Like many other physiological functions, the erection first begins in the brain - in fact, a large part of the ability to have an erection and keep it long enough to complete the act of sexual intercourse is truly all in the mind. Understanding how an erection works can help men to become more aware of the things that prevent it from working properly and provide useful insight into penis health issues that can be improved through a good penis care health routine.

The physiological process of obtaining an erection

As already mentioned the erection of the male member begins in the brain and involves two major systems of the body; the nervous system and the vascular system (the heart and blood vessels). To begin with, the brain receives signals of arousal and this can be through physical touch, mental imagery or an emotional process. When this signal is received, a variety of neurotransmitters - brain chemicals - send messages to the pelvic area. These messages instruct the smooth muscle tissue to relax and the blood vessels to dilate (widen), allowing increased blood flow to the area.

As the blood fills the penis (collecting in spongy reservoirs known as the corpora cavernosa), the penis swells and becomes enlarged. When this occurs, the pressure causes an elastic-like tissue to contract, restricting blood flow away from the penis so that the erection remains in place until instructed to relax after orgasm occurs.

Factors that affect the ability to have an erection

1. Reduced penis nerve function; the glans and foreskin contain a multitude of nerve receptors that play a very important role in erectile function. These nerves have the primary responsibility to transmit tactile sensation to the brain in order to start the physiological processes that lead to a healthy erection. When this nerve tissue is compromised; through excessive friction or pressure, penile injury, spinal injury or smoking or drug use obtaining and maintaining an erection and can become difficult. Removal of the foreskin through circumcision also eliminates many of these nerve receptors, and there is some research-based evidence (although it has been disputed) that this procedure may reduce the experience of sexual pleasure.

2. Restricted blood flow; since obtaining an erection depends on healthy blood flow throughout the body cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and blocked arteries can reduce blood flow and lead to erectile problems. Physical constriction of the blood vessels, whether from tight clothing, athletic supporters, or being overweight, can be an important consideration in diagnosing erection-related penis problems.

3. Callused or thickened penis skin; like other areas of the skin’s surface exposed to friction, the skin of the penis can become thickened or callused due to constant chafing from clothing, as well as rough handling. Keeping the skin well-moisturized and boosting healing with natural vitamins and hydrating agents may help to alleviate this problem.

4. Underlying medical issues; medical issues can affect penis health and the ability to have an erection. Diabetes, heart health, substance abuse and certain types of medications are just some of the things that can get in the way of healthy sexual function. Making healthy lifestyle choices in terms of diet and exercise, avoiding the use of recreational drugs and regular physical examinations can help to avoid some of the health problems that can put a damper on sexual pleasure.

5. Emotional factors; the emotions are an important factor in sexual stimulation and issues such as anxiety, stress, anger, partner problems and other aspects of emotional health can get in the way of the enjoyment of sex. Addressing these problems, as well as creating a sensual and relaxed atmosphere for sex, can have a positive effect.

Promoting healthy penis function

Good nutrition is at the root of good health, and this applies to the penis as well as to the rest of the body. A specialized penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) which contains essential nutrients such as vitamin A for smooth and healthy skin; vitamin C for collagen building and healthy blood flow; amino acids for metabolic function, energy and nerve health and all-natural moisturizers for supple, sensitive skin can significantly contribute to sexual enjoyment and healthy penis function.