Adolescence is a time of growth, transition and change for everyone. At this age the changes will effect both the body and mind. Because things may be happening so fast, some people may get confused or concerned about being “different” or “not normal”. We hope with this information we can increase understanding and answer questions.
We also encourage young people to talk about their concerns and confusion with a parent, guardian or other trusted adults.
The male’s Testes produce the male sex hormone – testosterone. The testes are about the size of a small plum. Sometimes one testicle will hang lower than the other – this is normal. A male will begin producing sperm at the beginning of puberty. Several million sperm become mature in a man’s testes each day. Testes are sometimes called “balls.”
The Scrotum holds the testes. The scrotum looks like a loose pouch of wrinkled skin. The scrotum holds the testes and sperm outside the body to keep it slightly cooler. A male may notice that when he is cold the skin of the scrotum shrinks, drawing the testes closer to the body to keep them warm.
The Penis is small and soft except when sexually excited or aroused. During sexual excitement more blood flows into the penis and it becomes harder and stands out from the body (an erection). When males are born, skin covers the top of the penis. This is called foreskin. Some babies and adults have this foreskin cut off so the top of the penis shows. This procedure is called circumcision. A circumcised penis looks slightly different than an uncircumsized penis. Even so, there is not much of a difference between a circumcised and un-circumcised penis.
The Urethra is the tube inside the penis. Both urine, or pee, and semen travel through the urethra and come out the hole in the tip of the penis. Urine and sperm do not come out at the same time. Your body only lets one liquid come out at the same time.
The Epididymis is a coiled tube which is located over the back of each teste inside of the scrotum. The sperm move from the testes into the epididymis where they mature for about two weeks.
The Vas deferens is a continuation of the epididymis. These tubes bring the mature sperm from the scrotum to the urethra.
The Seminal vesicles are glands that produce a nourishing fluid that helps the sperm move out of the body. The vas deferens passes by the seminal vesicles and pick up the fluid.
The Prostate gland also produces a fluid for the sperm. This gland is about the size of a walnut. The vas deferens also passes by the prostate and picks up the fluid.
Male Body Changes
All boys go through stages of change. These stages start and stop at different ages for everyone. The ages listed below give you a general idea of the changes, but not follow these age ranges. This is normal. If you become very concerned about your body changes you should talk to your parents, guardian or a health care professional.
Stage one (9-12 years old)
- Usually there are no outside signs of development.
- Some boys, during this phase grow a lot.
- Inside there are some changes going on – hormones become active and testicles begin to mature.Stage Two (9-15 years old)
- During this phase a boy may grow taller and notice changes in body shape. This is normal as the body begins adding muscle and fat.
- Often the area around the boy’s nipples, the areola, will become larger and darken a little.
- A man’s testicles and scrotum also begin to get bigger.
- The penis is not getting much larger yet. This is normal.
- Small hairs may begin to grow at the base of the penis. The hairs are often fine and straight rather than course and curly.Stage Three (11-16 years old) A time for lots of growth and change.
- Penis begins growing, mainly in length rather than width.
- Testes and scrotum are still growing.
- Pubic hair now getting darker and courser and spreading along the base of the penis until it reaches the area where the legs join the torso.
- Continue growing taller,
- Body shape is still changing as the shoulders become broader and more muscled,
- Face looking more adult,
- Voice is deepening and may “crack’ – pitch becoming hard to control. This may feel embarrassing but is very normal,
- Facial hair developing on upper lip,
- Body hair increasing.Stage Four (11-17 years old)
- Penis begins growing in width as well as length,
- Testes and scrotum continue growing,
- Pubic hair continues to spread out in pubic area,
- First ejaculation, or the first time semen leaves the penis, orgasm, may happen during this phase. This is a sign that the male is beginning to produce sperm. This might happen at night during a wet dream or a nocturnal emission, or it might happen during masturbation.
- Voice deepens further and become more controllable
- Skin may become oilier
- Facial hair grows on chin and upper lip.Stage Five (14-18 years old)
- Appearance more like adult males,
- Reach adult height,
- Genitals have an adult appearance,
- Full facial hair starts to grow. Most boys start shaving during this time.The final stages of growth and development often happen after 18 years with full height, and body and facial hair as late as 20 or 21 years old.EjaculationEjaculation is a sign that a boy’s body is making sperm. A boy might have his first ejaculation when he is masturbating, or touching his penis in a pleasant way, or when he is asleep. When a boy ejaculates when he is asleep, this is called nocturnal emission or wet dreams. This is really normal. It’s the body’s way of practicing all of the new things it’s able to do. You might wake up and find that your sheets are damp. When a boy has a wet dream, about a tablespoon of semen comes out of his penis, maybe during a sexy dream. This happens to all boys and is very normal.
- It is hard to see the area between a woman’s legs. This area is called a vulva. It is easier for a woman to see her vulva if she uses a hand mirror to look between her legs.The Vulva, two soft folds of skin and fat, include the clitoris, the opening to the vagina, the opening to the urethra, and the labia.There are three openings in the female genital area, the opening to the urethra, the opening to her vagina, and her anus.
The Labia are two sets of soft folds of skin inside the vulva. The labia cover the inner parts of the vulva and are often called the lips of the vagina.
The Clitoris is a small mound of skin about the size of a pea. The clitoris is located towards the front the body under the labia or lips of the vagina. The clitoris is very sensitive and when rubbed can make a woman feel tingly, warm, nice and sexy.
The opening to the Urethra is really small. This is where urine or pee comes out of a woman.
The opening to the Vagina is a larger opening than the urethra. This is the passage way between the outside of a woman’s body and her uterus inside her body. This is the opening that a male’s penis goes in during vaginal intercourse and also the opening through which a baby is born.
The Anus is a small opening through which feces, or poop, leaves a female’s body
Women have two Ovaries which is where eggs are produced. The egg, if fertilized by a male’s sperm, can grow into a baby. The ovaries are each about the size of a strawberry. There is one ovary on each side of the woman’s uterus.
The are passageways where the egg travels on its way to the uterus. One end of each of the tubes almost touches each ovary. The other end of each tube is connected to the uterus. Each tube is about the width of a drinking straw.
The Uterus is made of strong muscles and is hollow inside. It is connected to the fallopian tubes. The uterus is the place where a developing baby grows. The uterus is very stretchy so as the baby grows it stretches to fit the baby. The uterus is sometimes called the womb.
The Cervix is the tip of the uterus, in the back of the vagina. If you touch the cervix it feels like the tip of your nose, with a small dip in the middle. This dip is actually a small hole – entry way – into the uterus. Sperm can travel through this small hole and into the uterus to meet up with the female’s egg. This can result in pregnancy.
Female Body Changes
All girls go through stages of change. These stages start and stop at different ages for everyone. The ages listed below are only guesses and not everyone will follow these age ranges. This is normal. If you become concerned about your body changes you should talk to your parent or guardian, or a health care professional.
Stage One ( 8-11 years old)
- No outside signs of development,
- Ovaries inside her body are enlarging,
- Hormones are beginning to be produced,Stage Two (8-14 years old)
- Beginning breast development,
- Nipples of the breasts become slightly raised and tender, and the darker skin around the nipple (the areola) may increase in size,
- Growth in height and weight. Some females get upset when they notice the weight gain. But the weight and figure changes are healthy and necessary for the next stages of growth. Hips become rounded and broader,
- Pubic hair begins to grow – at first straight and fine,Stage Three (9-15 years old)
- Breast growth continues,
- Pubic hair increase, becoming course and curly,
- Growth in height and weight continue,
- Vagina increases in size and begins discharging a very small amount of whitish fluid. This is normal, it is the way a female’s vagina cleans itself,
- Menstruation – often called a “period” – will begin for some. First periods, no matter what stage they begin in, are often irregular – sometimes at regular intervals with the same amount of flow and other times, more far apart with more or less flow,Stage Four (10-16 years old)
- Breast development continues,
- Dark area around the nipple may form a mound rising above the rest of the breast. This is normal though not all female’s experience this. It can also last for different lengths of time for different people,
- Pubic hair thickens and covers the genital area,
- Under-arm hair begins to grow,
- Many more females begin to menstruate or have their periods.
- Stage Five (12-19 years old)
- Fewer changes during this phase,
- Some females still grow in height or grow more pubic hair,
- Menstruation or periods usually become more regular and predictable,Menstruation/ Your PeriodMany females think of their period as that “bad” time of the month, when they have to deal with bloody discharge from their vagina and use pads and or tampons. The bloody discharge or flow is one part of a larger cycle that a female’s body goes through every month.
The menstruation cycle involves the whole body not just the inside reproductive parts. The cycle is controlled by the part of the brain that controls the hormones. These hormones tell the egg to grow. These eggs have been in the female’s ovary since birth. When the eggs mature, one of the two ovaries releases the egg. This is called ovulation. Ovulation occurs once a month. Occasionally, both ovaries release an egg. This can result in twins if both the eggs are fertilized by sperm from a male. All eggs are about the size of a grain of sand. When the ovary releases the egg, it goes down into the fallopian tube. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus. If there is sperm present from sexual intercourse, the egg will be fertilized in the fallopian tube.
If the egg is fertilized it continues to move down the fallopian tube into the uterus. In the uterus the fertilized egg will stick to the soft wall of the uterus and grow into a baby.
If the egg does not meet a sperm and become fertilized soon after it leaves the ovary, it moves to the uterus where it breaks down. Every month the uterus prepares a soft lining to receive the fertilized egg. And every month, as the unfertilized egg breaks down the egg and the soft lining leave the uterus. This is called a period or menstruation.
Menstruation can last a few days to a week depending on the person. Once the period begins, the cycle of releasing an egg starts all over again. The length of the cycle can vary but is usually about 28 days or one month long.
Changing Mind of Males and Females
The mind is changing just as fast as the body during the teen years. This can mean changes in thinking and feeling. Many young people have new feelings. They may experience rapidly changing feelings – sometimes feeling good is quickly replaced by feeling down and discouraged. The new feelings and quickly changing moods are both normal. It can be hard to understand these feelings. Getting help from a supportive and accepting friend, your parents or guardian or some other trusted adult can make a big difference during these times of rapid change. Professional help can often be the quickest and best way to make sense of what’s going on and how best to deal with the changing you.
Normal Changes to Expect During the Teen Years
- Concern with being liked by others
- Worry about knowing who you are and what type of person you want to become,
- Feeling negative about yourself as you struggle with different emotions,
- Wanting more privacy and independence from your family,Changing how often or the way you spend time with your family can lead to conflicts with parents, guardians and other family members. Remember, parents care about their maturing children. They may even be having a hard time watching their children grow more distant. Conflicts can be avoided if you can talk with your parents about your feelings and concerns.