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You Asked It: Boner Bonanza

I’m 13 years old, and recently I’ve started randomly getting hard throughout the day. It’s really embarrassing, and I’m so confused. Am I getting turned on without realizing it? How can I make them stop?

Great question! The good news is that what you’re experiencing is totally normal. When people with testes go through puberty, their bodies start releasing the hormone testosterone, which triggers a number of changes in their body. These include a deepening voice, growth spurt, growing penis and testicles, and hair growth under your arms, on your face, and in your pubic region.

Testosterone also causes frequent, random (and often unwelcome!) erections. Erections occur when blood fills the sponge-like tissue in the penis, making it stiffen or become “hard.” While erections often occur when you’re turned on (or aroused), they also happen randomly—especially during puberty. It’s common for people going through puberty to get several erections throughout the day. These can be completely random, or caused by things like a change in temperature, friction from your underwear, or vibrations from a moving car.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to make them stop. As you go through puberty and your body gets used to the testosterone, you’ll stop having (or at least get significantly fewer) random erections. In the meantime, know that you’re not the only one having a (ahem) hard time with this. Usually, erections will go away relatively quickly on their own. You don’t need to orgasm (or come) in order to get rid of them.

Know that your erection is probably not as obvious to other people as you think it is. While you wait for it to go away, you can cover it by holding a binder or book, discreetly pulling your shirt down to cover yourself, or covering your lap with a sweater. Wearing jeans instead of sweatpants or khakis may make your erection less obvious, since denim is usually thicker and pulled a bit tighter across your lap. Until your erection goes away, concentrate on another task and try to not fixate on your penis.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the changes your body is going through, stop by Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for a free, confidential appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist.

ABOUT YOU ASKED IT

You’ve got questions.  We’ve got answers. At the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, we answer a lot of questions. Topics range from nutrition to pregnancy prevention, and everything in between. Now, we’re bringing these questions back to you with our new weekly advice column, You Asked It. Got a question? Holler at us in the comments, send us a message on FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or email us at teenhealthcareorg@gmail.com.

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