BuzzFeed Turns 10 Erection Facts Into Viral Hit

Discussions about sexual health are much more open than they used to be.
Discussions about sexual health are much more open than they used to be.
BuzzFeed, online champion of clickable list-making, isn’t shy about discussing the penis.

Not long ago, the site produced a video with the subtle title “10 Boner Facts That Are Too Hard To Handle.” While the post was obviously designed to generate web traffic, it presented information that may be of interest to men who experience erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to achieve and sustain an erection strong enough for sexual activity.

Around 5% of men age 40 experience ED on a long term basis, and from 15% to 25% of men in their mid-sixties experience persistent ED. Occasional failure to achieve an erection is much more common, and can be caused by any number of factors, some of which are easy to identify (such as consuming too much alcohol). When erection problems occur less than 20% of the time, treatment is not usually needed, but when problems occur more than half the time, it’s a good indication that the problem is ED, a problem that can be successfully treated medically.

Here are some of the facts presented in the BuzzFeed video, and how they are relevant to men who experience ED.

There Are Multiple Types of Erections

There are three basic types of erections. Reflexogenic erections happen due to physical contact, while psychogenic erections occur due to sexual fantasies. Nocturnal erections happen during certain phases of the sleep cycle. On a strictly physical level, erections occur when there is more blood flow into the penis than out of it, and it is the physical process of erection that ED medications address.

Men Have Several Erections While Awake and While Asleep

According to the video, men (age not specified) experience around 11 erections during waking hours and three to five while asleep, on average. In other words, erections are perfectly normal and part of being male. In fact, erections start very early on. Fetuses as young as 16 weeks of development have been found to experience erections in utero, according to the video.

Certain Scents Have Been Found to Increase Blood Flow to the Penis

A 1995 Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation study somehow discovered that the combined smell of donuts and black licorice increased blood flow to the penis by 32%. Dr. Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Foundation studied the effect of different smells on male arousal and found that the smell of baked cinnamon rolls increased arousal in male medical students.

He later combined smells and found that the combination of pumpkin pie and lavender increased arousal the most – 40%. Other unusual findings included a stronger response to vanilla scent in older versus younger men, a stronger response to the scent of strawberries among men with satisfying sex lives, and men with the most active sex lives responding most strongly to the scents of lavender, Oriental spice, and cola. Interestingly, none of the scents Hirsch tried diminished male arousal.

The Average Erection Requires Around 130 ml of Blood

On average, the flow of 130 milliliters of blood to the penis is required to produce an erection. This is the equivalent of just over 4 oz., or half a cup. It is exactly this blood flow that ED medications like Viagra address. By inhibiting the action of an enzyme called PDE-5, Viagra and other drugs in the same class allow blood vessel walls to relax so more blood can flow into the penis, allowing an erection in the presence of sexual stimulation.

Smoking Increases Risk of Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking isn’t only bad for your lungs. It can be bad for your sex life as well.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for the lungs, but not everyone knows that smoking is bad for erection health. By constricting small blood vessels, smoking makes blood flow to the penis more restricted. Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to experience ED, and ED is one more reason doctors advise their patients to kick the habit.

Regular Sex Can Help Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

A Finnish study published in 2011 found that regular sexual activity can help prevent ED as men get older. The study followed nearly 1,000 men (mean age 59.2 years) for five years and had them answer questions about erection difficulties. When the study began, none of the men had erection difficulties. After five years, the men who reported having sex less than once per week were two times as likely to experience erection problems as men who had more regular sex. There was some question as to cause and effect in this study (Did men who had more sex not get ED, or did men who did not get ED have more sex?), but however influences and effects played out, a more active sex life was considered a net positive.

You Don’t Have to Be Reluctant to Discuss ED

One has to wonder whether articles about erections like the one published by BuzzFeed would have been possible were it not for drugs like Viagra and their role in making the topic of ED more acceptable. Before PDE-5 inhibitor drugs, ED wasn’t talked about much, and men were more likely to believe that they had a rare problem or that it was all in their mind.

Today we know that ED is in most cases a physiological problem related to the simple hydraulics of the penis, and that allowing better blood flow can correct ED in millions of men. If you’re worried whether erection problems are significant enough to qualify as ED, go ahead and ask a doctor. Sexual health is today considered an important component of overall well-being, and with today’s options for treating ED, there’s simply no reason for men to suffer in silence.


Today’s society is more open to talking about intimate parts of life like sexual activity, and ED is no longer viewed as a rare disorder. Much more is known about what causes ED and how to treat it, and tens of millions of men worldwide have been helped by drugs like Viagra. At, we have worked with US-licensed pharmacists for over 15 years to deliver genuine Viagra, Levitra, and other lifestyle medications to over half a million satisfied customers. is strongly committed to outstanding customer experience, privacy, and the highest standards for online security.

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