So far, so good.
From the verb ‘to erect’ we get the noun ‘erection’. There’s certainly a great deal of ‘doing’ in the process of erecting a building (a noun which itself derives from a verb).
This is a nifty point to lead into the case of nouns multiplying. If we overlook the possibility of ‘building’ being a generic term, buildings can be cottages, houses, hotels, towers, and more. Whisk some eggs, cook them, and all of a sudden you’d call them an omelette.
All these examples – and I’m sure I could find dozens more – involve a significant change from one state of a noun to one so different that it requires a new word.
With this in mind, what is so special about a tumescent penis that it warrants being called an erection? Think about it, all that’s happened is that a bit of extra blood has been pumped into a confined space (admittedly some are more confined that others).
Compare this with the graft involved in building a house. This type of erection takes months of labour, vast quantities of building materials, not to mention architects’ drawings and more. That’s a lot of doing. In this context, describing an erect penis as an erection is a fairly substantial delusion of grandeur.
It can only be because a man came up with the idea of taking a perfectly good adjective (denoting that the penis is not flaccid) and turning it into a noun.
To call an erect penis an erection is to almost create an entirely new life form, a beast that gives more power to manhood. This being has needs different to the benign, conservatively dressed corporate man. It wants, craves, needs, DESERVES sex, and let no woman (or man) stand in its way. It is a loaded gun (dare I say “spear”?), which can be disarmed just as effectively by masturbation, but its brain calls for coupling, which may also involve a chase ending in conquest.
I have no doubt that some will read the previous paragraph with great delight, as proof of the feminist agenda. Please suspend the smugness for just a minute.
Consider the case of men in committed, loving relationships where the beast does not have equal appeal to both parties. Imagine the turmoil of living with the beast’s primal needs under these circumstances.
Considering that there is no ‘doing’ involved, it does not surprise me that there is no verb version of ‘celibate’.
The word is the basis for a sweet story involving one of the deceased Popes (in heaven, of course). Someone comes upon him in a library of ancient manuscripts, in a state of great distress. He is asked what the matter is, to which he replies: “The R, the R! The word is celebrate!”
Which brings us to another feature of the erection. Regardless of its rigidity, or the intensity that drives its actions, it is a very fragile construction. It is the hydraulic version of a house built on sand. Like all celebrations – however joyous – its lifespan is limited.
For an erection, ‘doing’ is its undoing, if you see what I mean.