Sex & Relationship: Does the penis have a mind of its own?1 Comment

By gossipmama
Posted on 21 Oct 2011 at 5:32pm

Dr Irwin Goldstein and the American Boston University study group into impotence didn’t hesitate to analyse these interactions in detail. Thanks to these biologists’ curiosity*, we now know a little more about one of the events that is core in a man’s life after puberty – the erection.

When the mind overpowers the penis…

When encountering a pretty woman, flirty behaviour or the presence of perfume that recalls sensual memories, the penis likes nothing better than rising to the occasion under the influence of the body’s nervous excitatory circuits.

And yet there are other, contradictory messages stemming from more powerful areas of the body, through the spinal cord and the nerves, which can counteract this phenomenon. And that’s what convinces the penis to keep a low profile.

There is actually a universal tendency towards inhibition, and the modern man will probably have difficulty imitating an unbridled sexuality, like that of the of bonobo monkey. The “fault” is attributed to a nucleus, called the paragigantocellular nucleus, situated inside the poor, and sometimes confused, brain.

This mood wrecker’s work is directed towards preventing erections. No surprise then, that desire is sometimes fleeting and masculine sexuality is often sensitive to stress and anxiety… But as we all know, life (and the penis!) has its ups and downs!

The penis never sleeps…

It’s a different story at night however, when the man sleeps. Admittedly, during the phases of light sleep, the brain’s negative control presides over the body and the virile appendage takes its turn to sleep too.

But on the other hand, as soon as the paradoxical or REM stage of sleep creeps in he’ll start to dream and the active parts of the brain relax while the penis, which has been waiting precisely for this moment, will spring into action.

This explains how, in all normally functioning men, whether or not they sleep alone, four or five erections will occur during the night.

A rather primitive method to test impotence, but which has proved its worth, involves sticking a postage stamp on the point in question before sleeping. Nothing is more reassuring than if the stamp has fallen off during the night!

Never mind the mind…

There are also “encouraged” erections, which can be stimulated through touch or vision, when the penis acts without actually sending a message back to the brain’s cortex.

In these cases, the nervous system brings part of the spinal cord into play which instructs the erectile nerve to straighten up, when it has been awoken by pleasant sensory messages – nothing to do with the mind.

The advantage of this alternative, nervous pathway is that is allows tetraplegic men to have erections. The joys of fatherhood can be experienced but it is not always ideal for appreciating sexual pleasure, as the penis is actually desensitised in those men with this kind of physical disability.

The erection: a unisex phenomenon

Also worth knowing is that the erection is not exclusively male, and the neuronal relays in play are more or less the same for the so-called “weaker” sex. With nerve points equivalent to those of the penis, and although rather smaller, the clitoris is, in fact, also sensitive to universal inhibitors in the brain and those which stimulate lovemaking.

So Venus does in fact walk in the steps of Priapus, the roman god of virility. Who’d have thought it?
Source: Dr Corinne Tutin

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