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Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Nocturnal Erections



I am a 49 year old male. For the past several years I have had difficulty obtaining an erection sufficient for intercourse. However I experience full firm nocturnal erections several times each night. My general practitioner told me that nocturnal erections are not the same as erections during sexual activity. I am having trouble understanding this. Common sense tells me that the physiology is the same which would rule out physical inhibitors to normal erectile function. I do experience erotic dreams during the night and assumed they were partly responsible for the nocturnal erection. I`m pretty confused and would appreciate your opinion.


 Hi. The sexually-stimulated erections and nocturnal erections are not the same. There are different physiologic controls for each. In my opinion, you would need an NPT to measure your nocturnal erections and a thorough medical evaluation and psychological evaluation to understand why your sexually stimulated erections are not working well. 

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Response by:

Allen D Seftel, MD Allen D Seftel, MD
Formerly, Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University