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9 fascinating facts about erections you probably didn't know

Hard out here for a penis.

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ERECTIONS. WE all get them (or rather, about 50% of us get them).

Here’s what you probably didn’t know.

1. The average erection takes about four shotglasses of blood

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A normal-sized erection requires about 130ml of blood to keep the penis hard. That’s just slightly less than four 35ml whiskey shots.

(Also the blood flows into the penis at a speed of about 30cm per second.)

2. Erections are caused by the same chemical that lightning produces

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The increase in blood flow to the penis is caused by nitric oxide, which is produced naturally by lightning strikes. (Also by car engines and power plants, incidentally.)

3. Different erections point in different directions

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About one in 20 men has an erection pointing vertically up at the sky. Another one in 20 points at his feet. Most other men are somewhere on the spectrum in between.

4. In fact, all erections are not alike. There are three kinds.

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There are reflexogenic erections, which are caused by, well, someone (or something!) stimulating the penis physically. The signals don’t even reach your brain. (That’s why it’s called a reflex.)

Then there are psychogenic erections, where the signal comes from your brain. Yes, when you think lustful thoughts.

Then there are nocturnal erections, which are the ones that happen at night (and in the morning) whether you like it or not.

5. And boners arrive in three different shapes

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There’s the “straight on”, where the penis is of even width like a cylinder.

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The ‘Eiffel Tower’, where it’s wider at the base and narrow at the tip.

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And the ‘baseball bat’, where it’s narrow at the base and wide at the tip. All three are perfectly natural.

6. Oral sex gives you bigger ones

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Well, maybe. A 2013 study found that men who were aroused by oral sex reported larger erections than those who did the job themselves.

A researcher admitted: “Men who have bigger penises could be getting more oral sex in the first place”. But if this fact works for you, take it to the bank.

7. As does laying off masturbation for a few days

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Keeping masturbation to a minimum can increase blood flow to the penis when you have sex – making it feel harder and bigger to your partner. Or so sex therapist Ian Kerner tells Women’s Health. (On the flipside, though, regular exercise is also good for the tissues in your penis which maintain erectile function.)

8. Finally, erections which don’t disappear are considered a medical emergency

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Priapism – the condition of an erect penis which doesn’t subside for more than four hours – requires immediate medical attention. In extreme cases (where vascular disease is present), it can result in penile gangrene and your willy falling off.

9. But in almost all cases, more boners = a good thing

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As we mentioned before, regular exercise is good for the tissues in your penis. It’s also widely believed that regular sexual activity – either on your own or in company – helps prevent erectile dysfunction. So go! Enjoy it!

More: 8 important questions the internet has about masturbation>

More: 11 facts about penises everyone should know>

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