Does Morning Wood Stop When You Get Older?

Morning wood is a phenomenon that usually occurs during the morning when you wake up with an erection. It is also termed Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT), which is experienced by all men irrespective of their age, although this experience is more common among younger men as it becomes less frequent as men age. This may not occur due to sexual arousal in the dream state, instead, it is a natural response of the male reproductive system.  

How does morning wood occur?   

Morning woods are the erections that happen in the morning while the person is not fully awake yet. The erections may occur suddenly in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours in the sleep state. Men regardless of age, may often wake up with an erect penile that has not occurred because of deliberate sexual stimulation.

According to the experts, the stimulation of the sacral nerve might be the factor promoting morning erections. Generally, when you are about to wake up from the sleep state, your bladder is full, which might exert too much pressure on your sacral nerve. This increased pressure further leads to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system that triggers morning wood. Sometimes men might also experience a nighttime erection in the sleep which usually happens because of any kind of sexual stimulation. 

Anatomy and Physiology of Morning Wood  

An erection is attained when the blood vessels of the penile increase the supply of blood inside the erectile tissues. For a healthy erection function, the blood flow inside the penile must increase. For that, vasodilation happens, and as a result, the blood vessels attain complete relaxation and thus, the expansion of blood happens inside the penile.

The erection function happens as a result of a response from the parasympathetic nerves, which initiate the release of a neurotransmitter chemical known as nitric oxide (NO) in the endothelial walls of the penile blood vessels. NO increases the relaxation of the blood vessels and expands their passages to allow more blood flow inside.

Besides, testosterone, which is the male sex hormone, is essential for sexual arousal, sex drive, and sexual function. Its levels in the body are usually high, when the person is asleep, which is why they may experience morning wood. Apart from that, some neurological changes happening during the sleep state also lead to morning wood.   

How common is it?  

The occurrence of morning woods is very frequent and noticeable in younger males. One of the major reasons behind it is hormonal fluctuations, happening during sleep, specifically during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. With an increase in age, males may get morning woods less frequently. In the case of older men, even if they continue to experience this phenomenon, they still may not get harder erections.

In case of occasional failures to get morning woods, it might not necessarily be an indication of some health problem related to sexual health or health in general. However, if you frequently experience a failure to get morning woods then this might be a matter of concern. You might as well be having issues with your sexual function and might have developed erectile dysfunction (ED).

Problems with erection function may arise because of various reasons such as underlying health conditions, lifestyle factors, medications, injuries, and so on. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction or impotence problems, then it is better to consult with a healthcare professional. They will suggest you get some diagnostic tests to identify the root cause of impotence issues and based on that, they will prescribe some effective remedy.   

Factors contributing to morning woods

  • Hormonal fluctuations – In males, the primary hormone that regulates the reproductive system is testosterone. The level of these hormones is at its peak during the younger age, but with age, the levels of it decline gradually. Which is why, older men might not experience morning woods.
  • Chronic health conditions – Conditions such as heart disease, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, diabetes, etc. can impair the erection function, as a result, such individuals might not experience morning woods.
  • Psychological factors – Stress, anxiety, depression, etc. can interfere with the functions of the body including erections.
  • Medications – The side effects of certain medications can impact the erection function, which is why some men might not experience morning woods.

As males get older, they start experiencing multiple issues that are listed above. All these factors can individually impact their ability to get stronger erections. The difficulty may progress gradually.       

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