Do you wake up with a morning erection? Have you ever wondered why this happens? 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 erections a night.
The clinical name given to this “morning wood” 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 hard.
Take a look at the five reasons you wake up with morning wood.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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. 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.
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.
The best way to determine what might be going on with you is to visit your doctor. 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.