How To Get Rid Of An Erection

Erections are a natural part of male arousal. However, when you’re in a situation or environment that doesn’t call for an erection, an unwanted erection can be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and downright embarrassing. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what causes erections, why random erections happen, and six ways to stop an erection. 

Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Erectile dysfunction, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What causes an erection?

During normal day-to-day activities, the penis remains flaccid. Erections¹ can occur randomly or during sexual arousal, which causes blood to rush to the penis. The muscles responsible for this reaction are the corpora cavernosa, a pair of structures that are spongy and cylindrical in shape.

When sexual arousal occurs, or during spontaneous erections, nerve signals trigger an increase in blood flow to the corpora cavernosa. This sudden flush of blood is responsible for lengthening and stiffening the penis, causing an erection. 

Why do random erections happen?

A random — or spontaneous — erection is an erection that happens without any sexual stimulation. Random erections can happen to men across all age groups, and they’re actually common in early puberty. While it may seem abnormal, this type of erection often indicates healthy development and sexual function. 

  • Nocturnal erections usually happen at night or early in the morning while the person is asleep and are associated with REM sleep²

  • Reflexogenic erections occur in response to touch

  • Psychogenic erections happen when a person has arousing and sexual thoughts

How do you stop an unwanted erection?

Getting an erection at an unwanted time can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are several tried and tested ways to stop an erection without therapy or medications.

1. Distraction

Since sexual response (leading to unwanted erections) can be enhanced by anxious thoughts or emotions, distraction may be a powerful tool in getting rid of an erection. Try calling a friend, doing a puzzle, reading a book, or watching something funny on TV. 

Sometimes, the more you think about an erection, the worse it gets. Getting your mind off it can be a good first step. 

2. Meditation

Meditation involves long and slow breaths. Regulating your breathing may help clear your mind by reducing stress and anxiety. A reduction in anxiety may help prevent erectile dysfunction.³ However, more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of meditation in combating an unwanted erection.

The practice of meditation is free, and there are many free and inexpensive online resources to guide you in your training. One beginner-friendly method is to focus on the sound of your breath, acknowledge arousing thoughts, and set them free by refocusing on breathing when your mind wanders.

3. Waiting calmly

One of the easiest ways to get rid of an unwanted erection is to wait calmly for it to go away. Breathing slowly and calmly can help. 

4. Repositioning

Certain positions can stimulate the penis, especially if it’s touching the fabric. Changing your sitting or standing positions can help hide an unwanted erection. Make sure nothing is touching or brushing against the penis if the situation permits.

5. Showers and baths

A shower or bath in cold water can help eliminate an unwanted erection. While the effects of cold water on an erection have not been thoroughly investigated, cold water immersion can help decrease cerebral blood flow,⁴ which may reduce blood flow to the penis. However, more research is required to make any conclusive claims. 

If you can’t stand the thought of a cold shower or bath, you can also take advantage of the relaxing properties of the warm water to relax your body and brain to get rid of an erection. (Perhaps you could try meditating in a hot shower.)

6. Gentle exercise

For some people, gentle exercise serves as a distraction and can help get rid of an unwanted erection. For example, try power walking, light jogging, or a leisurely bike ride around the park.

On the other hand, if you have a different type of erectile dysfunction and struggle to get or maintain an erection, aerobic exercise⁵ can boost healthy erectile performance and overall penis health.

When should you see a doctor for erection problems?

While you shouldn’t worry about the occasional unprompted erection, if it causes significant anxiety, impairs your daily routine, or affects your sex life, it may be time to seek professional help.

Start by scheduling an appointment with your primary healthcare provider. If your erection problems require additional expertise, they may refer you to a specialized doctor, like an endocrinologist who deals with hormonal issues or a urologist who deals with male genital problems.

They may also ask if you’re currently taking any medications that could contribute to prolonged erections.

You should see your healthcare provider whenever something feels “off,” but it’s especially important to seek guidance when something begins to affect your quality of life. Erections that last longer for more than a few hours can be a cause for concern. If you have a persistent erection, it’s better to be safe than sorry — schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

The lowdown

Erections are normal, but getting an unwanted one can be unpleasant. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent and get rid of random erections, including meditation and cold showers.

If unwanted erections are prolonged, or frequent, or prevent you from partaking in normal daily activities, it’s a good idea to see a healthcare provider who can help you understand what’s causing them and how to stop them.

Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Erectile dysfunction, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

Do you want to know if there are any Erectile dysfunction clinical trials you might be eligible for?
Have you taken medication for Erectile dysfunction?
Have you been diagnosed with Erectile dysfunction?


Join our email list

Want all the latest clinical trial and HealthMatch news in your inbox? We thought you might! Sign up below.