How an erection works: the details

Professor Rob McLachlan, Director of Andrology Australia, describes the many players in a normal, healthy erection, including the conscious and subconscious involvement of the central nervous system, the integrity of the autonomic outflow, and most importantly the health of the neurovascular system:

An erection begins in the brain, where visual, olfactory, imaginative and tactile stimuli initiate a neural outflow.

Autonomic neural impulses work on the vasculature of the penis to allow the smooth muscle in its arterial system and trabeculae to relax.

This allows more blood to flow into the penis and greatly increases its capacity to store the blood in the lacunar spaces, such that the penile volume is capable of a 10-fold increase.

Anatomy of the penis

Anatomy of the penis

Read the article in Medical Observer [login required] or see the full video Mechanisms of Erection And Ejaculation at Andrology Australia eLearning.

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