Are Random Erections Normal?

07/10/2020

 Overview

From time to time, men are likely to experience random erections. A random erection is an erection that occurs without sexual stimulation. Random erections are normal.

Teenagers and young adults are more likely to get random erections, though they can occur in adult men too. Random erections that occur only in the morning are normal in many men, regardless of age. Occasionally having trouble getting or keeping an erection is not cause for concern either. However, if you notice a lot of changes in erection frequency or ability, it could be a sign of erectile dysfunction (ED) or another underlying medical issue. 

 Testosterone and erections

A 2016 reviewTrusted Source reiterated that testosterone plays a significant role in sexual function. Another review from 2006 specifically looked at the role of testosterone in erections and found that there is also a connection. It's unclear what role testosterone plays in random erections, however, and experts aren't sure what exactly triggers a random erection. While testosterone may play a role in causing random erections, erections are a result of many things happening in the body at once.

A typical erection occurs when men become sexually aroused. As a result of that arousal, hormones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels all work together to create an erection. It begins when nerve signals in the brain stimulate penis muscles to relax. That allows blood to flow into the penis, filling it until an erection is achieved. Then the vessels close off to maintain the erection. After arousal, the veins to the penis reopen and let blood leave.

For the most part, random morning erections are considered a normal function and can be a sign of good health.

 Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)

Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT), sometimes called morning wood, is a type of random erection. The main symptom of NPT is waking up with an erect penis. NPT is a common occurrence for many boys and men.

Waking with an erect penis is a sign of healthy blood and nerve supply to the penis. Boys and men with NPT are likely to be able to maintain an erection while awake.

NPT is more common in younger men, though adult men can experience this. As men reach the ages of 40-50, natural testosterone levels begin to fall. As this level decreases, episodes of NPT may decrease as well. On average, men experience up to five erections while they are sleeping, and each erection lasts about 30 minutes.