Boys and Puberty
Puberty is one of those things we all have to go through. There's getting taller and broader, growing a moustache and where your voice squeaks when you are asking out the person you like, it's all part of growing up!
Puberty is the time when a boy becomes a man. It doesn't happen all at once, but is a time of intense physical and emotional change. It is triggered by the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Guys usually start puberty sometime between the ages of 11 and 15.
- Growth Spurt/Weight Gain: Boys may suddenly start growing several inches a year. Their bodies may become more muscular and their shoulders may also grow wider. Others may simply grow tall without seeming to gain any weight.
- Hair Growth: Hair will start growing in new places. This could include under the arms, on the face, and in the pubic area (on and around the genitals). Hair will also start growing more thickly and darkly on the arms, legs, and other body parts.
- Acne, or pimples: Acne is triggered by puberty hormones and usually appears on the face. They can also appear on the upper chest and upper back. Acne can usually be kept under control by simply keeping clean. However, a GP can help with particularly bad cases of acne. The one good thing about acne is that it usually clears up by the end of adolescence.
- Body Odour: Most guys will find that they emit an unpleasant smell, particularly from their underarms. This smell can be controlled by washing often and using deodorant.
- Voice Deepening and Cracking: A boy's voice will gradually deepen, but often will crack or squeak in the process.
- Erections and Wet Dreams: During puberty, a boy's penis will lengthen and widen, and the testes will also enlarge. A boy will also begin to get erections, which is when the penis fills with blood and gets hard. Sometimes this happens when he is feeling sexually aroused, but other times for no reason at all. A boy may also experience wet dreams (nocturnal emissions). This is when the penis becomes erect during sleep and he ejaculates. An ejaculation is when the penis secretes semen, a fluid that contains sperm. Wet dreams usually become less frequent as a boy grows older, and eventually stop completely.
Puberty is also a time of emotional changes too. Boys will generally will be more sensitive, lose their temper more often or feel the need to prove themselves. Many guys experience the pressure of needing to appear manly, strong, and independent. Many experience anxiety about their appearance, wanting to develop more quickly, be more muscular or grow more facial hair. It's common to be nervous or insecure about these new changes.
It is important for young people to remember that each person is unique and develops physically and emotionally in their own way and in their own time. Because of this, young people shouldn’t feel bad or tease others for developing ‘too fast’ or ‘too slowly’. Puberty can be a hard time emotionally for many young people. The most important things to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to look. It is most important to be yourself.