Erectile tissue plays an important role in the onset of sexual arousal in both men and women. To understand the process of sexual arousal, it is necessary to know the erectile tissue definition, as well as the characteristics and functions of the male and female reproductive system.
The medical dictionary can give you the anatomical definition of erectile tissue, which is as follows: vascular tissue, which becomes denser due to the dilation of numerous blood vessels.
Depending on gender, erectile tissue can perform a variety of functions:
- in the male reproductive system – the blood flow to the penis and the onset of an erection;
- in the female reproductive system – compression of the urethra and prevention of urination during intercourse.
Without the medical terminology, we can formulate the definition of erectile tissue in simple words: tissue that increases in volume in response to sexual stimulation.
The penis tissue is composed of three parts: the first two are pair of cavernous bodies, and the third part is the spongy body.
The process of erection involves all three of the penis bodies. The corpus cavernosa fill with blood, which makes the penis swell and become rigid. A large number of elastic fibers that the spongy tissue contains provide stretching and contraction of the urethra in urination and ejaculation.
Erectile tissue is an integral part of both male and female sexual organs. The main part of the clitoris consists of the double erectile tissue. It is located along the lower branches of the pubic bones. Just as it happens in the male penis, the clitoris tissue enlarges in volume during sexual arousal.
After the sexual excitement, the vagina is covered with erectile tissue on both sides. Along with the pubococcygeus muscle, this tissue compresses the urethra, thus preventing urination during sexual activity.
The erectile tissue in both the penis and the clitoris is incapable of constricting, like the vessels. Therefore, any slight tissue damage creates a risk of excessive bleeding.
While defining the erectile tissue, the sexual arousal in men and women is not the only thing to be considered. Erectile tissue is not only part of the penis, but also of the nose and ears.
Blood flow to the erectile tissue can cause not only sexual arousal, but a nasal congestion, as well. Cavernous venous plexus are located under a layer of the nasal mucosa. Plexus is a tangle of dilated veins, the walls of which are rich in smooth muscle and contain elastic fibers.
In insufficient blood supply, the vessels of the turbinates cavernous tissue are relaxed. However, under the influence of a wide variety of physical, chemical, infectious or psychogenic factors, the erectile tissue fills with blood, which immediately leads to swelling of the mucous lining.
Inadequate constriction and dilation of erectile tissue in the nasal cavity is one of the mechanisms of vasomotor rhinitis development. When the cavernous venous plexus expand and fill with blood, the thickness of the mucous membrane increases sharp. Turbinates may swell so much that they close the nasal passages. This results into the obstruction of nasal breathing.
The American surgeon, John McKenzie, was the first to attempt formulating the erectile tissue definition in the context of the relationship between the nasal cavity and the genitals. While studying the neurological reflexes, McKenzie offered the term “nasogenital reflex” in 1883. According to the hypothesis of the medical professional, nasal congestion can cause problems with sexual health (such as pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, etc.) and vice versa.
The German otolaryngologist, Wilhelm Fleiss, expanded McKenzie’s theory. In 1893, the doctor suggested that the expansion of blood vessels in the nasal erectile tissue can cause not only sexual dysfunction, but also a variety of other disorders, like insomnia, migraine, asthma, stomach pain, etc.
The term “nasogenital reflex”, which was suggested by McKenzie to explain the relationship between sexual activity and nasal congestion, was not accepted by the official Otolaryngology. Hypotheses by McKenzie and Fleiss did not receive a sufficient amount of evidence, and remained just a theory.
The erectile tissue definition suggests that the tissue plays both a positive and a negative role in a person’s life:
- blood flow and expansion of the tissue in the genital organs is necessary for a full sexual intercourse;
- dilation of blood vessels in the nasal cavity often leads to congestion or complete obstruction of the nasal sinuses.
Sexual arousal and sexual intercourse are impossible without the involvement of the erectile tissue. Definition of sexual arousal is as follows: changes in the body that occur under the influence of sexual stimuli. Excitation precedes the moment of the very sexual intercourse beginning.
Occurrence of rhinitis and other upper respiratory tract disorders is a direct consequence of the erectile tissue activity in the nasal cavity. The tissue is a powerful vascular bed, which provides an abundant blood supply to the nasal area.