Ahhh, nothing refreshes like a good night’s sleep! In this stressed out, gotta-stay-on-top-of-things world, getting a good night’s rest can be difficult - despite the fact that doctors tell people time and again that getting sufficient sleep is crucial for overall health (and, for that matter, for penis health). But some men find that their attempts to rest may be complicated by bouts of penis pain. Although this is a situation that is still being studied, it has been researched enough to have been given a name: SRPE or sleep related painful erections.


It’s very common (and healthy) for men to experience erections while they sleep. It is estimated that most men will have three to five erections while sleeping each night, and are "spontaneous" (not related to sexual stimulation). Men also experience a number of spontaneous erections during the course of their waking hours. However, whereas these daytime erections usually go away after a few minutes (sometimes a few seconds), nocturnal erections tend to last for 20 minutes or more, sometimes up to 40 minutes. And they are typically not associated with penis pain.

But when a man has SRPE, that’s very definitely not the case. These erections cause a pain that is so intense that a man will be roused from his peaceful slumber in response. In some cases, the painful erection may last as long as an hour. This is very different from the man’s typical erections, which are not accompanied by this penis pain. After an episode, a man may find it difficult to return to his sleep. And in some cases, he may have more than one SRPE in a night. Needless to say, this penis pain situation can cause a man to lose a significant amount of sleep.

Why does SRPE occur?

SRPE is a very rare condition, and at this point there is still a need to learn a great deal more about it. One of the biggest puzzles at the moment is why some men get SRPE; its cause is not really known.

One study concluded that the likely cause of SRPE is damage to the nervous system. Something might cause hyperactivity in the nervous system while a man is sleeping, or there may be something which is interfering with proper neurotransmission. The study also indicated that the hypothalamus, which controls the nervous system and the pituitary gland, may be malfunctioning. Another study suggested that the pelvic floor muscles may be tightening during sleep, bringing about the erections.

So far, there has been no evidence that higher levels of testosterone are in play to cause SRPE.


Since little is known about the cause of SRPE, treating it can be difficult. For some men, urinating may bring relief, although urinating with a full erection can itself be difficult (and sometimes a bit painful). Masturbating can sometimes bring relief, but for many men, the pain of the erection precludes masturbation. Applying a cold compress may also be beneficial.

Doctors have used some muscle relaxants or other medications to help relieve SRPE, but so far there is no agreement on what is the best medical treatment to try. However, any man experiencing SRPE should consult with a urologist to decide on a course of treatment to try.

The penis pain from SRPE may lead to lingering soreness, which may be aided by daily application of a superior penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin ). The penis will find some soothing relief from an oil that includes a combination of a high end emollient (such as alpha lipoic acid) and a natural hydrator (such as vitamin E). It is also a good idea to find an oil with vitamin D3, the so-called "miracle vitamin," which has proven benefits in fighting diseases and supporting healthy cellular function.