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DOCTOR'S ADVICE - Is a morning erection normal?

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
  • Is a morning erection normal?

Q. Hi, Doc. I am a teenage boy, and an awful thing has just happened to me. So please advise. I wake up some mornings with an erection. Is that normal? I think that some of my friends have said that the same thing happens to them, but I am not sure.

Well, last week I woke up on Saturday morning with my usual erection. I thought that there was no one in the house, so I left my bedroom with no clothes on, and started to walk towards the shower. Halfway there, my mother and her new fiancé suddenly came round the corner. They took one look at my erection and sort of gasped, and both hastily turned round and headed for the kitchen.

Doctor, I was so embarrassed. I went in to the shower, and stayed there till the erection went down. Then I got dressed and quickly went out to play football with my friends. When I got home, nobody said anything about it, though I thought my mother looked disapprovingly. Her boyfriend just grinned at me, and winked. Unfortunately, Doc, I have no father to turn to. He passed away some years ago. So can you tell me what to do? Should I apologise? And am I abnormal?

A No, you are not abnormal. And you need not apologise. The great majority of young men get what are termed 'morning erections'. And so do many older ones. Indeed, the famous sex researcher Dr Alfred Kinsey found that on average, guys of your age experience 1.4 morning erections per week, or almost six a month.

Now, what happened that Saturday was, of course, embarrassing for everybody - and especially for you. But those two adults must be well aware that male teenagers do have frequent erections, and that young guys mostly have no control over when this phenomenon happens. And your mother's fiancé must remember that he used to get regular morning erections - and maybe still does.

So they have nothing to criticise you for, except maybe the fact that you could have draped a towel round you before stepping out of your bedroom. But really, this was no big deal, and I imagine that they will soon forget about it. As for you, if you talk to your friends, you will find that many of them have had rather similar experiences to your own. In years to come, you will look back on this and just laugh about it!

  • Long menses ok?

Q I am 19, and I am getting menses that last 12 days, Doc. Then they start again around two weeks later. Is this OK?

A. No, it isn't. Twelve days is far, far too long for a period. Obviously, these menses must be interfering with your life. And if things continue like this, you will soon get anaemic, owing to excessive loss of blood. So you must go to a doctor soon. Please take with you a sheet of paper on which you have written down the dates of your recent periods. That will help her to assess your situation. I have not the slightest doubt that she will be able to sort things out fast, and to give you medication which will ensure that you have short, light, regular menses from now on.

  • Injured foreskin

Q. Last week, I caught my foreskin in my zip fastener, Doc. It is still bleeding. Will this affect my sex life?

A. No. But you should not have sex (even masturbation) until you have seen a doctor and had this injury checked out. My forecast: probably everything will have healed up within a couple of weeks.

  • Will abortion make her sterile?

Q.l Three years ago, when I was 16, I had an abortion. I am deeply ashamed of this, Doc. But do you think I will ever be able to have children? Or has the abortion made me a 'mule'?

A. Well, abortions do not usually make women sterile. If that termination was carried out by a doctor, under proper, clean, sterile conditions, then there is virtually no chance that it has made you a 'mule'.

However, what are called 'back-street abortions', which are performed by unqualified people, are a different matter. Often, they introduce germs into the female's body. And sometimes that sets up a bad infection. This can indeed block the woman's tubes and make her sterile. But from what you say, I feel that the odds are that you will be OK, and will be able to have children. If you need further reassurance, please ask a doctor to check you out.

  • Clear fluid issues

Q I am a guy of 17, and I have had sex a few times, Doc. Well, on nights when I have been sexually excited, but have not climaxed, I often find that there is clear moisture dripping from the end of my organ. Is this a sign of VD, as I have heard?

ANo, it isn't. Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) do often cause a liquid discharge (yellowish or white) from the tip of the penis. But that is not what you are describing. What you have noticed is a normal phenomenon which most young men get when they have been sexually excited, but have not orgasmed. The liquid is called pre-ejaculate, and it is just a normal secretion from some of the glands located up the urinary tract. So quit fretting.

  • I kissed a girl and I liked it

Q. I am 18, and female. Last week, at a dance, I kissed another girl on the lips. We were just having fun and making our friends laugh.  But to my alarm, Doc, I found that I enjoyed it. I actually got quite sexually excited. So do you think I am going to be a lesbian?

A. I doubt it. It has been shown that many young women get a little thrill out of kissing other girls. This has been termed 'lipstick lesbianism'. However, the vast majority of these young ladies eventually grow up to be 'straight', i.e., heterosexual. So I do not think you need to worry about this experience at all.

  • Double date drama

QI am a guy of 18. Until last week, I was a 'male virgin'. Then a friend of mine and I took two pretty girls out on a double date. Everybody had a few drinks, and things got quite raunchy. The final result, Doc, was that each of us had one girl, and then we swapped over. So I finished the night by having had sex with both young ladies. My question is this. Could what happened give me a sexual disease?

A. Yes, it certainly could. In general, having two ladies in one evening doubles your chance of getting a sex infection. However, if the two girls and your friend were all free of infection, then you have nothing to worry about. But let us hope that neither of the young women gets pregnant! In future, please try to avoid sex when under the influence of alcohol.

Email questions to Doc at and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.