Why Do I Get Random Erections?

May 14, 2024
4 mins

As a man, you’ve probably experienced a random erection at least once  in your life. Whether it’s morning wood, random boners during puberty, or anytime you got hard without being in a sexual context, involuntary erections are totally normal and pretty common.

But even though a random erection is no cause for concern, it can be embarrassing or awkward when it happens.

In this article, we’ll spell out everything there is to know about random erections – including what causes them, how often they happen on average, and how to stop them from happening at the most inconvenient times. 

How Common are Random Erections?

Random erections are quite common, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood when hormonal fluctuations are at their peak. They can occur multiple times per day and are a normal physiological response, typically decreasing in frequency with age. 

In men, spontaneous erections can indicate the same fluctuation of hormones (typically testosterone) that happens during puberty.

What Causes Random Erections? 

Random erections can be triggered by various factors such as hormonal fluctuations, physical stimulation, psychological arousal, or even spontaneous neural activity.

How do biological factors contribute to random erections?

Biological factors play a crucial role in random erections in adult men. At the heart of this phenomenon lies the intricate interplay between the nervous system, hormones, and the vascular system.

The nervous system

One primary contributor is the autonomic nervous system, specifically the parasympathetic division. It controls bodily functions not consciously directed, including sexual arousal and response. This system can sometimes send signals triggering erections seemingly without external arousal. 

During sleep – particularly during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – the body experiences increased parasympathetic activity. This often results in spontaneous erections. These nocturnal erections, though involuntary, serve a vital function in maintaining penile health by promoting blood flow and oxygenation to the tissues. And, it’s probably not as frustrating to get boners in your sleep compared to when you’re just walking down the street because you may not even notice it.


Hormonal fluctuations are potentially the main perpetrator contributing to random erections. Testosterone – the primary male sex hormone – plays a pivotal role in regulating libido and erectile function. 

Fluctuations in testosterone levels throughout the day can contribute to spontaneous erections, though the exact mechanisms underlying this relationship remain a subject of ongoing research. 

What psychological factors influence random erections?

Psychological factors exert a significant influence on the occurrence of random erections in adult men, intertwining with biological mechanisms to shape sexual arousal and response.


One key psychological aspect contributing to random erections is stress.

Elevated stress levels can trigger the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which, in turn, activate the sympathetic nervous system. This activation can lead to increased blood flow to the genitals and the subsequent onset of erections, even in the absence of direct sexual stimulation. 


Similarly, anxiety, whether related to performance, social situations, or other life stressors, can amplify sympathetic nervous system activity, potentially contributing to random erections.

Other psychological factors

Emotions such as excitement or anticipation can also play a role in triggering spontaneous erections. Positive emotions can stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which are associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. 

These neurotransmitters can enhance sexual arousal and increase blood flow to the penis, leading to erections. Additionally, psychological factors like imagination and fantasy can activate brain regions associated with sexual arousal, prompting physical responses such as erections.

Psychological factors can influence the interpretation and perception of physical sensations, including those related to sexual arousal. Men who are more attuned to their bodily sensations or who have heightened sensitivity to sexual stimuli may be more prone to random erections. 

On the other hand, men with certain psychological conditions such as depression or low self-esteem may have altered perceptions of sexual arousal, potentially affecting the frequency or intensity of spontaneous erections.

Medications and substances

Additionally, certain medications or substances may have side effects that increase the likelihood of experiencing spontaneous arousal.

How Do Societal Attitudes Impact Perceptions of Random Erections?

Taboos surrounding sexuality may lead to embarrassment or shame, while open and understanding attitudes can promote acceptance and normalization. Cultural norms regarding masculinity and sexual behavior may also shape how people interpret and respond to spontaneous arousal.

Promoting open and honest discussions about sexual health, challenging stigma surrounding sexuality, and fostering acceptance of the body's natural processes can help mitigate the negative impact of societal attitudes on perceptions of random erections. 

By creating a supportive and understanding environment, individuals can feel more comfortable and confident in navigating their experiences with random erections.

How Can You Manage Random Erections?

Obviously, getting random erections is a sign of healthy sexual functioning, but it’s not ideal to get a boner randomly – especially in public. 

You can try to manage spontaneous erections in a few different ways:

  • Distract yourself by focusing on a thought that does not bring you any sexual pleasure

  • Wear clothing that provides support and minimizes physical stimulation

  • Engage in regular physical activity to regulate hormone levels and improve overall well-being

  • Hide your random boners with your jacket or book or shift positions so that it’s not noticeable

  • Seek professional guidance if random erections persist or cause distress, as underlying medical or psychological issues may need to be addressed

How Can Rex MD Help?

While involuntary erections are typically a sign of healthy penile health, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t experience ED. 

Erectile dysfunction can be due to various factors, so the reason you may be experiencing ED may be completely different from the reason you may be experiencing random erections. 

For example, you may experience a spontaneous erection because of your testosterone levels fluctuating throughout the day, but you may experience ED because you get performance anxiety before sex.

Worry not, erectile dysfunction is common – it happens to millions of guys. That’s why Rex MD helps guys access ED medications like Viagra and Cialis – so you never have to worry about under-performing in the bedroom. 

Just answer some questions about your experience with ED and your medical history – and if you qualify – Rex MD will prescribe you a medication suitable for you. The best part is you won’t have to leave your home, this process is completely virtual and discreet!

Get started today.

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