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Men’s Health - How does an erection occur?

BodyAn erection begins with sensory or mental stimulation, or both.

Impulses from your brain and local nerves cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, allowing blood to flow into the penis and expand.

The tunica albuginea helps trap the blood in the corpora cavernosa, thereby sustaining erection.

When muscles in the penis contract to stop the inflow of blood and open outflow channels, the erection is reversed.

The penis contains two chambers called the corpora cavernosa, which run the length of the organ.

Cross section of penis

A spongy tissue fills the chambers. The corpora cavernosa are surrounded by a membrane, called the tunica albuginea. The urethra, which is the channel for urine and ejaculate, runs along the underside of the corpora cavernosa and is surrounded by the corpus spongiosum.