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Does the brain play a role in having an erection?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The brain is your most powerful sex organ. It is your brain that sends out the signals that radiate through your central nervous system, triggering changes in blood flow in your penis that cause an erection. That said, most cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) are caused by physical problems, not mental ones. Your mind may be willing, but if your cardiovascular system isn’t quite as healthy as it could be, the blood just doesn’t get to where it needs to be and stay there. Of course, if that happens, it affects how you feel about yourself and your relationship, and every man knows that worrying about performance can affect...performance. So can work or financial anxiety, depression, and other problems that live in your brain. If you are having problems with erections more than half of the time, talk to your doctor, who can check you for physical problems. If your problem with erectile dysfunction affects your relationship, you may also want to talk with a psychologist, too. Learning to talk more intimately with your partner now may be tough, but it could be a key part of your healing process.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Some have said the brain is the biggest sexual organ in the body. When it comes to ED, that might be true. The brain - not Victoria's Secret commercials - causes an erection. The initial stirrings of an erection begin when your brain sends signals to your body, through a vast network of cables called the central nervous system, to fill the penis with blood. When everything is working, your brain's wish is your body's command, and it pumps blood down south. The end result? You get an erection. For those with problems having or maintaining an erection, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.