How an Erection Works

Lots of people can get an erection, but few know what makes it happen.

First, the erection is not caused by a muscle flexing, at least not in any way you might have imagined. The only important muscles are two very tiny muscles on either side of the underside of the penis near its base. When a male is aroused, blood enters through the middle of the penis, filling chambers with blood. The tiny muscles close around veins, preventing blood from leaving the area, creating an erection.

The erection continues until the brain releases PDE-5 enzyme to relax these little muscles and, like opening a valve, those veins allow the built-up blood pressure to be released. The erection will  lessen or disappear entirely.  The bad news is stress and medications can make small amounts of this enzyme occur in the bloodstream, which sometimes making it difficult to keep the valves closed tightly as long as one would wish.

A penis ring can supplement these little muscles’ efforts. Also called erection rings, they cut off circulation and hold the blood in the penis. They are essentially tourniquets and should not be used for longer than 30 minutes at a time. When using a ring, remove it every 30 minutes or so for at least 15 minutes.

Many men turn to pills for erection assistance. Viagra, Cialis, and some herbal supplements are PDE-5 enzyme blockers to make the little muscles pay no attention to the PDE-5 enzyme when it arrives. Other pills increase blood flow. Pills have side effects that should be considered before taking them, the common ones being headache and heart palpitations. Men who have heart problems or blood pressure issues should talk to a doctor before taking any male enhancement pills. There are a variety of drugs available now, and a doctor can recommend the one that’s right for you.

Penis pumps are a popular method to achieve a firm, full erection, especially for anyone with medical issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure who cannot take the various herbal enhancers available. Penis pumps consist of a cylinder chamber attached to a flexible tube and a hand pump. Once the cylinder is secured around the penis, the user squeezes the pump to create a vacuum. The penis expands to fill the cylinder. The effects can last a few hours to several days. The increased sensitivity – and firmness possibly not seen since age 17 – make pump use a great addition to either lovemaking or to self-play activities. Misuse can result in bruising, so break the vacuum seal if you experience pain.

If you’re not sure which solution is right for you, talk to your doctor or a urologist to find the product that fits best with your overall health.