Morning erections are a sign of good health
Do you wake up with a morning erection? Have you ever wondered why this happens? And can a lack of first-dawn firmness indicate a problem?
According to most of the scientific research, it is common for most men under 65 to experience a morning erection. In fact, the current data suggests that on average, most guys will experience an average of five “solids” a night.
The clinical name given to this woody situation is penile tumescence (NPT). As a guy, you’ve probably woken up drowsy in the morning and noticed, for some unexplained reason, that you were incredibly hard.
While it’s easy to blame your erectile state on the need to pee (aka: a piss boner), the research suggests a lot more is going on.
What follows are 5 solid reasons you wake up with morning wood that might surprise you! Are you ready?
Let’s jump right in.
1. Stimulation in the sheets
When you sleep, you fall into a subconscious state of awareness. This means when your penis touches the sheets, blankets or another person, the sensations send a signal to the brain that helps it to release blooding pumping hormones.
Should you prefer to sleep commando style, the chances of your experiencing morning wood increase exponentially. That’s because there’s little to obstruct titillation.
2. Your brain is sleeping
While there is some debate over how much a guy can control an erection one thing is for certain – when sleeping, the boner filter is shut off. That may seem silly but it’s true.
During REM sleep, the part of the brain that helps to regulate sexual stimulation runs wild as do the hormones that go with it.
One of the main hormones oozing through your system as full thrust is oxytocin. Affectionately referred to as the “love molecule”, oxytocin is a mammalian brain chemical largely responsible for human bonding.
3. Your manhood is working out
Did you giggle at this one? Funny perhaps but some urology experts believe that morning wood could also be your brain’s way of reminding your penis how to do its job.
“Think of it like weight training. If it weren't for nighttime boners, it's entirely possible guys wouldn't be able to keep their boners for more than a few minutes at a time without it becoming incredibly painful,” suggests Joseph Alukal, M.D., assistant professor of Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Alukal does suggest that this is just a theory and has yet to be proven.
4. Erotic dreams
Perhaps an obvious reason but one that needs to be mentioned all the same. When you dream (all of us do – even if you can’t remember them) your subconscious is able to act out various sexual fantasies.
Your brain has difficulty discerning reality from fantasy when in REM sleep mode, which can make a sexual dream all the more vivid. Having major wood when you first wake up can often be a sign that you experienced an overnight fantasy.
This is particularly true if you had an nocturnal emission (aka wet dream).
5. Chemical recalibration
This one is somewhat related to point #2 but not exactly. When you sleep, a number of brain chemicals recalibrate. Here, we are talking neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
While dozing, your body is working hard to restore and recalibrate imbalances that have become depleted during your waking state. As a result, the influx of these brain chemicals can contribute to morning wood.
Related: Why does my penis curve?
Have you ever noticed that when you haven’t slept enough, you feel irritable and “uninterested” in anything sexual? That’s likely because your brain didn’t fully recalibrate and restore the previously mentioned chemicals.
Hint: aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep!
6. Reflex erection
If you are like many men, you may have the urge to pee when you start waking up. The process of urination can become complicated if your stiffer than a log.
Hey – there’s a reason so many guys stand 2 feet back from the toilette when trying to aim!
When you sleep and your body is holding urine in the bladder, the liquid you’re holding places pressure on the spinal cord. This in turn causes a reflex erection.
When you relieve yourself of the pressure, the erection almost always goes away.
7. You just might be a morning man!
The final reason you may be waking up with wood is simply because you are horny. Science tells us that because of circadian rhythms, some guys are just more amped up at certain times of the day.
In case you don’t know, a circadian rhythm is a 25-cent term used to describe your body’s body clock. This is why you generally get drowsy around a certain time of night. It’s also the same reason why you experience energy spikes during the day.
Circadian rhythms are thought to be linked in some way to evolution; a kind of middle Cenozoic period leftover from our hunter/gather origins where early man organized his day around the sun’s rise.
And so if you are a “morning man”, there’s a good chance that’s when your rhythm is in groove. Some men find they are more “active” at night (aka “more of a night guy”).
What if I’m not waking up with wood?
Waking up with an erection is a sign of health and vitality. If you are noticing an absence of firmness – on a consistent basis – it could be an indication of a medical or mental health issue.
- Low or high blood pressure
- Hormonal imbalance
- Medication interference
- Blocked blood arteries
- Alcohol use
- “Party” drugs and favors
The best way to determine what might be going on with you is to visit your physician. There’s lots of reasons you may be flaccid that require testing to determine. Some men have found using a penile cream that can be purchased over the counter to be very effective.
Diet, exercise and lifestyle factors also impact what pops up in the morning – and – what doesn’t.
Barring a physiological reason for a lack of morning wood, it may be helpful to seek out the guidance of a therapist to address underlying mood issues, such as depression or anxiety.
And remember, the older you get, the less frequent morning wood occurs. It’s just one of the side-effects of aging.
So there you have it. Now you know some of the science behind why your little buddy is so happy in the morning!