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Male puberty

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Boys usually start going through puberty a bit later than girls, usually between the ages of 9 and 14, with the average age being around 12. Boys will usually reach maturity around four years after puberty starts.

During this time they will experience a lot of physical and emotional changes caused by the male sex hormone testosterone:

1. Body changes

Lots of changes occur over the course of puberty - they happen at different times and rates for everybody. You will notice that:

  • You will get taller, more muscular and heavier.
  • Your chest and shoulders will get broader.
  • Your penis (dick) and testicles (balls) will get bigger.
  • You will begin to grow hair on your arms and legs, around your genitals, in your armpits and also on your chest. Hair will also start appearing on your face as well as around the chin and top lip, which is when many boys start thinking about shaving.

2. Spots

Most teenagers experience getting spots on their face - unfortunately some people get more than others. These are caused by hormones and have nothing to do with eating chips and chocolate!

Acne is where you have painful spots and bumps on your skin.

What to do if you have acne:

  • Use a mild cleanser and an oil-free moisturiser.
  • If you have a mild case of acne you can buy an over-the-counter treatment from your local pharmacy.
  • If your acne is more severe your GP may prescribe a treatment.

3. Sweating

You will also find that your sweat changes, meaning that you sweat more than you did before and that it is smellier, causing body odour (BO).

There are lots of antiperspirants and deodorants available. Deodorants are fragranced so they mask the smell, whereas antiperspirants reduce the amount of sweat you produce. Regular baths and showers will also help.

4. Voice changes

As boys develop, their voices get deeper - this is known as your voice breaking.

Just like everything else, it does not happen overnight. You might find that your voice is a bit unpredictable for a while and that when you speak it crackles, wobbles or changes pitch suddenly.

This might feel a little embarrassing but is completely normal.

5. Erections

All of a sudden it might feel that your penis has a mind of its own, and you will find that you have erections (hard-ons) more often.

Some happen when you expect them, because you are thinking about sex and the people you fancy, but some erections appear for no reason at all! This can make you feel embarrassed or awkward, but usually no one notices but you.

You might also get erections and ejaculate (come) in your sleep, waking up with damp clothes or sheets.

This is called a wet dream and happens to most boys.

6. Sexual feelings

All the extra hormones in your body affect your mind as well and you may find that you are becoming more interested in sex, start fancying people and think about having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

You may also be interested in exploring your own body and what feels good through masturbating (wanking), which is completely normal.

All this is part of your developing sexuality.

7. Emotional turmoil

Unfortunately not all your new feelings will be exciting sexual ones. You might also find you become moodier and have more arguments with your family and friends. You may feel more confused and worried about things than you used to because lots of things are changing.

It is really normal to feel like this and if you are worried it might help to talk things through with someone you trust. This won’t last forever and in time your emotions will become less turbulent.

Read about puberty in girls ››



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 1/12/2015 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 1/12/2018

Content Author: Allison Macbeth

Current Owner: Health Promotion

More information:

Puberty. NHS. 2014.

Puberty - causes. NHS. 2014.

Puberty - symptoms. NHS. 2014.

Boys and puberty. NHS. 2015.

Boys and Puberty. Brook.

Puberty information for boys and girls. Avert. 2015.

Body odour. NHS. 2014.

Acne. NHS. 2014.

Masturbation. NHS. 2015.

Time to change. KidsHeath. 2012

Boys' puberty. KidsHeath. 2012

Puberty - changes in thinking. Child and Youth Health. 2012

Puberty - changes in thinking. Child and Youth Health. 2012

Interactive body. BBC Science. 2012

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