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Info For Teens

Puberty for Guys

Puberty is a strange time. Some people grow sooner and have to deal with being taller and having zits or spontaneous erections before the rest of their friends. Others grow later and have to wait and watch their classmates change. Either way, it's important to remember that everyone goes through it.

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    When do boys start puberty?

    Boys usually start puberty when they're around 10 or 12 years old, though some start a little sooner and others a little later. (Boys start a little later than girls do.) The changes happen because our bodies release several different hormones. Hormones are chemicals that cause changes in our bodies. An early change is that our testicles begin to get bigger. Sometime after that, our penises begin to get bigger too, and pubic hair starts to grow on our testicles and above our penises.

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    What happens to a boy’s body during puberty?

    Your body begins growing faster. How long this "growth spurt" lasts and how tall you will be at the end of it depends on a lot of things — but mostly it has to do with how tall your family member are. Many boys have uncomfortable growing pains in their arms and legs as the bones grow faster than the muscles can stretch to keep up with them.

    Some boys develop swelling underneath their nipples, which can look like the start of breasts — but don't panic, it's usually fatty tissue and usually temporary. It's simply caused by the hormones that are pulsing through your body. It happens to two out of three guys, and it can last for two or three years. It’s called gynecomastia.

    At some point, your voice will get deeper. It may crack occasionally along the way, but that problem will pass, too. Most boys grow some facial hair eventually, and the hair on your body will probably get thicker.

    You’ll probably begin to sweat more under your arms, and your sweat may smell different. This is easy to deal with — you can shower or bathe more often and use deodorant or antiperspirant if you don't like the smell.

    Many teenagers develop pimples (acne) during puberty. If you have problems controlling your pimples, call your health care provider for help — there are many medicines available that can reduce or eliminate acne.

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    What’s an ejaculation?

    Boys and men become sexually excited by sexual thoughts, wet dreams, masturbation, or sexual activity with another person. Their penises fill with blood and get hard and erect. Boys and young men get erections for no reason at all. “Spontaneous erections” can be very embarrassing.

    A sticky liquid spurts out of erect penises if men get very excited.  This is called ejaculation or "coming."  The liquid is semen or "cum," not urine.  Ejaculation and urination cannot happen at the same time. 

    Semen contains sperm and is also called “ejaculate.”  Boys and men may have orgasms without ejaculation.  They may ejaculate without orgasm.  A hard penis becomes soft again after orgasm.  And it will become soft again even without orgasm or ejaculation.

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    What’s a wet dream?

    At some time during puberty you may start having sexy dreams.  Your penis will get hard, and you’ll ejaculate (spurt semen). This is completely normal. While it might be embarrassing to get the bed sheets wet with semen, most boys occasionally have a wet dream. You'll have them less and less as you get older and as you have more ejaculations while you're awake.

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    How does puberty affect my emotions, moods, and thoughts?

    During puberty, you'll start to have more sexual thoughts and urges. You'll develop an attraction to girls or guys, or girls and guys, and you may discover what having a crush on someone feels like.

    You may start to feel things more intensely. One minute you may feel on top of the world, and the next minute you may feel pretty down in the dumps.

    Some teens find that they are sexually aroused a lot when they’re going through puberty. While being aroused a lot can feel embarrassing or out of control, rest assured that it’s normal. As you get older and get more used to arousal, it will seem less intrusive and more in control. Some teens choose to masturbate to release sexual feelings, and others just wait for the feelings to pass.

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    How can I deal with my changing body and moods?

    One good place to start is to talk with your parents or another trusted adult. Your parents have been through it — they can let you know what to expect and give you tips on how to deal with changes. Older brothers or cousins can be helpful, too.

    Many teens find that writing, acting, or making music and art are good ways to manage stress and help them feel more in control of their moods. Your changing hormones may leave you hyper and restless, and finding a creative outlet — or doing something physical, like dancing or playing sports — can be a great way to release excess energy.

    Remember: although your feelings may seem out of control, your changing moods are a normal part of growing up. It's a good idea to share your feelings with someone you trust, especially if you feel very sad or frustrated. Everyone goes through puberty, so you should be able to find an adult who understands to help you sort out your feelings.

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    When does puberty stop?

    It can take up to 20 years of age for all the changes that happen during puberty to take place.

    Puberty doesn't happen all at once — it happens in stages. So a guy may show some signs of puberty at an early age (like a voice that's starting to crack), but may not show other signs of puberty until he is much older (like growing facial hair).

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