9 Surprising Facts About Erections

Whether you have one or not, you probably think you know everything there is to know about penises. But erectile dysfunction (ED) affects up to 30 million African men, many of whom don’t understand how or why it happens.

1. Most men with ED don’t actually have ED. Older men are more likely to suffer from erectile dissatisfaction than erectile dysfunction. This means that getting and keeping an erection has become more difficult and is more frustrating than it once was, but it’s not impossible.

2. Penises are fragile. Yes, you can break your penis. It’s not like a broken bone, though — instead, the blood vessels within the penis burst, causing painful swelling. According to the UK’s National Health Service, one-third of penile fracture cases are attributed to sexual intercourse where the partner is on top.

3. Erections happen early. Like in the womb, early. Male fetuses can experience erections in the womb.

5. Shorter penises make bigger erections. Research shows that men with shorter penises experience erections that increase penis size by 86 percent. For longer penises, the growth is more like 47 percent.

6. The average erection is 14 cm long. A 2013 studyTrusted Source attempted to settle penis size once and for all. The findings: The average erect penis is just shy of 5.6 inches. The data came directly from study participants, who self-measured, so there is the question of how many exaggerated.

7. The world’s largest erection is 34 cm. Jonah Falcon is said to have the world’s largest penis that, when erect, is well over 1 foot long. When flaccid, it measures 24 cm.

8. ED can signal a serious health problem. Sometimes, sexual problems are a sign of bigger issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, ED can be caused by heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol, and more.

9. Erections aren’t required for orgasm. Yes, men who can’t achieve erections may still have orgasms.

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