In contrast to the spinal control of erection, relatively little is known about the brain control. In the present review, we have outlined the role of brain structures involved in penile erection and provided a synopsis on the brain circuit of erection. Findings from both animal and human studies are discussed. Evidence suggests that the most important structures are the frontal lobe, cingulate gyrus, amygdala, thalamus and hypothalamus. Within the brain circuit of erection, the thalamus serves as a gate-controller in which all relevant information is evaluated and further processed to higher and lower centres.