Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Boy Questions

Hi Sam,

I am currently not seeking extreme help but wondered if you could answer my questions....

As a year 7 in an English Secondary School and I am male. Please could you answer my questions because I don't understand it:

1.. I keep getting errections in class and people keep laughing at me because they can see my penis sticking out in my trousers, I don't know why I keep getting this and what is an errection actually for and why do I get them so often. Why does it keep happening?

2. When I go to the toilets at school, I keep having to use the cubical when everyone uses the urinals, for some reason, when I try to use a urinal, I can't urinate because I get an errection and it stops me from being able to urinate when I have one? Why is this and how can I stop it? I think it is confidence of being at the urinal and urinating in a more open space, I want to be like the other boys.

Please, please help me understand this...........

Thanks so much Sam.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

There’s no certain size that your penis should be and whatever size your penis is it’s normal for you.  Your penis can be soft and small and at other times you might get an erection which means that your penis gets bigger and harder. Having an erection is normal for boys once you reach puberty and they can happen when you’re not expecting them. It can feel embarrassing but getting lots of erections happens to most boys, especially during puberty when your body and your hormones are changing.

An erection can sometimes happen when you‘re thinking about sex or thinking about someone you find attractive. It’s also normal for erections to appear without any warning or when you’re not thinking about anything sexual. It’s not always possible to stop an erection from happening.

If you get an erection at an awkward time, it can help to make yourself think about something else and to stay as calm as possible. Try covering your lap with something like a jumper or bag while you’re waiting for your penis to go limp again and concentrate on something that takes your attention away from your erection. You could think of something to distract yourself like what you had for breakfast or count backwards from 100 while your erection reduces in size.

An erection can last for a short time or a long time, there is no fixed pattern to how long. But if you’ve had an erection for a few hours or if it is painful then you’ll need to get some medical advice. You can talk to your parent, carer or teacher or you can call NHS on 111 and you can go to A & E if you’re in a lot of pain or you’re very worried. You should also see your doctor if you get an erection when you want to urinate and its causing you problems.

Thank you for your letter and remember that it’s always okay to speak to an adult you trust or a Childline counsellor for more information and support about puberty or anything else that’s bothering you.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter