Body changes - Men
Some time between the age of 11 and 14 chemicals called hormones start to make changes to your body. Here's how it goes:
- Your muscles and bones start to become thicker and stronger
- You'll gain weight and get taller
- Hair will start to grow on your face, your legs, under your arms and around your pubic area
- You may start to get spots on your face, neck, chest and back
- Some men's voices change over night, while others take a few months to get deeper
- Your penis grows longer and thicker while your testicles get bigger. Your testicles are starting to produce more sperm, which means that you can fertilise an egg and cause a pregnancy during sex
- Although you can have erections from the time you're very young until you're very old, you may start to notice them a lot more, with all of the other body changes that are happening
- An erection is caused by blood rushing into the penis. It can happen any time, but you can try sitting down and concentrating on something else if it happens at an embarrassing time
- You'll also start to ejaculate (also called an orgasm), which means that when you are sexually excited, your muscles at the base of the penis will contract, and a fluid called semen (which has sperm in it) will come out of the end of your penis. This can start to happen around the age of 10 - 18
- Some young men ejaculate during masturbation or in their sleep - this is normal and nothing to worry about
Because these changes mean that you will be physically able to have sex (and get someone pregnant), you may be thinking about sexual relationships and want more information. You might also want to have a look at the listed websites or contacts for more information.
Body changes - Women
As you grow, you'll notice some pretty major changes in the way your body looks and works.
- Your sweat glands start working
- You start to grow hair under your arms and pubic area
- Your breasts develop
- Your periods start
- You might have acne
- You might gain muscle and fat around your hips and legs
Getting used to these changes can take a while. And although they are a normal part of growing up, a lot of girls and women find it hard to accept their bodies and they become too obsessed with their looks.
It's no wonder, when many of the images of women we see teach us that we need to be extremely thin, six feet tall, with 'perfect' features and skin. The problem is, that most women look nothing like the air brushed supermodels on the front of magazines.
Instead of comparing yourself to these unreal images, decide for yourself what is real beauty. What do you like about your friends, your mother, sister or other women you may be close to? Chances are, it has a lot more to do with how they act, what they believe in and how they feel, rather than how they look. Your body is with you for life. You can waste your time criticising yourself and running it down, or you can enjoy it, take care of it and end up feeling a lot happier with yourself.
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