Female puberty has been oft-discussed, especially since it marks the beginning of menstruation. But even our male counterparts undergo several changes in their bodies when puberty strikes. For instance, a boy’s body beefs up, his voice turns heavier, and of course, he begins to mature sexually. But let’s understand this better, shall we?
When a boy turns 10 or so, the hypothalamus in his brain starts to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). When GnRH travels to the pituitary gland, it releases two other hormones - luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. In boys, these hormones make their way through the bloodstream to the testicles, and give them the signal to begin production of sperm and testosterone.
Signs of Puberty in Boys
Boys take their time to mature - their puberty begins at age 11 (on an average), though in several cases, puberty can strike early, when they are 9 or 10, or as late as 14 (it is considered normal). A lot of the changes that a boy’s body undergoes are very personal, and as a parent, one might not be able to spot them.
Coming to visible changes, the first thing one is likely to notice is his body shape. The boy will start gaining weight and growing taller. His shoulders will become broader and his muscles will also be more pronounced.
Another thing that will change considerably is his personal hygiene. He might have gotten away with not taking a shower earlier, but now it is important. He will sweat much more and will develop body odour. His hormones will also secrete more oil on his face, making it more prone to acne breakouts. This is the time when he must be particular about his skin-care routine.
Your son’s voice will also change drastically as he hits puberty - this is because his vocal cords and larynx gain some mass. Before his voice changes, it might crack and soar too.
Sexual Maturity in Boys
While this is an intimate change, boys will know they have hit puberty when their testicles and scrotum grow in size. Pubic hair will also appear, and the penis will grow in length and width. Studies suggest that a small section of boys also have tiny pearly bumps called papules on their penises. They look like pimples and are completely normal; also, they are permanent.
As the boy grows older, he will experience nocturnal emissions or wet dreams, in which he ejaculates in sleep. It isn’t necessary that he sees a sexual dream; it can happen otherwise too. It is a part of puberty and goes away with time. In addition, he might also have involuntary erections without any reason.
In addition, your son’s breast tissue might swell a little in the initial years, since some of his hormones change into estrogen. This is only temporary and goes away with time. In case his breast area seems swollen even later, it is better to get in touch with a medical practitioner.
Stages of Sexual Development
Teen boys develop physically in certain stages - these are called Tanner Stages:
Sexual Maturity Rating 1: This is the pre-puberty stage. In this case, the testes are small and the penis is more like a child. There is no pubic hair.
Sexual Maturity Rating 2 (10-15 years): During this stage, the testicles grow in volume and size. The penis grows in size (only slightly), the scrotum becomes reddened, thinner, and larger. There is little pubic hair.
Sexual Maturity Rating 3 (10-16 years): The testes continue to grow in size. The penis becomes longer and the scrotum is enlarged. The pubic hair is darker and curly.
Sexual Maturity Rating 4 (12-17 years): The testicles continue to grow, the scrotum becomes larger and darkens. Pubic hair is more coarse, thicker and curlier.
Sexual Maturity Rating 5: The testicles are of an adult size, so are the scrotum and penis.
In case a boy does not hit puberty by the time he turns 14, it means he has delayed puberty. Most boys who are healthy might eventually reach that stage in another year or so. For some, they may have inherited it from their parents, which is why they start puberty late. Those who do not hit puberty at the right stage are visibly shorter than others.
It is important that you know about Male Puberty, even if you are a woman. Because just as we expect men to understand our Periods, we should know what goes on with their bodies as well. Don’t you agree?