Originally Published: September 1, 1993 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: December 12, 2008
I have a problem with my penis. Even in the midst of excitement, it is not erect but it is curved. Is that a problem or something to be concerned about?
—Signed, Straight and Narrow
Dear Straight and Narrow,
Like other physical characteristics, penises come in different shapes and sizes. Some are longer, some are shorter, some are broader, some are narrower, some curve to the left, some to the right, some not at all. You mention that even in the midst of excitement, your penis is not erect. Erection is caused during arousal by more blood flowing into the penis than flows out. However, erect does not mean exactly straight as an arrow, hard as nails, perpendicular to your body, and parallel to the floor. Each person's erection is unique as well.
Some questions for you to consider: Does your penis change at all when you are excited? Does it get hard enough to put on a condom? Do you experience orgasm and ejaculate when you masturbate? If all of your answers are "yes," then you don't have a problem — your penis seems to be behaving normally. It may only be your expectations that are a problem. If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you likely will want to make an appointment with Health Services or your health care provider so that you can have your concerns addressed personally. If you are student at Columbia you can call 4-2284 or log into Open Communicator to make an appointment.
Congratulations on being in touch with yourself and understanding just how unique you really are!