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Teen Guys and Questions About Erections


Q. When I wake up in the morning, my penis is hard. What can I do? I don't want to eat breakfast with my family with an erection!

A. It is perfectly normal for guys your age to wake up with an erection. Even during childhood, most guys will experience erections during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM sleep refers to an "active" sleep state, in which the heart rate increases, the brain is active, and we have dreams. Also during REM sleep, hormones are released and, as you may have guessed, your penis is stimulated by these hormones. Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) is the fancy medical name for it. Guys may have several erections during the REM sleep cycle.

You're better off waiting until the erection is gone before heading to the breakfast table. Try relaxing and thinking about something nonsexual, like a sporting event. Or better yet, study for that upcoming math test. Erections typically go away with enough thought. Meditation might work too. As you get older, you will be able to control your erections better.

Q. I had a sexually arousing dream and when I woke up, there was a wet spot on my bed. I really don't think I wet the bed.

A. You're right! You probably didn't urinate in the bed. Chances are, you experienced a nocturnal emission or "wet dream." This can occur when you dream of a sexual encounter or have sexual thoughts before you wake. Again, during puberty, your hormones usually rule your mind.

Q. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to urinate, but I had an erection and couldn't.

A. It is almost impossible to urinate with an erection, and it might be painful to try to do so. It's best to wait until the erection has calmed down before you attempt to urinate. Again, it's all about mind over matter at this point.

Tips for Controlling Erections

Talking about erections can be embarrassing for some. But remember that they are a perfectly normal part of puberty, and the older you get, the more control you will have over them. While you probably think it's embarrassing, erections are a fact of male life. In fact, it would be very difficult for a male to have sexual intercourse without one! Just remember, your mind can be very powerful in controlling your erections.

Try the following tips to control erections in public:

  • Think nonsexual thoughts to avoid becoming sexually aroused. Think about homework or an upcoming sports event.
  • If you wear boxer shorts and have frequently occurring erections, consider wearing briefs or boxer-brief underwear. These tend to fit tighter and could help hide your erection from public view.
  • If worse comes to worst, just stay seated and remain calm until the erection goes away. If you have to get off the bus, consider untucking your shirt. Or use your backpack or a textbook to shield it.
  • Remember, it's usually mind over matter when it comes to erections. Find what techniques work best for you while hormones are ruling your body.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on February 15, 2014
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