Cock and balls
An erection (hard-on, stiffy, boner) is not under our voluntary control in the same way as we can pick something up or wiggle our toes. It is caused by emotional, physical and hormonal signals in the form of electrical impulses which pass near the spinal cord and trigger an erection.
As we grow more sexually aware and experienced we accumulate a library of triggers or reminders which turn us on sexually: a look, body odour, being stroked, or the sight of a shaved head, for example. What turns us on is very personal to each of us, and during our sexual lives most of us will have at one time or another been surprised by something which, unexpectedly, has given us a raging hard-on.
When you get an erection, the cylinders in your cock fill with blood making it hard. Minute valves regulate blood into the cock when you get an erection, locking the blood inside while it’s stiff, and releasing the blood back into the body when it goes soft again.
There is also a misconception that as you get older you lose the ability to get or maintain an erection. It’s true that it can take longer to get turned on, and that physical reasons why you might not get one are more likely the older you get. But many men don’t see this as a problem and recognise that as we go through life our body and its needs change.
Curved erections Peyronie’s disease
Some guys get an erection that curves. This is caused by excess fibrous tissue on one side of the cock preventing it from becoming fully erect. The expansion of the cock on the other side then forces the erection to bend one way. In most cases the curvature is minimal and doesn’t cause any discomfort or problems – it just looks as if it’s got a mind of its own.
Cast your eye back over a few dicks and you’ll probably remember a few bananas requiring some oral massage! However, the curve can be so severe that it causes pain and fucking is not possible. The angle of curve can decrease without treatment but medication and/or surgery may be required.
Persistent erections priapism
A persistent erection – not connected with sex – is called priapism. The condition can be extremely painful and usually occurs when blood fails to drain out of the spongy tissue inside the cock. In some cases the cock will start to go blue! Urgent medical treatment at an accident and emergency department is usually required immediately.
An overly tight cock ring which you can’t remove while you have an erection can cause similar symptoms. If it’s made of rubber you can cut it off – carefully. Metal cock rings, however, are more problematic and the fire service has been known to have been called out. (Trying to remove it with a blow torch is not recommended!)
Be careful what you wish for...
"My partner and I went to a pool party. Suitably high, our host went online and invited over another guy who stripped off and jumped in the pool. No need to guess what happened next! The guy said that he liked his dick to be really hard during sex, so he injected it with a clear liquid. He was very careful, and had all of the medical equipment, clean syringes, antiseptic spray etc. My partner was fascinated and asked if he could have it done too. The guy obliged. After a lot of fun sex we left the party and went home to bed.
The next morning my partner's cock was still rock hard and showed no signs of going down. He did some research online and got worried, and so we went to A&E. The doctor saw him straight away (so thankfully no wait). When she asked what the liquid was and how much was injected we had to admit that we didn't know... and we felt like stupid kids. They put him on an anti-inflammatory drip and drew blood from his arm to lower his blood pressure... but his dick stayed up like a flagpole. So then they drew blood from all around the base of his cock, after warning him that there was a chance he may never get a full, solid hard-on again - my partner is a 'top' and so this was really unwelcome news. The erection wavered briefly, but then arose like a phoenix! After that they told us there was no choice but to operate, and took him to the Intensive Care Unit.
Maybe it was the fear of an operation, but after being wheeled into the ICU (dressed in the usual 'flattering' backless gown) his dick finally became softer and so the doctors decided there was no need to operate after all. A relief, of course, but my partner's dick was really bruised and sore. They kept him in hospital overnight for observation, and administered more anti-inflammatory and saline drips.
Back at home, his cock was tender for many days afterwards, and still now feels different (lumpy) around the base from where they drew a lot of blood. After some very tentative, and frankly painful sex (for him), it turns out that his erections are still strong and his cock works fine: good news for us... but we certainly learnt a lesson the hard way (pun intended!).
Pedro, June 2015
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