I am a naturist, and some women in our community claim that a “real” naturist man would not get an erection without being sexually aroused. I believe spontaneous erections happen without sexual arousal. I remember multiple daily erections during my elementary and middle school years. What in the world causes an erection in math class? Aren’t spontaneous erections the sign of a happy, healthy male of any age rather than a sign of sexual arousal?
An erection is a complex physiological process involving the brain, nervous system, hormones, and muscles. It makes sense why women who are naturists might associate erections with a desire for sex; many of them may have only had experience with an erect penis in a sexual context.
Men can have erections without feeling sexually excited or horny, which are usually referred to as spontaneous erections and can occur under a wide variety of circumstances. And no distinction exists between an erection due to sexual excitement and one that occurs spontaneously.
Parents of male infants may have observed that their very young sons can have erections when their diaper is being changed or they are being bathed, dressed and undressed, or assisted while on the toilet. This response occurs in relationship to stimulation, though not a sexual one. Similar erections can occur while attending male patients who have a severed spinal cord and no feeling sensations in their penises, so no connection exists with sexual thoughts. The process is a simple reflex.
I used to have an erection while I waited in the reception area prior to my football physical. No matter how I tried, I could not make it go away, although it always did by the time I got in to see the doctor (whom I had no sexual attraction to). Adolescent boys often have a problem when nervous or excited, such as the prospect of standing up to recite in front of class. Hormones are flooding through their young bodies and erections can happen while riding the school bus or standing in the lunch line in the cafeteria, a source of considerable anxiety for young men.
These spontaneous erections occur less frequently as men age, but erections can occur whenever the brain is simply flooded with emotions that may or may not be sexual—emotions including anger, stress, or fear. Men who are engaged in military operations may have erections while in direct combat.
Erections can occur during states of deep relaxation. Men typically have erections several times throughout the night during the REM phase of sleep. Erections might occur for naturists when they have a deep sense of peace and connection to their environment. Men often wake up in the morning with an erection, sometimes called “morning wood,” which comes from having a very full bladder, and these typically disappear when the bladder is emptied.
People frequently make an incorrect assumption that when one event follows another, there is a cause and its effect; this is a common error in logic. A psychological defense mechanism of projection might also be operating: the thought “He has an erect penis; he must want to have sex with me” might actually mean “He has an erect penis; I’d like to have sex with him.”
Men sometimes get erections when they don’t want them and can’t get them when they do want them. It seems like that appendage has a mind entirely of its own.