it did when I was 15, except that I just get a bit stiffer, I sense it (oh wow, that feels nice), and I exude pre-cum. (My briefs are always something of a sex mess, with dried splotches of pre-cum and actual cum in them.)

There seems to be no guidebook for this experience, of what’s sometimes called semi-erection or soft erection. It’s apparently viewed by everyone as a medical issue to be fixed, but for me feels just like a way of life, indeed pretty much like the way of life I’ve had since puberty kicked in when I was 10, but now without the stiffies. In fact, if one of my fantasy men turned up, hungry to suck my cock, I’m ready to shoot a big load in his mouth (instead of in my hand or in my pants); he wouldn’t get the sensation of a hard dick in his mouth — though for gay men this is admittedly a major psychological satisfaction of sucking dick — but it would be an easy blow job, and he’d still get a blast of my sweet and salty cum.

Nipple erections. From Cosmopolitan magazine “This is why you get nipple erections” by Dusty Baxter-Wright on 8/31/16:

Nipples are weird and wonderful things; they go hard when you’re turned on and stick out like sore thumbs when you’re cold – and sometimes, just go hard for no apparent reason.

Only it turns out there is a reason behind the often unpredictable erections (bet you’ve heard that one before), and it’s down to a highly specialised type of nerve cell that does nothing else except generate nipple erections [and goose bumps, aka piloerection].

The topic will bring us to both piloerection and horripilation. Vocabulary delights.

From Wikipedia:

Goose bumps or goosebumps are the bumps on a person’s skin at the base of body hairs which may involuntarily develop when a person is tickled, cold or experiencing strong emotions such as fear, euphoria or sexual arousal.

The formation of goose bumps in humans under stress is considered to be a vestigial reflex. Its function in other apes is to raise the body’s hair, and would have made human ancestors appear larger to scare off predators or to increase the amount of air trapped in the fur to make it more insulating. The reflex of producing goose bumps is known as piloerection or the pilomotor reflex, or, more traditionally, horripilation. It occurs in many mammals; a prominent example is porcupines, which raise their quills when threatened, or sea otters when they encounter sharks or other predators.

…  The phrase “goose bumps” derives from the phenomenon’s association with goose skin. Goose feathers grow from spores in the epidermis which resemble human hair follicles. When a goose’s feathers are plucked, its skin has protrusions where the feathers were, and these bumps are what the human phenomenon resembles.

… In humans, goose bumps can even extend to piloerection as a reaction to hearing nails scratch on a chalkboard, listening to awe-inspiring music, or feeling or remembering strong and positive emotions (e.g., after winning a sports event), or while watching a horror film.

So nipple erections and goose bumps are physiologcally the same mechanism. I await reports of people whose nipples get hard from awe-inspiring music, cold weather, or fear. (For me as a queer guy, men’s nipples are potent sources of sexual pleasure, both giving and getting, as well as servng as signs of sexual arousal.)

The basic text on this blog is my 2/25/17 posting “Displaying your nipples”, with some arresting photos:

(#3) “A nice torso shot of a guy with erect nipples”

and with a section on nipple enlargement: “if you’re into this, the goal is pencil eraser nips“, as here:


In my wild gay youth, I attended sexually to several hard-tit guys (whose nips were a source of both great pride and great pleasure for them). Sucking on pencil-eraser nips is like sucking on small very hard dicks. A minor-league sexual pleasure in my book, since it lacks the immersion in my guy’s crotch, with the smell and taste of his sex sweat. But not negligible.

Most guys with erect nipples are much less startling than #4. They’re more subtle, but nevertheless convey arousal. Two examples.

From my 12/3/15  posting “José Parra”:

(#5) “model José Parra displaying his muscular body and offering his crotch (and one armpit) in a wrestling singlet” (and with sweet erect nipples)

And from my 4/2/17 posting “Corey Saucier”:

(#6) “a head and torso shot with hot nips” (plus the Cruise of Death facial expression)

In contrast, two adorable shirtless guys with everyday nipples:

(#7) 4Ocean’s Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper

Among  a great many other shirtless men  in my postings; I delight in male torsos paired wth faces, and most of them have soft nips.

2 Responses to “Spontaneous erections”

  1. Tim Evanson (@TimintheCLE65) Says:

    A friend of mine in high school and college had priapism.

    His priapism generally began because he fantasized about some girl he was looking at. Although he’d been priapic since the sixth grade, it became substantially worse in the ninth grade. During his sophomore year, when I first met him, he would be priapic two or three times a day. His defense mechanism became to look at the floor, never at women.

    That he also had a relatively thick and long penis did not help. In high school, the priapism was very painful, and alleviated only by squeezing his erection fiercely. He was caught several times groping himself in class. Since he could maintain an erection for several hours, walking became a real embarrasment for him. Holding his books over his crotch was a necessity.

    The priapism came less frequently and was less painful in college. His personality changed in college, because he wasn’t in class from 7:30 to 3 PM and he could wear sweats (which helped in hiding his erection). In his junior year, he met a woman off-campus who was practically a nymophomaniac (I kid you not) and his priapism found an outlet (even if ejaculation did not make it go away).

    My understanding is that he had a neurological problem which was later resolved as he grew older and helped by having some minor surgery.

  2. Bill Stewart Says:

    Now that I can demand an old-fart BART seat, along comes COVID, wrecking my AM crotch watching. I’ve still got a few choice, sly pictures; too dangerous to attempt these days.

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