The erection is penile hardening on sexual arousal due to the filling up of soft penile tissues with blood. The erection may also happen spontaneously without any physical or psychological stimulation. The time of erection varies among individuals depending on the following factors:

  • 1. Age
  • 2. Mental health- stress or anxiety
  • 3. Medical conditions
  • 4. Drugs or medications
  • 5. Fatigue
  • 6. Distractions
  • 7. Alcohol use
  • 8. Unsatisfactory partner
  • 9. Low confidence

The Sequence of the Erection Process:

Flaccid Penis

Soft or flaccid penis is the normal state of the penis without any sexual arousal or physical or psychological stimulation. In a flaccid penis, blood circulation to and from the penis equals in amount.

Swollen Penis

Various sources of stimulation (physical and psychological) initiate swelling of the penis due to pressure build-up in the soft tissues of the penis. The engorgement of the penis with the blood occurs as the flow inside the penis becomes more than the flow out of the penile tissues.

Erect Penis

The penis becomes rigid due to touch and visual or imaginary stimulation. This erection lasts for some time as the brain continues to signal for the increased blood flow to the penis. The erect penis serves the purpose of penetrative intercourse.

How long can a Man Stay Erect?

A man can stay erect for a few minutes to half an hour. There is no fixed duration or time for the erection of the men. It usually varies in individuals. Without any medication, the average erection time is almost 10 minutes.

There are always people who can stay erect above the average time of erection and below the average time. Eventually, the specific figure cannot be pinned down in a population of men. People have varying physiology, metabolism and mental wellness that affect the time of staying erect.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Erection

There are numerous factors that affect the duration of erection. There are variations in erections time in men mainly due to age and body health. Other factors affecting erection time are: 

  • 1. Smoking
  • 2. Alcohol
  • 3. Substance abuse
  • 4. Certain medications (for treating cardiovascular diseases)
  • 5. Drugs prescribed for colds or some allergies
  • 6. Obesity
  • 7. Premature ejaculation
  • 8. Low levels of testosterone
  • 9. Anti-depressants
  • 10. Medications for high blood pressure

Losing Erection too Fast

Unsatisfactory sex often results from getting an erection too fast that terminates sooner. Maintaining an erection for enough time so that orgasm is achieved appropriately and penetrative sex with ejaculation is necessary. If any of these are not achieved, it is considered a fast erection is not lasting enough for intercourse to conceive.

Problematic Long Erection

Priapism is an erection for more extended hours, up to a 4-hour prolonged erection. The phenomenon is considered an emergency that leads to erectile dysfunction if not treated on time, causing tissue death.

Two types of too-long erections (priapism):

Ischemic – characteristic of a painful erect shaft with flaccid or soft glans penis (penis head)

Non-ischemic – no pain in the erect shaft, but the penis is not fully hard.

What is the average erection time without touching?

Man can stay erect without touching for almost 5- 10 minutes. This time varies for the erection at night. Erection during the night, called a nocturnal erection, is comparatively more prolonged than the erection occurring during the daytime. The erection at night occurs without touching due to parasympathetic stimulation.  

Measuring the Erection

According to a scientific method of erection measurement, the firmness is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 4 :

Scale point 0: Flaccid penis

Scale point 1: Larger penis but not hard

Scale point 2: Harder penis, but not appropriate for penetration

Scale point 3: Penetrating hard penis, still not hard completely

Scale point 4: Fully stiff penis

An assessment tool is a questionnaire known as IIEF (The International Index of Erectile Function).

Need for firm Erection

The frequency and strength of penile erection indicate the entire health of an individual. There are comparatively smaller blood vessels in the penis than in other arteries in the body. The vessel blockage, dilation problem, age, stress, psychological issues and hormonal imbalances lead to erectile dysfunction. Therefore, it is essential to have a firm erection; otherwise, any problem in erection or attaining firmness indicates serious health concerns.

What is a Weak Erection?

Weak erection is a kind of erectile dysfunction, wherein a person may have variable experiences of erection. It can be indicated by the following: 

  • 1. Occasional erections but not at the time of sex
  • 2. Getting an erection but not lasing for long enough to have sex
  • 3. Not getting an erection at all

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t guys get hard a second time?

Guys cannot get hard the second time when they are in a refractory period. The period in which there is no erection or ejaculation is called the refractory period in men, which is longer than the refractory period in women. It occurred due to increased levels of prolactin hormone and decreased levels of testosterone.

At what age does a penis owner stop getting erections?

There is no particular age after which men do not get hard. However, the natural aging phenomenon affects the time and number of erections a day. The health of an individual plays a significant role in getting hard. 

According to research studies, many men show ED (erectile dysfunction) after 50 years of age. After 50, many men stop getting hard due to various health complications, stress and mental health issues.

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