You probably wondered how it’s even possible at a doctor’s clinic when you weren’t aroused. Well, that’s because you had a reflex erection – completely out of your control.

Often, I have male patients in my clinic asking, “How is it possible for men to come and see you and comfortably have their genitals examined?” They explain that they’d be utterly mortified if they had an erection on the examination bed or worst still ejaculated. Just contemplating the possibility of an erection during the examination stops them from making an appointment!

How do we remain so calm and unoffended?

The truth is, there’s nothing offensive about having an erection while being examined by a doctor. It doesn’t mean you’re aroused and as much as you might think that your female doctor will think you’re getting a hard-on because of her touch – you couldn’t be more wrong…

Your erections and sometimes ejaculation (yes, we have experienced this happening more than once when examining our male patients) are purely a reflex completely out of your control. It’s a spinal reflex; nothing to do with higher-level senses like attraction, arousal or being secretly turned on by your doctor, (although perhaps in a rare instance that could be the case).

On a serious note, the erection you get in a doctor’s clinic is a REFLEX ERECTION, not a Psychogenic erection, that you’re probably more familiar with. Psychogenic erections stem from erotic thoughts, fantasies or arousing sights or sounds, whereas Reflex erections come directly from touch stimulus to the penis or the genital area; exactly what happens during a genital examination in the doctor’s clinic. The touch signals are directly conveyed to the spinal nerve, this time a different level of your spinal nerves – the S2- S4 levels. So, the natural reactive response to this touch is an erection of the penis.

You can’t voluntarily stop this reflex and we as professionals are aware of this. Male patients need to understand why this can happen and realise that they do not have to be embarrassed about a reflex erection.

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