How do erections work?

Written with
Dr Matthew Chan

Here’s how erections work:

  1. Your brain senses sex might be on the cards and starts firing brain signals to tell your body it’s game on 
  2. These increase your heart rate and allow swift blood flow to your penis
  3. More messages travel down your nerves to tell the muscle at the bottom of the penis to tighten and hold the blood in
  4. Now you have an erection, sex can begin

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur when any of these stages get disrupted.

As these steps involve your brain, nerves, muscles, blood flow, hormones, mood (and more), you may have already guessed that ED has lots of causes

These broadly fall into two camps, physical and psychological - but they can also intermingle, so your erections can be negatively impacted by your body and your mind in different ways, all at the same time. 

Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.

Start your 7-day free trial

Get unlimited access to Mojo and start your journey to better erections.

Try Mojo for free

Press enquires:

Anything else:

Mojo, 15 Westland Pl, London, N1 7NP

Help is available when you're feeling low – you don't have to suffer in silence. If you're in crisis or struggling to cope, find someone to talk to on Find a Helpline.