Male Puberty :: The Ups and Downs
Hitting puberty is particularly hard on guys. We have the low-down on what's going on during some of the more embarassing moments and how to deal.
What Causes Erections?
An erection is when your penis gets hard. This happens when tubes in the spongy tissue of your penis fill up with blood. Many erections are caused by sexual arousal like when you think about someone who is really hot. This sexual stimulation causes nerve cells in the penis to release nitrous oxide molecules (nitrous oxide is the same stuff laughing gas is made from). The nitrous oxide combines with other chemicals in your body to relax the muscles and blood vessels in the penis. This allows greater blood flow to the penis. At the same time, the small veins in your penis tighten up and voila! - the erection is complete. But erections can also happen for no real reason, especially during puberty. They can sneak up on you in the morning, when you're just really relaxed, during a boring math class or even when you eat a tasty sandwich.
It's tough to say what a "normal" number of erections is. Some guys get several a day while others may not get any. It all depends on hormones, which can change depending on age, sexual maturity, how often a guy exercises, or even how much sleep a guy gets.
There's not a lot you can do to avoid getting spontaneous erections when you're going through puberty. It's totally normal to get them, but let's face it, they can show themselves at some pretty inconvenient times so here are a few tips on hiding 'em to avoid embarrassment:
- Hold your binders or text books in front of your crotch.
- Cover it up by wrapping your sweater or jacket around your waist.
- Avoid wearing sweatpants because they don't hide erections well. Stick to jeans and underwear that keep things in place.
- Put your hands deep in your pocket so your jeans flex outwards. Note: This is a last resort, since it's an old trick and a dead give away that you've got an erection.
Don't Sweat It
The important thing to remember is that erections happen to every single guy and don't make you "weird" or "gross". As you get older, your erections will become less spontaneous and more restricted to sexual occasions. So hang in there and just deal with the ups and downs of puberty as they happen!