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Information » Health » Sexuality and Sexual Health » Puberty



Puberty

Puberty is when your body changes from being a child to a young adult.

It can be a confusing time, but it happens to everyone.

The change happens when the body starts producing chemicals called sex hormones.

Everyone changes at his or her own pace but puberty usually starts earlier with girls than boys.

Puberty can start at any age from eight to 16-years-old, but it generally occurs between the ages of nine and 13-years-old, although there is no ‘right age’.

Physical changes in girls

Breasts

  • The first sign of puberty in girls is when your breasts begin to grow and you may find you need a bra
  • It is perfectly normal during puberty to have one breast larger than the other and they will even out, as you get older
  • Your breasts will take years to reach their final size and shape

Hair

  • Hair will also begin to grow on your pubic area in between your legs, in your armpits and on your legs

Body shape

  • Your body shape will also begin to change. Your hips will get wider and you will grow taller and heavier. This is a normal part of puberty

Spots

  • Spots are common during puberty and will usually become less frequent as you get older. See Skin and Skin section for more information

Periods

  • During puberty, your ovaries will also begin to produce eggs (known as ovulation) and girls will start their periods (or menstrual cycle). See Periods & PMS section for more information

Physical changes in boys

Hair

  • One of the first signs of puberty in boys is hair growth. This includes the face, under the arms and around the base of the penis
  • Voice

    • Boys will also find that their voice will ‘break’ and become much deeper

    Body

    • It is perfectly normal for the body to begin to sweat more during puberty and boys may find they need to wash more often. You might also find you get more spots. See the Skin and Spots section (4.d.11) and the Body Odours section for more information

    Penis and testicles

    • The penis will get thicker and longer during puberty. Every body is different and there is no ‘right size’ because they vary so much
    • The testicles will start to produce millions of sperm each day, which swim in a creamy fluid called semen
    • See the Male Genitalia section for more info

    Erections and ejaculation

    • Erections begin during puberty and often happen in the morning or when sexually aroused
    • It causes the penis to stiffen and stick out away from the body
    • Ejaculation is when a small amount of semen is squirted out of an erect penis and can occur during sex, masturbation or even in your sleep
    • Ejaculation during your sleep happens without your knowledge is completely natural during puberty. It is known as a ‘wet dream’

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