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Puberty – Common questions from guys

Please note: In this article, we are working towards using inclusive language. However, we understand that it may confuse readers who are not used to it. Since we may be at different places in our understanding and inclusive language is not common just yet, we would like to provide some context to help make it easier to understand while also being respectful and careful. 

Context: Throughout this article, the term “boy” is mentioned, which some may interpret as a person with a penis. Please know that not everyone who identifies as a “boy” or “man” has this anatomical part, which is why we are shifting to using the term “people or bodies with penises” instead. People are different and identify in ways that best make them feel who they truly are. Indigenous people knew this pre-colonization, and we are remembering it now.

Puberty is when your body starts to change as you move from being a kid to an adult. Some people go through puberty 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.

When do boys start puberty? Boys usually start puberty when they’re around 10 or 12 years old, although some start a little sooner and others a little later. Boys usually start puberty later than girls.

What happens to a boy’۪s body during puberty? There are many different changes that happen as boys go through puberty. For example, your voice will get deeper, you’ll probably begin to sweat more under your arms, and many people in general will start to get pimples and grow hair under their arms. Also your testicles and penis will get bigger, and pubic hair will grow on your testicles and above your penis. These changes happen because our bodies release different growth hormones, and all of these changes are normal.

How does puberty affect my emotions, moods, and thoughts? During puberty many teenagers start to see the world in different ways. It’۪s normal to have more sexual thoughts, and you might realize that you are attracted to girls, guys or both. Also you might start to feel things more intensely. One minute you may feel on top of the world, and the next minute you might feel down in the dumps.

What’s an ejaculation? Some people may become sexually excited by sexual thoughts, wet dreams, touching themselves, and sexual activity with another person. When people with penises are sexually excited, their penises fill with blood and get hard. This is called an erection. Ejaculation (or “coming”) is when a sticky liquid spurts out of an erect penis. This liquid is called semen or “cum.” It’s made up of sperm and a thick liquid that can help the sperm survive outside of the body.

What’s a wet dream?
At some time during puberty you may start having sexual dreams. While you are asleep, your penis will get hard, and you’ll ejaculate (spurt semen). This is completely normal. While it might be embarrassing to get your sheets wet with semen, it is normal for most people with penises to occasionally have wet dreams.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was adapted from PlannedParenthood.org, a website that provides education about reproductive and sexual health. 

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