Q&A: Random Erections And Erections Without Attraction

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QUESTION: I have a question which I am hoping that you may be able to answer. Can a man have an erection without fancying the girl?

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Oh, absolutely! Early on, boys who are around the age of puberty find out that erections can pop up for any number of reasons – and often for no reason at all.

Random Erections

Some young men will describe having erections when they are anxious (such as during math tests) or when they really have to go to the bathroom. Others have erections just thinking about someone they like or feel attracted to, even if that person is nowhere near them.

Then again, sometimes it looks like a man is erect even when he is not, just given the cut of certain pants or how things look when men wear certain athletic cups that are used to protect their genitals during sports.

Boys and men also often have morning erections – in fact, it is when men stop getting erections in the morning that healthcare providers sometimes suspect health problems that may cause erectile problems.

Erectile Problems

It is also the case that men cannot always get erections, even if they very much like, love, or feel attracted to a person. Men may find it difficult for their penis to become erect if they have certain health conditions, if they are experiencing side effects from certain prescription or over-the-counter medications, or if they are feeling anxious or worried.

Men may also find it difficult to get or maintain an erection if they are feeling very sad, depressed, distracted, tired or even if the temperature in the room is quite cold.

Sometimes women and men place too much focus and pressure on the penis, as if it were the only indicator of how a man feels. In fact, there is so much more to how men feel and behave than their penis and their erections.

If you want to know how a man feels and whether he is feeling attracted or not, try talking to him to find out what you want to know.

Recommended Reading

Two interesting, relevant books are The New Male Sexuality by Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld and A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David Friedman.


Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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