13 Feb Puberty: the gender differences
As boys and girls go through puberty (the term referring to the age “at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction of offspring.” Dictionary.com), many changes happen. This post is about all of those changes. You can read about them in full in the separate Puberty Post. Here we are giving you a short summary to help prepare you for the other reproductive sub-posts.
Learning about the changes that each of you goes through (not just what your gender goes through, but the other gender as well) is important for many reasons. Top of that list of reasons is to develop compassion and understanding for what the other is experiencing. Yes, each of you has your own unique reproductive system, but you’re both going through A LOT of changes. Together.
Below is a list of the general body changes to expect as a girl going through puberty.
Don’t forget the word GENERAL. Some girls get their periods as early as age 7. Some girls don’t get their periods until age 16. So, don’t panic! Everyone is different. (Thank goodness. Life would be really boring if we were all the same.)
- Growth spurt begins at about age 10 and can last for up to five years.
- A growth of eight to ten inches added to her height.
- Development of small breasts and curves in her figure.
- Underarm and pubic hair grows.
- Her first menstrual period begins.
- A layer of fat develops on her body in preparation for child-bearing years.
- Her ovaries release large amounts of estrogen and progesterone.
During puberty, a boy will experience the following changes:
- His voice begins to become deeper.
- Hair grows under arms, on the face and in the pubic region.
- His testicles enlarge; the skin of the scrotum thickens and becomes redder in color.
- His penis enlarges and the boy is able to ejaculate (release) semen (thereby enabling him to create a child).
- Muscles develop that increase the size of the neck and widen out the shoulders. (Adolescent boys are, in general, physically stronger than girls – bummer for some, but true.)
- His testes and adrenal glands manufacture testosterone (the male sex hormone).
Boys begin their growth spurt typically two years after girls do. So, most boys begin around age 12, but it is perfectly normal to begin at age 15. So, don’t worry about it. We pretty much all end up where we need to be anyway.
What do you think about all these changes? Okay, now how do you FEEL about them?