The first erection.
It is common for newborn babies to get an erection. Even before the moment of birth, ultrasound scans have shown fetuses with fully formed erections (Sherer et al., 1990). According to one study, fetal erections occur mostly during REM sleep (Koyanagi et al., 1991). And, they can happen a number of times each hour (Shirozu et al., 1995).
The phenomenon of fetal erection has actually been recognized for about four decades (Hitchcock et al., 1980; Welder, 1981). Advancements in technology made it possible to demonstrate its occurrence even before the 16th week of gestation (Chamberlain, 1996).
Its thought that fetal penile erections are evidence of appropriate genital development and adequate hormonal and neurogenic supply. Therefore the occurrence of erection may be a positive sign of fetal well being (Jacokovitis, 2004).
The final erection.
Not only can you get erections in the womb, but you can also get an erection when you die. These death erections, also called angel lust or terminal erections, most commonly occur in men who have died from hanging, whether by execution or suicide (Byard, 1994).
As early as the mid-nineteenth century, observations were made of a more or less complete state of erection of the penis, with discharge of urine, mucus or prostatic fluid present in one of three cases of hanging (Guy, 1861). Erections sometimes occur after spinal cord injuries, with pessure on the cerebellum supposedly accounting for this (Gould & Pyle, 1900).
According to Kaplan and Horwith (1983), there is ample experimental and clinical evidence to support the idea that erections occur during hanging due to the central inhibition of erection being released.
The human body is fascinating and erections are a so much more than simple indicators of arousal.