Things You Should Know About the Penis

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Discussing the penis is a sensitive subject that is usually not brought up in mixed company, and many men are uncomfortable and unlikely to discuss questions they might have with their doctor. Consequently, this article is designed to answer a few questions that many men (yes, and women, too) have possibly considered asking, but for whatever reason(s), never asked.

Does the penis have a mind of its own?

There are situations when a man may get an erection at an inappropriate time and the man may wish or desire not to have it, but it occurs anyway. Alternatively, there are some times when a man may want an erection but it does not occur. In these situations the penis acts like it has "a mind of its own."

When a penis becomes erect (or not) is controlled by information to it by parts of the nervous system that is not always under a man's conscious control. Two parts that may send messages to the penis independent of a man's conscious control are the autonomic and sympathetic nervous systems. A good example of "brain control" of the penis that is not voluntary (ie controlled by the person) is the erections that occur during sleep or the ones a man notices on occasion when he wakes up in the morning.

Voluntary input for man can influence an erection both positively and negatively, but the penis is influenced by other body nerve systems that, to a large extent, men have little or no control over. In addition, physiologic reactions (blood flow, exposure to cold environment, nerve damage) all interact and may affect the penis and its reaction to any given situation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2016

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