Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
If you’ve ever struggled to get an erection, you might think about what’s considered a normal erection and what’s not. Or maybe you’ve wondered, “how many times a day do guys get hard?”
Just as every guy is different, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how many times a day guys get hard. Many different factors go into how often men get erections and the different types of erections they get.
We’ll answer the question of how many times guys get hard in a day, as well as explain what that number says about erectile health.
Erections might seem pretty straightforward but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. And learning how many times a day guys get hard requires some background information on erectile function.
An erection is a process that occurs when you feel sexual arousal, which usually begins with physical or mental stimulation. When you see your partner’s body or feel their touch, or watch pornography or other sexually explicit material, you might feel sexual arousal.
This causes sexual stimulation and sets off an internal process involving the nervous system, as well as the cardiovascular system.
When you’re sexually stimulated, nerves inside the penis release naturally-occurring chemicals called neurotransmitters that communicate with nerve cells in your body. These neurotransmitters cause blood vessels to relax and widen, allowing increased blood flow to the erectile tissue inside your penis.
This increased blood flow, combined with chemical communication and smooth muscle contractions, raises the blood pressure in your penis. This allows your penis to get hard enough for penetrative sex — and stay that way during sexual activity.
After you’ve reached an orgasm and ejaculated — or if you no longer feel sexual arousal — veins increase in size to allow blood to flow out of the penis. The penis then relaxes and softens, although it’s not unusual for an erection to last a bit after ejaculation.
The average erection lasts for almost six minutes, as noted by a 2009 study involving nearly 500 men. The study also found the amount of time between initial vaginal penetration and intravaginal ejaculation lasted anywhere from six seconds to more than 52 minutes.
So, how many times do guys get hard each day? The way erections work may be straightforward, but the answer to this question isn’t. Some people with a penis may have multiple erections a day. Others may not have any. The number can also vary day by day for each person.
Many erections are caused by sexual arousal or physical stimulation, although some can occur without any sexual stimulation and be seemingly random. There are even different types of erections, each caused by different factors.
A psychogenic erection, for example, is caused by mental stimulation, while a reflexogenic erection is caused by physical stimulation or touch. Nocturnal erections — AKA morning wood — are erections that commonly occur throughout the night.
Nighttime erections can happen three to five times a night on average, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine. Other studies have found men to get a similar range of three to six erections at night.
These nighttime erections are very normal and are even a reliable indicator that your body is physically capable of getting an erection.
But you don’t need to worry if you’re not getting random erections during the daytime. Not only would these be a bit distracting, but in fact, erections when you’re awake only happen when there’s sexual stimulation or arousal.
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Or, what if you want to get more erections? There’s no set number of erections a guy should get each day — and your own number can vary on different days — but you might still feel like you’re having fewer than the normal amount.
If you’re struggling to get hard enough or maintain a firm enough erection for penetrative sex, this is a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is common and nothing to be ashamed about — anywhere from 30 to 50 million men in the U.S. alone are affected — it can be distressing.
Many factors, from lifestyle choices to medical conditions, can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including:
Weight or obesity
Side effects of medications like antidepressants
The good news is that there are ways you can still get an erection even if you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction.
Sildenafil. The active ingredient in Viagra®, sildenafil is one of the most common erectile dysfunction treatments available. This drug, which is in a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors (phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors), works by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue and making it easier for you to get hard.
Tadalafil. Providing similar effects to sildenafil, tadalafil (Cialis®) is one of the longest-lasting ED drugs on the market. Tadalafil is also a PDE5 inhibitor and helps allow blood flow for an erect penis.
Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, another type of PDE5 inhibitor, vardenafil works similarly to tadalafil and sildenafil. Also like with those two drugs (and many other medications), you can experience side effects of vardenafil.
There are also certain lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Keeping an active lifestyle is important for cardiovascular health, which can help your sexual health as well. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important, as obesity is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction. The use of illicit drugs or recreational drugs can also affect your sexual function.
How many times a day do guys get hard? There’s not a straightforward answer to this question. How often a guy gets hard each day can vary, not only by the day but by other factors, including lifestyle, age, health and more.
Of course, if you’re not getting as hard as often as you’d like, you might be dealing with erectile dysfunction. There are ways to deal with ED, from medication to therapy and more. Our guide to naturally protecting your erection shares techniques that you can use to improve your sexual performance naturally. There could also be psychological causes of ED as well, which a mental health professional can help with.
Keep in mind, there’s no hard number for how many times a day guys typically get hard. But if you feel like your number is lower than usual, talking with your healthcare provider is a good place to start.