I'm an 18-year-old male. Some weeks ago, I and a female friend of mine went on a one-week cycling trip. We're almost exactly the same age, she's an old childhood friend, we've known each other practically forever, sometimes we saw each other naked when we were children, occasionally we bathed togehter back then. She's more or less like a sister to me.

We haven't ever been sexually interested in or felt sexually attracted to each other (that is, at least I haven't to her).

On our cycling trip, we slept together in one tent, in our underwear, and because of the heat, we slept outside our sleeping bags.

One morning, when I woke up I had a morning wood, which isn't something really surprising. However, she was also awake and watching it. I was so embarrassed I was unable to speak. When she noticed that I'm awake, too, she didn't say anything, but got fully dressed quickly and left the tent, straight-faced. I waited for my morning wood to cease, then I got dressed myself and followed her. We did not talk about it.

We've received the same sex ed, which didn't specifically deal with morning woods, but when you google that topic, you'll easily find that it is a normal physiological mechanism essentially unrelated to sexual arousal. I don't know though whether she has googled it, and I don't know how well girls in general are informed about that matter.

I'm a virgin and I'm quite positive that she is, too.

Our trip continued like the days before, we kept talking to each other normally, in fact I don't think her behaviour towards me has changed at all, so our relationship does not seem to have suffered damage and I'm not concerned about that episode anymore.

How could I have eased the situation in a non-awkward manner?

  • I edited, so that maybe it's elegible for re-opening. I hope i didn't change the meaning of it.
    – Legisey
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 14:36
  • @Legisey any idea how to change the title as well? I'd suggest so to make it clear that the actual questions are those at the end of the text.
    – Arsak
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 14:49
  • Is there any way we can change the title to "How can I ease the situation caused by morning wood around a non-romantic female friend"? That fits better with his question at the end. Even then though, you've found a solution that has worked perfectly for you as the paragraph "Our trip continued..." suggests, and everything else will be likely anecdotes or suggestions from other users, so I'm not sure you've any need of an IPS answer here.
    – Philbo
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 14:50
  • @Philbo I think the title you propose is fine. Most of the answers on this site are suggestions. Unlike Math or StackOverFlow, here it's often impossible to prove that an answer is correct or false. So what he is asking really is "Was there a better way?". I guess answering "you did just fine" is an OK answer if you want to post it.
    – Legisey
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 7:11
  • Hello, what is awkward and what is not differs wildly between different cultures and religions. Can you add location and religious believes if you are comfortable to share so we can more accurately answer your question.
    – Ontamu
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


Given the fact that she didn't really respond at all or express discomfort, I think what you did, not say anything and carry on as if it didn't happen, is really the best course of action. She probably realizes that morning wood is a natural occurence unrelated to arousal. I think saying anything would have drawn unnecessary attention to it and made it a bigger deal than it really was.

If she did appear uncomfortable or bring it up, I think the best way to go about it would be to address it like, "oh, that happens sometimes, no big deal." You could explain to her what it is, in case she doesn't know. You could introduce a bit of humor, like "oh yup, part of the deal of being a dude," though that might be a little riskier. Assure her that there's no reason for her to feel uncomfortable as you aren't sexually attracted to her.


I believe you made the situation a bit awkward by not saying anything though apparently worked well enough in your case.

If it was me I would just turn away from her saying something like "Hey at least it isn't bleeding for a week every month" and pretend to go back to sleep while she has time to regain control of herself and get ready to leave the tent. As noted in the comments this would be pretty inappropriate joke if it was a complete stranger next to you, but I presume it wouldn't be to your childhood friend that you grew up with. You can say pretty much whatever that can be taken as a joke to lighten up the situation and show that you find it humorous and not awkward.

After things settled down I would go out and apologize and try to explain a little. In the lines of "I am sorry if that startled you this morning, but it is just biology. It happens to all the healthy 18 year olds out there."

In my experience things unsaid and ignored tend to pile up and cause issues in the future and after all it isn't something you should feel ashamed or awkward about. To be honest it would have been more worrying if you didn't get an erection in this situation.

  • 12
    I would not recommend "taunting" her about her period. Some young women may be uncomfortable about it (or may not have a regular period) and you could make an already awkward situation incredibly awkward. If you make a joke, make it about yourself to ease tension, not the other person.
    – cheshire
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 18:23
  • @cheshire threw an edit there to address your comment I hope this makes it better
    – Ontamu
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 5:42
  • I appreciate the edit but it's still quite the assumption. I have female childhood friends that I (26yo, F) would not even make a joke about it with. Some people are just uncomfortable with it in general, which is why I mention it.
    – cheshire
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 14:36
  • No need to apologise (let alone justify it as better than what her body might do?!) "Well, that was awkward! It's got a mind of its own sometimes. What's for breakfast?" after leaving the tent yourself, in a light or joking tone, would acknowledge something awkward happened but make it clear a) of course you're a bit embarrassed, b) but not bothered (in case she feels bad or embarrassed on your behalf), c) mildly put yourself down, which should seem unthreatening, d) offer to close the topic and never speak of it again (She can go with "cornflakes" or "don't worry about it" or whatever). Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 16:53

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