Do guys get boners when they poop? That might not be something you've been losing sleep over (and if you have, no judgment here). But it's the kind of thing that, well, a lot of people are asking about, thanks to a viral post that claims this is actually true.
The whole boner/poop question started with a TikTok video that's so far racked up an astounding 2.3 million views and counting. The clip shows user Brandon Ball making a thumbs up, with the caption, "Wait til girls find out that guys get bonners (sic) when they poop."
Yep, that's it (though we wish he spelled "boner" correctly, but that's beside the point). So we clearly need more information—namely, is this actually a thing, and if so, why?
Well, Ball isn't the only TikTokker to have experienced a boner when he's on the toilet. User @leahashlie asked her boyfriend, and he admitted that it happens to him.
The expert verdict: It definitely can happen, according to Jesse N. Mills, MD, associate clinical professor of urology and director of The Men's Clinic at University of California Los Angeles. "Men can get erections during bowel movements, because the pressure it takes to push out stool increases blood flow through the penis," he tells Health.
Nobody really knows how typical this is—probably because it's not the sort of thing people talk about. (Except on TikTok, obviously.) But why would it happen? Dr. Mills calls it a "vascular phenomenon." The vascular system, also known as the circulatory system, consists of vessels that carry blood and fluid through the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and removing tissue waste matter.
Mike Bohl MD, MPH, from the digital men's health clinic Roman, also says guys can get hard while going number two.
"Anatomically speaking, there is no reason a person can’t have an erection and a bowel movement at the same time," Dr. Bohl tells Health. "In fact, getting an erection and having a bowel movement use the same part of the nervous system—the parasympathetic nervous system." The parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes called the “rest and digest” or “feed and breed” system and controls functions such as sexual arousal, digestion, defecation, and the production of saliva and tears, he explains.
Dr. Bohl attributes the possibility of a boner during pooping to a few different causes. "The first reason could be timing. There’s actually a wide range when it comes to how often people have bowel movements—anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is often considered 'normal,'" he explains. "So if you’re one of the people who goes multiple times a day, there’s an increased chance you’ll get an erection at the same time." This is even more likely if you have bowel movements first thing after waking in the morning, when guys typically experience "morning wood."
Another reason? A wandering mind. "Many people consider having a bowel movement a peaceful, isolated time," says Dr. Bohl. "If you’re sitting there for a long time and letting your mind wander—and your mind starts thinking about arousing topics—you may find yourself with an erection."
As icky as it sounds, don't discount the fact that some people may find the act of having a bowel movement, itself, to be arousing, continues Dr. Bohl, who adds that "the prostate gland sits very close to the rectum inside the body. And massaging or otherwise stimulating the prostate gland can be pleasurable for some men. Depending on the bowel movement, the position the person is sitting in, and how sensitive the person is to prostate stimulation, having a bowel movement could result in sexual arousal and an erection."
In addition, getting a boner while pooping might be related to a sexual fetish centered around feces. "This type of fetish is called coprophilia," says Dr. Bohl.
Both doctors say that getting a boner while pooping isn't dangerous, nor is it clinically significant. In other words, if it happens to you, there's no need to make an appointment with your doctor. Getting an occasional boner while going number two is just one of those weird and wonderful things our bodies can do.
"However, if it’s interfering with your daily life, you should speak to a health care provider," suggests Dr. Bohl.
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