Do penises twitch when erect?

JSR (5)I get mail regularly from men looking for recommendations on what to read, or they ask questions about the M/M sub genre, to which they think I have answers or can find them. *g*

Recently I received a very interesting email from Stuart, a gay man who had quite a few questions. Here’s his very short bio – he is 46 years old and lives in the US, and up until  2004 he resided in New York. He didn’t tell me where he’s currently living because he probably doesn’t want any of you to visit.:) 

I decided to post his comments in several polls (there were too many to include in a single one) which will run on concurrent weeks, starting today, and I’m hoping that M/M authors can clarify why they do the things they do.:)

Here are his first 2 observations –

 A lot of the m/m fiction I’ve read refers to cocks that ‘twitch’ when a character is sexually aroused. Cocks don’t twitch when aroused (unless all the men I’ve ever known are engaged in a vast conspiracy to conceal from me that I’m different). A man when aroused simply begins to get erect. I don’t know why the authors of m/m fiction need this false ‘twitch’ motif, unless it’s because male arousal is basically lacking in drama.

 Along with cocks that ‘twitch’ is the motif in m/m fiction of men ‘thumping’ their penises if they are in a situation where having an erection would be inappropriate.

I’ve never met a man of any sexual orientation who does this. If one has an erection that is unwelcome, generally the inappropriate situation itself makes the erection go away. If not, relaxing and taking a deep breath does the trick. The strange attributes given to penises in m/m fiction can be off-putting since it destroys the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy an author’s fictional world.

So authors, what are your answers? Why do so many M/M authors refer to cocks that “twitch,” and have their protags thumping away!

I would love to hear from readers who have some knowledge in this area .:) I’m hoping that a few of the male followers of the blog (gay and straight) will give us the benefit of their expertise in male genitalia. The responses to this post should be interesting as well as illuminating !! Maybe it’s like the mythical tying off of the condoms post that I did sometime ago.*g*

Alex Beecroft

I would back Amanda and Erastes up, as I have personally observed twitching. Though, having said that, I think “his cock twitched” is a somewhat boring way of describing a rush of desire. I’m sure there must be more interesting ways to say it. (Not ways that involve star fruit or bananas, I hasten to add!)


The twitching and thumping action doesn’t just happen in M/M romance, you trip over it even when reading straight romance and erotica. But I have to say, I’d rather read about twitching junk than some purple prose about bananas or loaded guns in his pants.

The twitching happens IRL too, you just have to be observant.

Wren Boudreau
What a conversation to read with the morning coffee, eh? Better than the newspaper! * I can’t speak to the thumping, but I agree that it takes me out of the story for a second – long enough to say “ouch.” I much prefer the guy thinking of something. Although, I suppose if he’s young, he hasn’t figured that out yet? * Regarding twitching, however, my husb can and does. Sometimes it is on purpose, sometimes it’s in reaction to something I’m doing, and sometimes it is during the erection (oh he would die if he knew I told you… Read more »
Well, It’s a phenomenon I’ve seen often first hand – so , like most things, it’s up to the individual. I just did a google search to back up my experiences for “do penises twitch” and found a load of other people who have found this happens to them. The most twitching is found when it first starts to “inflate” as it were – some men definitely say it feels like a twitch, and a heat as the blood moves to that spot. Women actually have the same reaction – or some do, I do. I’ve seen teenage boys thumping… Read more »

Interesting question…thanks for asking it, Stuart and thanks for starting the discussion, Wave.
For me, I think there is a fine balance for authors to find a way to say things and keep the writing interesting while at the same time not veering into ridiculous (think, “pulsing star fruit”). While in reality cocks may “become erect” or “get hard,” if that’s all an author could say, the writing (and subsequent reading) would get really dull really fast…LOL.

Amanda Young

I hate to argue, really, but a penis can and will twitch. The next time you ladies and gents go down, pay attention to what’s happening. Now I’m not saying it’ll jerk around like your man’s having a seizure, but there are subtle jerks. Or maybe my man’s junk is the only one who twitches when he’s happy. Who knows…

Jen S.

Amanda, I’m so glad you piped in! I know my husband’s twitches too, although it may not always be unconsciously done!

I’ve seen guys thump their penises. Now, mind, these were college guys, so I’m not saying they were the brightest bulbs in the box. They always did seem to regret it afterward…. As for the twitch… sometimes, under clothes, it can very much look like a penis becoming erect is twitching. Have seen this one more times than a lesbian should really admit, but I DO hang around silly boys a lot. I swear, the euphemism of “a snake in the pants” really does seem to apply to some boys I’ve met… I could’ve sworn the damn thing was moving.… Read more »

I don’t know about the twitching but the thumping – maybe it’s straight guys that do that? My husband used to thump his erect penis on my head. Irritated the hell out of me cos I’d be reading in bed and suddenly, “thump! thump!!”


Yeah, the good ol’ mushroom stamp! That’s the only thumping I ever see! LOL
As far as twitching it think its also just another way to not keep using the same words over and over. They can and do twitch when happy but I can see why some people coorelate the word ‘twitch’ with a nervous ‘tic’ and it could take them out of the story. But it sure beats saying ‘his purple helmeted rod leapt in his breeches’ or other such nonsense! :o)


“And some porn has made it look as if it was twitching, though that could be an off-camera trick.”
Dying laughing. I have an image now of someone with a string hooked up to their penis and someone off camera giving it a tug every now and then to simulate twitching. “What’s your job?” “Porn special effects.” ROFL

Well, I’ve seen it twitch after it’s happy. Maybe its just a saying, like “my heart stopped”. It doesn’t REALLY, it’s just a way of saying it was a dramatic moment. “my brain spazzed” it doesn’t REALLY spazz. Kind of to indicate your penis is showing interest, as in it would twitch if it could? That’s my rationale. Can’t comment on the other but Sean’s solution is probably sound. 🙂 * I should also add that my bits have never really “tingled” but that’s often used to describe a woman being excited. But I know what they mean so I… Read more »
Sean Kennedy

I always think the twitch refers to that first rush of blood in arousal when the penis begins ‘perking up’, so to speak. It can feel like a twitch. But yeah, thumping never works. Thinking of Margaret Thatcher does, though.

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