For guys...
What is an erection?
An erection occurs when the penis becomes engorged with blood, making it rigid. An erection is often the sign of sexual excitation and it allows for penetration.

Spontaneous erection

An erection can occur quickly and unexpectedly. It is normal and indicates that the organs are working properly.

When can an erection occur?
  • Upon waking up in the morning
  • After touching your penis a bit
  • While thinking of something pleasant
  • Spontaneously, for no particular reason
What should you do when this happens?
A spontaneous erection may embarrass you. Don’t worry; it happens a lot, especially during puberty! To make it go away, try thinking about something else or looking at something else. However, an erection can sometimes take a while to subside. The more you learn about your body, the more control you’ll have.

Loss of erection

Ready or not? Loss of erection is normal during adolescence as well as in adulthood. When you first start having sexual relations, you may experience a certain amount of stress, which can cause you to lose your erection.

If you experience loss of erection, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do you feel ready for a sexual relationship? Do you really want one?
  • Are you worried about STIs (STDs) or an unwanted pregnancy?
  • Do you feel peer pressure?
  • Do you feel pressured to impress your partner?
  • What would make you feel better?
  • Are you comfortable talking about this with your partner?
  • Are you moving along at your own pace?

Porn star or bust! If you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to perform sexually, it may be hard to maintain an erection. It’s important to know yourself and to go at your own pace!

Taking alcohol, drugs or medication can affect your ability to have or maintain an erection.

Erectile dysfunction

Don’t jump to conclusions! It’s hard to diagnose erectile dysfunction (inability to maintain an erection) in adolescence because each person develops at their own rate and, often, stress or performance pressure can explain a person’s loss of erection or inability to achieve an erection. If you have serious concerns, speak to a health professional.


Some guys experience pain when they have an erection or during sex because their prepuce, or foreskin, is too tight to retract behind the glans. If you experience genital pain, it’s important to consult a physician who will assess whether or not there is a problem.
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