"If men could control their dicks, do you think we would wake up every morning hard? Do you think I wanna deal with that in the morning? No, I just wanna get some coffee, read the newspaper."
— Franklyn Ajaye
An erection isn't always wanted, or even the result of sexual arousal. Such a "Raging Stiffie" may not be erotic, but it is a staple of comedic fiction.
Common causes of an unwanted or unexpected erection prevalent in fiction include:
- Overactive hormones: An unwanted erection with no or minimal stimulation is a fairly common (although hardly universal) side effect of being a male in real life. In fiction, sufficient reliance on Refuge in Audacity or a sufficiently adult target audience enables this trope, allowing for comedic consequences and an exploration of "coming of age" issues.
- "Morning Wood": In real life, some males often wake up with an erection, particularly if warm. In fiction, any treatment of this inevitably degenerates into seriously off-color comedy. The correct medical term for this is nocturnal penile tumescence.
- Viagra: This wonder drug does have the comedic effect of inducing erections that last a long time even if they are unwanted and the situation is inappropriate.
Most of the time this is Played for Laughs
, and doesn't last longer than a few minutes. However, the condition known as priapism (prolonged erection) is dangerous
, and can lead to penile amputation
. That's why Viagra commercials tell you to "seek immediate medical attention if an erection lasts for more than four hours."
Just as a point of note, men have erections from the time they are infants. In fact, a male has his first erection inside the womb. (Baby and fetus girls do the same.) Unfortunately, since Most Fanfic Writers Are Female
, it's not an uncommon trope for a male character just on the cusp of puberty to be "shocked" that his penis has suddenly become rigid. This would not shock any male. What shocks males is that it's now happening so often
and at the wrong time.
Of course, actual penile ejaculation doesn't occur until within the first year of puberty, so young boys being "shocked" about nocturnal emission isn't so far outside the realm of probability.
Contrast The Loins Sleep Tonight
. See also Something Else Also Rises
. Compare Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
, which has more erotic undertones than this trope. May be caused by a Potty Emergency
, or vice versa. Jizzed in My Pants
is this trope taken to eleven.
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Anime & Manga
For sneaky instances in manga, look for the Unsound Effect
"kin kin kin" combined with any degree of blushing or nervousness.
- Causes a problem for Thugboy when he is sharing a bed with Ninjette in Empowered.
- The Boys features a Russian super named "Love Sausage''. He runs into a topless bar and is incapacitated because he can't run straight with a massive erection.
- In the National Lampoon comic strip Timberland Tales by B.K. Taylor, Maurice the little Canadian-Indian boy inadvertently sees Kathleen in the shower and gets a sudden erection - he panics and cries out "'Alp! Some kind animal in Maurice's pants!"
- New 52: Blue Beetle gets one when he meets Red Lantern Bleez. He gets embarrassed and unsuccessfully claims that the stiffie is just part of his armor.
- In Nightwing Annual #2, a flashback to Robin's and Batgirl's teenage years showed them trapped in a safe together, with Batgirl's Sensual Spandex causing some problems for Robin. When Batman gets them out, Robin hunches over and holds his cape in front of him, prompting Batman to ask if he's okay.
- When Charlie Sheen's character came Back for the Dead in Scary Movie 4 this was part of his death. He accidentally swallows a whole container of Viagra in a failed attempt to overdose. His penis inflates to ridiculous proportions and he throws himself out of a window, landing face down, with his hips nowhere near the floor.
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
Veronica: Mr. Burgundy, you have a massive erection.
Ron: Really?... Yes, I do... Um, I'm sorry, it's the... it's the pleats. It's actually an optical illusion. It's the pattern on the pants. It's not flattering in the crotchal region. I'm actually taking them back right now. Taking them back to the pants store... Oh, this is awkward... I'm gonna walk... I'm gonna walk this situation off... and I will see you later... Nothing to look at... Go back to work, everyone... Don't act like you're not impressed.
- The title character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin twice wakes up with morning wood and has trouble, uh, aiming while going to the bathroom.
- Parodied in The 41-year-old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall And Then Felt Superbad About It, where it manages to reach his chest and then his forehead. It's then implied that he can use it (once it has shrunk back, presumably) to turn the pages of the newspaper he's reading.
- Similar to the above, in 40 Days and 40 Nights Josh Harnett's character wakes up with an erection that causes him trouble when doing his breakfast... and later has problem when he is visibly aroused during a work meeting.
- Me, Myself, and Irene: "Irene, why am I pissing like I've had sex all night?"
- In I Think I Love My Wife, Chris Rock's character has one of these when he takes Viagra.
- Which results in his having to be drained in the back of an ambulance with a very large needle.
- The opening cartoon of Monkeybone shows this happening to a young Stu Miley. In fact, Monkeybone himself is the personification of Stu's libido, as his name would suggest.
- In Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth one of the teens appears to die of a heart attack, but it's later revealed that he'd taken an entire bottle of Viagra in anticipation of a sexual encounter, and the raging erection kept his heart pumping.
- In his documentary A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Chris Waitt is suffering from erectile dysfunction and takes loads of Viagra. He gets an erection that will last for about eight hours and runs around the streets of London accosting women and asking them to have sex with him, a quest which ends with him spending the night in a police cell.
- The Proposal: Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds' characters are posing as a couple, and try to act as if they were just spooning.
Sandra Bullock: What is that?!
Ryan Reynolds: It's... The Morning.
- Played hilariously in Sorority Boys. One of the boys Disguised in Drag is taking a shower when the sorority's president playfully joins him. "Stop poking me in the butt!"
- It should be noted that the president (and also the love interest of the guy she's taking a shower with - both when he's disguised as a woman and when he's a full male) is very near-sighted.
- In The Man With Two Brains, Steve Martin is teased by his new bride, and when he steps over to the french doors (lots of little glass panes), we hear the sound of glass breaking. He looks down.
- And again when he stands up with his hat on his lap. Let's just say he doesn't need to hold it there with his hands.
- Road Trip. Old man + Baywatch + Viagra.
- Chev Chelios gets "a steel hardon" after taking too much epinephrine in Crank.
- Part of the opening sequence Bubble Boy. He wakes up one morning and (due to being raised by a very conservative mother) believes that a rodent or similar has invaded his pants during his sleep. So, naturally, he grabs the nerf (with metal-core) baseball bat near his bed and gives said vermin a stout rap on the head...
- Occurs in Peep World with Nathan, during a medical exam based off his premature ejaculation.
- Happens in Bad Teacher to one of Cameron Diaz's underaged students when he watches her washing a car in skimpy, wet clothing during a car-wash fundraiser (for the class, but actually for her breast enlargement). She's doing it to seduce her rich colleague, but it works on several others as well.
- Emperor Nero uses this to his advantage in History of the World Part I to find out which of his wife's attendants is an imposter. (The rest are eunuchs.)
- A conversation between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in Batman Returns (after Bruce has just apologized for suddenly leaving during their previous date, and they are pressed closely together while dancing on a ballroom floor):
Bruce: So...no hard feelings?
Selina: Well...semi-hard, I'd say.
[Bruce looks down and becomes embarrassed.]
- In Love and Other Drugs, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a pharmaceutical rep who becomes extremely successful when he starts selling Viagra. While on hiatus with his girlfriend, he goes to a pajama party thrown by a sexy coworker and has a threesome with her and another woman, right after the coworker pretty much force-feeds him a Viagra pill. In the morning, he finds out that this trope is in full effect and he runs to the hospital in his bathrobe to get it looked at. Apparently, they don't tell sales reps the side effects of the stuff they're selling.
- Actually, they DO. He even explains why this is worse then it looks.
- In Without A Paddle, the boys get stranded in the woods in their underwear and are forced to share body heat to survive. Dan gets an erection while thinking about the hot girls they met earlier that day, which freaks the other two out.
- Discussed in The Full Monty:
Gerald': What if it happens in front of 400 women?
Horse: Just think of the most boring thing you can come up with. ... Gardening. The Queen’s Speech.
Guy: Nature programs.
Gerald: I like nature programs.
Guy: But they don’t give you a hard-on, do they?
- In an interview with Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Errol Flynn, she revealed that they had to film their kissing scene 8 or 9 times. The first of those were naturally to get multiple takes to chose from. The last ones were after Flynn had to take a break because he started getting fairly "uncomfortable in his pants".
- In a Deleted Scene of Lolita (1997), Humbert gets sexually excited while tussling with Dolores on the sofa. She asks if he's ill because he's bending over while going up to his room. Humbert claims a toothache and quickly returns to the sofa.
- In Pretty Cool, protagonist Howard uses his mind control powers to give a bully this while he's stood at the front of class.
- And in the sequel, the new protagonist Walter gives one to himself using his mind control phone. Hilarity Ensues when his parents come home, and he's separated from the phone.
- In Kevin & Perry Go Large, Kevin is caught up in a bank heist, and told to keep his hands where the robbers can see them. One of the tellers bends down slightly to fill a bag full of money, inadvertently giving Kevin a brief glimpse of cleavage. He hits the silent alarm under the desk, without moving his hands.
- In Birdman, Edward Norton's character gets one onstage in front of 500 people.
- In A Brother's Price this happens quite often to Jerin. Not surprising, as he's young and rarely sees women to whom he isn't related. When an attractive woman intentionally makes him think about sex, he's helpless. It also happens to him when his bride-to-be inspects his naked body for birth defects, a common practice in this culture. She comments that, apparently, everything is in "good working order"
- Morning wood comes as an unnerving and mortifying shock to a woman who has switched bodies with a male friend in Curse The Dawn.
- Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry offhandedly mentions this as a character gets out of bed and, with minor difficulty, into his breeches.
- Nimue Alban in David Weber's Safehold books learns just how "fully functional" her robotic body is when, as the male Merlin Athrawes, he learns that the Safeholdian version of rugby is played in the nude, and Nimue, for all her body was male, was still a woman where what was attractive to her was concerned.
- Sir Harry Flashman finds that his rather ragged trousers are quite incapable of disguising his - er - respect for the shapely but quite mad Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar.
- Judy Blume's book Then Again, Maybe I Won't is about a boy going through puberty. He often gets erections at embarrassing times, such as in school.
- In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner relates that, as a teenager, he often had unwanted erections at completely random times. One particularly embarrassing one happened while he was about to help up an elderly woman he used to take care of.
- In Bridget Jones Diary, Bridget dances with a teenage boy she meets at a party during a smoke break.
"... the trouble was, he seemed to have, well, not to put too fine a point on it, the most enormous erection I've ever had the good fortune to come across, and us dancing so close it was not the sort of thing one could pass off as a pencil case."
- My Uncle Oswald is about the titular uncle selling viagras.
- In a short story by Stephen King called "Autopsy Room Four", a paralyzed man about to be autopsied by doctors who think he is dead is saved at the last second when he gets an erection.
- In The Dresden Files book Cold Days Harry ends up getting one during a life-or-death fight, while riding behind Murphy on her motorbike. While it is played partly for dry comedy, it has some pretty serious undertones, as it contradicts Harry's assurances that he's got his Blood Knight Super-Powered Evil Side, ie the mantle of the Winter Knight, under control.
- In Mass Effect: Retribution, this happens to Nick not thirty pages into the book when he's talking to Kahlee Sanders.
- The Sheriff in The Heart She Holler gets one after his Jail Bait Wait for Hershey was reduced from ten years to a week. Yes, he really plans to wait ten years for her to be legal again.
- A Jackass skit has Johnny Knoxville walking around with a fake penis in his pants acting completely unaware of it.
- Kevin and Perry from Harry Enfield and Chums got these in pretty much every episode and multiple times in their own movie.
- Chris from Skins has this problem in one episode, due to taking a whole lot of viagra. It gets really awkward later when he dances with Angie(whom he likes) and she notices it and leaves.
- Something like it happened to Kryten on Red Dwarf when he became human; though it didn't cause embarrassment so much as curiosity. And two polaroids.
- Word of God says that Craig Charles's funny reaction to being handed the pictures was real, because the 'prop' pictures were replaced with real ones at the last minute without telling him.
- In another episode of Red Dwarf, in order to win a basketball match, Lister and Rimmer spike the opposing team's drinks with a 'virility enhancement drug'. As The Cat put it, "try moving fast with a fishing pole in your pants!"
- Captain Hollister takes a swig too, and later complains of having to do a handstand every time he wanted to use the urinal.
- Happened to Spinner in an episode of Degrassi The Next Generation. The large size of it caused a bit of Memetic Mutation in the fandom.
- In season 10, Wesley falls asleep in class dreams that he ate dinner with his crush Anya, but the dinner goes badly and he wakes up with an erection.
- Elliot in Scrubs treated a patient that suffered this due to a Viagra overdose. A Hurricane of Puns ensue.
- A Speculative Fiction-Viagra version happens to Jason in True Blood after he does way, way too much V.
- In the CSI episode "The Accused is Entitled", one suspect cannot stand up after having popped some Viagra on the plane. When Catherine finds out that the erection has lasted for several hours, she tells him to seek medical attention.
- This apparently happens to Jake during his birthday party on Two and a Half Men after he mistakes Viagra for vitamin pills.
: The kid's gonna need another party hat.
- The entire premise of this The Whitest Kids U Know sketch.
- The first time Holly spoons with Ben on What I Like About You, her alarmed Inner Monologue makes the audience aware that the duckies on his boxers are moving.
- Meredith on Grey's Anatomy has a one-night-stand with a guy who turns up at the hospital the next day. "It hasn't gone away since we... you know..." Meredith was humiliated, Bailley was annoyed, Derek was hurt, and Cristina found it freakin' hilarious. "What? It's not my fault you broke the guy's dick!"
- The infamous "Erection Steve" from the British Talent Show Xtra Factor. To be fair, he is in the vicinity of Cheryl Cole (whose reaction is priceless).
- Stargate SG-1 had one instance early in the series, when Carter and O'Neill ended up on Antarctica, huddling together for warmth.
Carter: ... Sir?
O'Neill: It's my sidearm, I swear!
- Mad About You had one in the episode Paul tries Viagra.
- Dollhouse. Victor gets an erection in his "Tabula Rasa" state because of latent attraction to Sierra (who is showering right next to him). This is regarded as Serious Business by the Dollhouse staff. However since it's Joss Whedon, it also leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny:
Victor: I'm having a man reaction.
Topher: I-I don't want your best!
Whiskey: (looking down) Oh I think you do.
- In an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the perp gets one during his trial. Everyone can't help but stare at it when he, without thinking, stands up. Worse, it was being established that he liked torturing women.
- Happens in the first episode of The Inbetweeners, where Simon gets hard off a girl he likes when she flirts with him. His mate spots it and shouts out to the whole room that he has a boner, and from then onwards Simon is known as "Boner".
- A subversion in the fashion show episode; Simon is wearing ludicrously small, tight pants for aforementioned show and his friends repeatedly warn him of the perils of an unwanted erection. Instead one of his testicles falls out.
- Queer as Folk did the Viagra version of this with Ted, giving him what appeared to be a 24-hour erection.
- In a recent episode, Saturday Night Live had a fake commercial for an anti-virility drug, designed to prevent unwanted boners, like when driving your daughter's cheerleading friends home from practice.
- An an earlier episode had an ad for "Dr. Porkenheimer's Boner Juice", which proclaimed, "If you experience an erection lasting more than twenty-four hours, call a friend and brag about it!"
- Cash slips Cameron pills that do this in Breaking In as part of their prank war.
- Joe from Glee gets one of these when he's helping Quinn out with her physical therapy.
- John Cena thinks that Trish Stratus is utterly gorgeous. So when Santa gives her to him as an early Christmas present (she was his partner in a mixed tag team match in December) he can't help but show how... well, how excited he is.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Xander wakes up from a dream involving scantily-clad teenagers having a pillow fight, to the reality of frumpy girls in pajamas complaining about a blocked toilet. He asks them to give him a moment before getting out of bed, as he 'has a cramp'.
- In the comics, befalls Giles, of all people, with Faith when she comforts him by hugging him. Give him a break though, he was resurrected as a twelve year old.
- Angel. Darla has been trying to corrupt Angel by using magic to send him dreams of his vampire kills. He claims to find them nightmarish, but...
Bethany: "It looked like a pretty happy dream - or maybe the covers were just rumpled."
- In the Rizzoli & Isles episode "This Is How A Heart Breaks", Maura realises a 'corpse' just delivered to the morgue is not dead when he gets an erection and she feels a pulse in his penis.
- Jacob, one of the eponymous guest characters in the second-season 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Three Boys With Wood."
- Game of Thrones: The morning version happens to Jon after being forced to sleep huddled up close to Ygritte to stave off the cold.
Jon suddenly stands up, hunched over and clearly embarrassed.
- Ryan Lochte, on a recent episode of his E! reality TV series What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, was shown laying in his bed, admiring his prodigious, erm... rudder.
- Phoenix Nights during the club's 'Family Fun Day' with a bouncy castle from Amsterdam...
- In The New Statesman, Alan ends up having to hijack a plane, and he takes the Sexy Stewardess hostage. He holds her back against him to use as a human shield with one hand, and holds a grenade in the other. She begs the fliers to "Do what he says, he's got a gun pressing into my back!"
- Antoine in the first Challenge: Battle of the Sexes season ended up having one during a mission when flirting with a judge. As he was in a pool of water and wearing a speedo, she calls him out on it to hilarious effect.
- In the Haven episode "Lay Me Down", Audrey wakes Nathan up while he was having an Erotic Dream about her. He looks down and awkwardly covers his lap with a pillow.
- Gantz Abridged :
"Sensei, Kurono's got a boner!"
"Kurono, did you bring enough erection for the rest of the class?" "No Ma'am, just enough for the girls."
- Frequently shows up in YouTube Poop, especially involving Militron's (The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games) most infamous quote:
You must be HARDENED WITH FIRE!
- Happens to Shiki waking up one morning in the Visual Novel Tsukihime. His personal meido who comes to wake him up is either oblivious to why he's staying under his blanket or is deliberately trying to embarrass him. Hilarious, right? Then on Ciel's route, it becomes extremely unfunny when he can't get it down for a much more serious reason: his body is no longer solely his own, and now Shiki has urges to kill people and gets off on it. This requires... you guessed it... a Deus Sex Machina to resolve.
- A Running Gag in True Love Junai Monogatari is how the Chivalrous Pervert of a Player Character gets those in the worst moments possible (in example, when giving CPR to a pretty girl he's just saved from drowning), and he's greatly embarrassed.
- In Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia, Kazushi's friends want to help him resolve his sexual tension with Sakura. So what do they do? Well, obviously they trick him into taking a strange pill which gives him a raging boner, and then lock them in a storeroom for several hours. Hilarity Ensues.
- Phase from the Whateley Universe mostly looks like a very pretty 14-year-old girl, but still has male genitals and thoughts. And he showers with the girls in the morning. Several of whom are superhumanly attractive. He spends a lot of time brushing his teeth every morning, in front of the most strategically placed mirror in the room.
- Later in the series, when his new (and not at all welcome) roommate, Vamp shows up, the two start out the first morning by elbowing each other for room at the mirrors. Eventually Vamp (who is both intersexed and pansexual) gives up, but gives not before throwing a Take That at Ayla: she stood and saluted him, then explained that she was waiting to see if he would 'run a flag up that pole'.
- Similarly, an oft-posted one-panel comic (source unknown) is a man looking down at his tented pants.
Man: Stop it, boner.
Man's Groin: No.
- How to Hide an Unwanted Erection
- Cracked once did a Photoshop contest on "Worst Possible Time to Get an Erection".
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Theater Superhero Tryouts features Awkward Boner Hug Man. Uncomfortably.
- Key of Awesome's take on this.
- Catherine Zeta Jones causes this in The Nostalgia Critic.
- In the second episode of Team Four Star's version of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Jan Valentine's comment at watching Seras Victoria rip through his ghouls like paper with an almost sexual Slasher Smile on her face? "Well, at least I'm going to die with a raging boner."
- Also, Alucard prefers to argue with Integra over the phone because it gives him a boner. Doing it in person is "Super Awkward."
- Echo Chamber: "Why she doesn't like me? It's like she couldn't even see my boner!
- Dolan, here and in many other cartoons.
- Played for comedic effect a few times in reviews from The Cinema Snob. Evidently his penis is around 10 inches long, and at one point he even taps it to show that he's gotten literally rock hard from the scene in question.
- Jimmy of South Park once had this problem, and not even sleeping with a hooker helped.
- Peanut from Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. His shield went off when he hit "superty".
- There was an entire episode of Beavis and ButtHead which centred on the morning wood. It turned out the reason for it was a "Morning Wood Fairy".
- In another episode, they go to get their hair cut from a buxom hairstylist. Just being near her breasts while she shampoos their hair gives them erections that last all day. She waits so long for them to go down that Todd shows up and decides to cut their hair himself so that he can take her out on a date.
- In another one, they go to an erectile dysfunction clinic, somehow concluding they can score there. Given a test to see how long an erection they sustain looking at provocative pictures, they look at the first picture and pretty much stay up the rest of the session.
- And when Beavis' starts to go down, Butthead reminds him that they get to have sex with the girls after, it's right back up.
- The Simpsons: One of Springfield's surprising number of prisons is called Morningwood Penitentiary.
- Although nothing is shown, Skinner suffers from an unwanted erection after Bart spikes his coffee with Viagra.
- Robot Chicken once had a fake advertisement for a toy called "Morning Wood." It was Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a piece of wood that you play with in the morning.
- Another skit involves Sailor Moon where a monster was aroused by her sexual poses. They decided not to fight, since his erection ruined the moment. The next part has the monster aroused by Queen Beryl's anger. Lastly, she's apparently aroused by Sailor Moon after looking at her picture.
Queen Beryl: Anime sure is weird.
- The memorable "Chicken Rush" scene from Bill Plympton's "Hair High" (2004), available to watch in Plymptoons Online (NSFW)
- The Venture Bros. - a nearly-drowned Hank is given mouth-to-mouth from Molotov. He acts suave and worldly until he sees the erection in his shorts, and runs screaming "My pants are haunted!!!", after dealing with the ghosts of an Indian burial ground earlier in the day.
- Another episode had 21 sneaking in at night to capture Hank and Dean while they were sleeping, only to discover that Dean had one of these when he pulled off his blanket.
- Family Guy: Peter Griffin once had this happen while riding on a motorcycle:
Cleveland: Hey, Peter, what the—
Peter: It's the vibration.
- On American Dad!, Steve's friend Snot pops wood at the drop of a hat, and has many different names for it.
- Steve himself is almost as susceptible, at one point getting one after being slapped by Toshi's sister.
- Stan also gets one after Francine describes an explicit shower scene with her and several bullies at school.
- Snot again when he tries unsuccessfully to "dick knob" Francine.