Ten Things You Didn't Know About Erections

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At IFLS, we like to hit you with hard science. So cross your legs and enjoy some bonerrific facts about dongs.

You Don’t Need To Be Born To Get A Boner

Yup, that adorable silhouette on the ultrasound screen could be sporting an erection. Genitals begin to develop around the 6th week of gestation, and it can be as soon as 10 weeks after that that the male fetus gets an erection.

"And there's the erection!" Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Boners Come In Three Flavors

Not in the sense you are probably now thinking… There are three different types of erections. Psychogenic erections are those that come about after fantasizing or watching something that gets the juices flowing. As the name suggests, nocturnal erections are those experienced at night. Finally, reflexogenic erections rear their head after some physical hanky panky.

Speaking Of Bedtime Boners…

Men are typically frequented with three to five bouts of “nocturnal penile tumescence” as they slumber. That’s still nothing on the 11 towel racks the average man puts up throughout the day.  

There isn’t really a consensus over why the penis likes to stand to attention at night, but it’s thought to help keep the tissue oxygenated and thus healthy.

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There Is Life After Death

In your pants. Delightfully named “Angel Lust,” if a man dies in a vertical position, the body can end up with a post-mortem erection. In the absence of a beating heart, gravity will cause blood to accumulate in the legs, and as the vasculature in the legs gets filled up, some of the remaining blood in the body gets forced into the penis tissue and makes it expand.

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The Average Erect Penis Length Is……

About 14 centimeters (5.5 inches), with a circumference of 12 centimeters (4.8 inches), according to a study of 1,661 men. But there was not just person-to-person variation: How the participant attained an erection was found to affect the dimensions of his junk. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tended to be longer after sex when compared with those that popped up after fantasizing.

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Pass The Donuts

Smelling delicious things can make the senses go wild. And the penis. According to a study, the scent of black licorice and donut can ramp up the flow of blood to the penis by almost 32%. Mixing up the odors of donut and pumpkin pie caused an increase of 20%. Weirdly, it was actually the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie that had the greatest effect, causing a 40% rise in penile blood flow. The key to a man’s heart may be his stomach, but clearly the way into his trousers is with fragrant baked goods.

It Might Be Called A Boner…

But the penis does not actually contain a bone. That’s in contrast to the majority of mammals, which sport a baculum to help with getting jiggy and sperm deposition.

A collection of penis bones from Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. Credit Muséum de Toulouse

The Never-Ending Boner

There is an unfortunate condition called priapism in which men experience an erection that just won’t go away, lasting for at least four hours. That might sound like fun and games, but they can actually be painful, and aren’t necessarily the result of sexual stimulation. Awkward.

The Penis Is Boomerang Shaped

It might look straight, but thanks to a scientist that got men and women to have sex in an MRI machine (how did we miss the sign up?!), we know that it is indeed boomerang shaped. The reason it doesn’t appear that way is because part of it is hidden by the pelvis. Well I never.

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

“I’m a grower not a shower” actually has some truth behind it. Smaller flaccid penises, according to a study conducted back in 1988, actually experience greater increases in length during an erection than large ones. It’s always the shy ones…

So there you have it. The hard truth about erections.

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