Beginning with sexual arousal, a stimulation signal is triggered and a series of nerve chain reactions cascade into the production of nitric oxide, a vital molecule that is present throughout our body’s cells, including penile tissue.
The importance of nitric oxide in an erection and its rigidity: Nitric oxide, specific to erectile function, is a key driver in dilating, or relaxing your penile arteries. The penile arteries are responsible for the in-flow of blood to your penile body or shafts, also known as the Corpora cavernosa, ideally leading to a rigid penile erection. The quality and volume of your arterial blood flow determines to a large degree the rigidity of your erection.
The process of subsiding the erection, or “deflating” the erection (also known as detumescence): After sexual arousal and stimulation signals are triggered and nerves stimulate nitric oxide production, dilating, or relaxing, your penile arteries, and once sexual engagement is complete and stimulation subsides, there is a natural process to bring your penile blood flow to normal levels, called detumescence. This occurs through a process that primarily involves an enzyme, known as Phosphodiesterase type 5 (also known as PDE5), and your veins, which help drain the blood out of your penis and back into your body’s circulation.
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