A psychogenic erection is an erection that occurs as a result of erotic stimuli, as opposed to physical stimulus. It is associated with fantasy or viewing erotic material. A psychogenic erection is one of two ways to achieve erection, the other being a reflex erection, which occurs as a result of stimulation of the shaft of the penis.
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Psychogenic erections differ from reflex erections because they use the limbic system of the brain, rather than the peripheral nerves and the lower parts of the spinal cord. Both the psychogenic and reflex erection enhance each other and work together. Aging, disease, neurological impairment or spinal cord injury can affect a person’s ability to achieve a full erection, often because the psychogenic portion of the erection is impaired.