Erectile tissue

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Erectile tissue is tissue in the body with numerous vascular spaces that may become engorged with blood.[1][2] However, tissue that is devoid of or otherwise lacking erectile tissue (such as the labia minora, the vestibule/vagina and the urethra) may also engorge with blood, often during sexual arousal.[2]

Erectile tissue in the clitoris and penis

Cross section showing the two corpora cavernosa near the top surface of the penis, and the corpus spongiosum surrounding the urethra near the bottom surface.

Erectile tissue exists in places such as the corpora cavernosa of the penis, and in the clitoris or in the bulbs of vestibule.[2] During erection, the corpora cavernosa will become engorged with arterial blood, a process called tumescence.[3] This may result from any of various physiological stimuli, also known as sexual arousal. The corpus spongiosum is a single tubular structure located just below the corpora cavernosa. This may also become slightly engorged with blood, but less so than the corpora cavernosa.

Other erectile tissue

Erectile tissue is also found in the nose (turbinates), ear, urethral sponge and perineal sponge.[2] The erection of nipples is not due to erectile tissue, but rather due to the contraction of smooth muscle under the control of the autonomic nervous system.


  1. ^ "Erectile tissue". Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Yang, Claire; J. Cold, Christopher et al. (April 2006, first published online on December 20, 2005). "Sexually responsive vascular tissue of the vulva". BJUI 97 (4): 766–772. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05961.x.
  3. ^ Chapter 35 in: Walter F., PhD. Boron (2003). Medical Physiology: A Cellular And Molecular Approach. Elsevier/Saunders. pp. 1300. ISBN 1-4160-2328-3.