Updated: MAY 18, 2020

An erection is a physiological phenomenon during which the penis lengthens, becomes engorged, and firms. This phenomenon is often linked to sexual arousal, whereby the penis stiffens during sexual arousal or stimulation.

Having an erection, however, does not always occur as a result of sexual arousal. In some cases, they can be spontaneous or occur during sleep.

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Erection is compulsory to achieve sexual intercourse with said appendage. In some cases, the scrotum also tightens while the penis is erect. If the penis is uncircumcised, the foreskin also pulls back during erection to reveal the penile glans.

An erection can also be achieved through erotic fantasies, memories, sounds, touches and sights. Physiologically-speaking, the penis elongates because of the sudden flow of blood to the genital area.

In some cases, the penis may not be able to achieve or maintain erection. This condition is known as erectile dysfunction and can happen for a number of reasons. In said cases, couples may choose to use penis extenders or strap-on dildos to facilitate intercourse. In other cases, medication or sex therapy might help the penis reach an erect state again.

Erection is not required for orgasm. People with ED may choose to use flaccid-friendly sex toys to achieve pleasure and orgasm without the need for an erection.


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