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Nocturnal penile tumescence

nocturnal penile tumescence, nocturnal penile tumescence video
Nocturnal penile tumescence abbreviated as NPT, also known colloquially as morning wood, is a spontaneous erection of the penis during sleep or when waking up All men without physiological erectile dysfunction experience nocturnal penile tumescence, usually three to five times during the night, typically during REM sleep1 NPTs are believed to contribute to penile health2


  • 1 Diagnostic value
  • 2 Mechanism
  • 3 In popular culture
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References

Diagnostic valueedit

The existence and predictability of nocturnal tumescence is used by sexual health practitioners to ascertain whether a given case of erectile dysfunction ED is psychological or physiological in origin A patient presenting ED is fitted with an elastic device to wear around his penis during sleep; the device detects changes in girth and relays the information to a computer for later analysis If nocturnal tumescence is detected, then the ED is presumed to be due to a psychosomatic illness such as sexual anxiety; if not, then it is presumed to be due to a physiological cause1


The cause of NPT is not known with certainty Bancroft 2005 hypothesizes that the noradrenergic neurons of the locus ceruleus are inhibitory to penile erection, and that the cessation of their discharge that occurs during REM sleep may allow testosterone-related excitatory actions to manifest as NPT3

Evidence supporting the possibility that a full bladder can stimulate an erection has existed for some time and is characterized as a 'reflex erection'citation needed The nerves that control a man’s ability to have a reflex erection are located in the sacral nerves S2-S4 of the spinal cord4 A full bladder is known to mildly stimulate nerves in the same region

The possibility of a full bladder causing an erection, especially during sleep, is perhaps further supported by the beneficial physiological effect of an erection inhibiting urination, thereby helping to avoid nocturnal enuresis However, given females have a similar phenomenon called nocturnal clitoral tumescence, prevention of nocturnal enuresis bed-wetting is not likely a sole supporting cause5

In popular cultureedit

Research into the causes of NPT was the subject of "The Mystery of Morning Wood", a 1995 episode of the animated comedy series Beavis and Butt-head

See alsoedit

  • Priapism
  • Nocturnal clitoral tumescence
  • Nocturnal emission
  • Sleep sex


  1. ^ a b "Tests for Erection Problems" WebMD, Inc Retrieved 2007-03-03 
  2. ^ Why guys rise and, well, rise in the morning, The Body Odd, NBC News, October 2010
  3. ^ Bancroft, J 2005 "The endocrinology of sexual arousal" Journal of Endocrinology 186 3: 411–427 doi:101677/joe106233 PMID 16135662 Retrieved September 25, 2013 
  4. ^ Phil Klebine; Linda Lindsey May 2007 "Sexual Function for Men with Spinal Cord Injury" Spinal Cord Injury Information Network University of Alabama at Birmingham Retrieved 2011-12-17 
  5. ^ Scott Beale Aug 2016 "Why Do Men Get Erections in the Morning" IFL Science Retrieved 2016-12-03 

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