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Erection shape, curvature, angle and hardness are all things most men would have worried about at some stage. I used to stress that my erection curves/twists ever so slightly to the left, before I realised that many men have far more exagerated curvature of their erections, left, right, up or even down and their penises function perfectly sexually. Actually my penises slight twist is very minor, it's almost completely straight.

I also remember worrying that my erection didn't stand up high enough, probably after seeing some pornographic material depicting erect penises held almost vertically, against the body. When everythings going smoothly and I'm very aroused my penis sits at about 35º above horizontal, which I now understand is well within the range considered average.

It's very common for penises to be horizontal or below horizontal when erect. As long as there is sufficient firmness to facilitate sexual activity all these variations are normal and healthy.

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There does seem to be an expectation with some people that an erection should curve upwards, commonly called a 'u' curve. Surveys suggest that the 'u' curve shape is more common than straight or downward curving penises, called 'n' curve. In addition, more penises curve to the left than to the right, for which there is currently no good explanation.

At times in my life where I've suffered from depression and anxiety my erections have been less hard and held at a lower angle. This can be very distressing, not to mention further depressing and it's easy to see how people in such situations might find themselves in a downward spiral.


In its maximum engorged state my penis is very hard and springy and the glans are very firm and glossy. My girlfriend has nicknamed this high state of sexual arousal 'Mr. Super Stiffy', which we both find humorous and very sexy.

I notice that at certain times, for instance when masturbating in a comfortable warm position I can be pleasantly aroused, masturbate easily and achieve orgasm without my erection reaching anything like its potentional stiffness.

Conversely when having sex with my partner or having her conduct oral or manual sex on me, or when I'm very aroused my penis is much harder. This kind of variation is quite normal, in fact it's widely accepted that a man my reach orgasm and ejaculate without becoming completely erect.

Clearly erection is not an absolute prerequisite sexual activity and less emphasis placed on getting and keeping an erection would probably make sex more enjoyable for everyone involved. Society does place pressure on men to 'function' and many women are less than supportive if a man is having difficulty becoming erect. This is in my opinion a double standard considering a woman having trouble reaching orgasm is rarely subject to such castigation.

The main issue surrounding erections is the inherent variability due to the tight link with psychological factors, emotional state, stress/anxiety levels and intensity of arousal stimuli relative to these negatively impacting factors.

My advice to any man who feels he is subject to this kind of ostracism from a woman is to walk away and not look back. If she is that insensitive she's simply not worth your time.




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Progression of the erection process, Flash animation (852kb)




Further reading.

I highly recommend as an excellent online resource for all things erection related. The section entitled 'Research' is thorough and clear and examines other sources of sexual statisitcs against their own findings in a balanced and informative fashion. The site contains lots of photographs of erect penises highlighting the vast variety of shape, form and size. is a website where men can post pictures of their penis and receive comments from other interested men and women. There is a huge diversity of shapes and sizes represented on this site and for the most part a positive and supportive attitude towards variation from the people present.



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