eli5 How do men get a boner and how does the brain know when men are aroused?

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eli5 How do men get a boner and how does the brain know when men are aroused?

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Not sure if the brain is involved at all, like here’s teenage me (years ago lol) sitting on a bus with random wood

Men get an erection when blood is directed to the penis. The cause of this is not always sexual arousal. Sometimes they are very random. Much like a heartbeat, erections cannot be controlled consciously, even though certain practices (deep breathing, relaxation, flexing surrounding muscles) can be used to end unwanted erections.

The brain sometimes doesn’t know, and the brain sometimes is aroused but the penis isn’t. There’s not one switch that controls both – sure they are often related, but they are also reasonably often not related. You can get boners you don’t want, and you can fail to get boners you do want, most guys experience both at some stage.

As to exactly why all that is the case, and why it’s not like, say, moving your arm, I don’t know and it’d be cool if anyone knows some relevant evolutionary biology.

Great news. It’s a multilayered thing.

Layer one: human beings (be they female, male, or other) have a pair of reciprocating/antagonistic executive modules in their brains. One constantly searches your environment for cues to get more aroused. The other constantly searches your environment for cues to get less aroused. These modules send commands to your body.

Layer two: zooming into the case at hand, if you develop an arousal and you wish it weren’t happening, it’s quite possible that the tension of that wish will feed back into your sexual acceleration system and make it all worse. So then you’re stuck with an undesirable hard-on.

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