It’s just a fact of life that you’re going to roll over in the morning and see the sheets tented. ‘Morning wood’ is something that we don’t even try to explain; it just happens and no, it’s not always because he was having a sexy dream. In all truth, it doesn’t just happen to men, but women don’t notice their own nocturnal reactions because let’s be honest, it’s just not as visible. So what is morning wood? Why does it happen at all? Let’s take a look at the fun science behind that surprise stiffy.
As it turns out, there’s even a scientific term for the early ‘arousal’ that half of the world’s population has to deal with on a regular basis. Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) isn’t a disease or an affliction; it’s the spontaneous erections that happen while a man’s asleep or just waking up. Ever wake up in the middle of the night and he’s cuddling up to you with that suspicious prodding in your back? Guess what? It happens three to five times during sleep and it actually starts all the way back in utero. That’s right; even developing fetuses have erections, and it’s not just men that have them. Due to the way the human fetus develops, the penis and the clitoris are made of the same tissue. Women actually get clitoral erections during sleep.
So why does it happen? We know it’s normal, we know it happens to every man, but why? Scientists still haven’t landed on a concrete reason, but there are theories out there that have nothing to do with him thinking about Miss September as he’s waking up. One of them actually has to do with his bladder. That’s right- a man’s bladder is attached to the same nerves that create reflex erections. A full bladder tickles those nerves and the reflex can cause an involuntary erection. A variation on that theory says that it prevents nocturnal enuresis- the scientific term for bed wetting- but the body has a number of mechanisms to prevent waking up to a damp mattress.
Another theory has to do with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the portion of the sleep cycle with dreams. This is where the idea of ‘wet dreams’ comes in, because REM sleep involves those lifelike mental experiences that the subconscious dredges up. Miss September might appear in these dreams, but it’s no indication he’s looking to cheat. It’s just part of how the brain functions during the sleep cycle. There are also neurological reflexes that are stimulated during REM sleep, and because of REM sleep being the last part of a sleep cycle, a bit of morning wood can just be the lingering physical effects of a good dream. Take heart, ladies! It’s nothing he has control over and it happens to every man in the world while also increasing blood flow and maintaining oxygenated tissues. His morning wood is a sign of a man’s body working to keep itself healthy and ready to fulfill whatever fun things are on the schedule for the day or night!