The effects of testosterone replacement on nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity and erectile response to visual erotic stimuli in hypogonadal men (1995)

Comments: This study and others say that nighttime erections are dependent on testosterone, but day time erections- are largely androgen independent. Which means day time erections involve a different system – the brain and dopamine. They gave hypogonadal men (low T) testosterone replacement and it increased night time erections , but didn’t make a big difference when watching porn or erectile response to visual erotic stimuli (VES).

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1995;20(7):743-53.

Carani C, Granata AR, Bancroft J, Marrama P.


Department of Endocrinology, Modena, Italy.


Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) and erectile response to visual erotic stimuli (VES) were measured, by means of a Rigiscan device, in nine hypogonadal men, and repeated after 3 months of androgen replacement. The same assessments were carried out once in 12 eugonadal controls. The number of satisfactory NPT responses, in terms of both circumference increase and rigidity, were less in the hypogonadal men than the controls and were significantly increased by androgen replacement, confirming the results of earlier studies. In terms of circumference increase, erectile response to VES did not differ between the hypogonadal men and the controls, and did not increase with androgen replacement. In terms of rigidity, the erectile response to VES did not differ between hypogonadal men and controls. However, in terms of both duration and maximum level of rigidity, there was a significant increase following androgen replacement in the hypogonadal men. These new findings, in relation to rigidity, require a modification of the earlier formulation, which saw NPT as androgen dependent and erectile response to VES as androgen independent. NPT, and possibly spontaneous erections at other times, clearly involve an androgen sensitive system. Erectile response to VES predominantly involves an androgen independent system but may also be influenced by androgen sensitive mechanisms.