Puberty is the series of changes our bodies and brains go through as we grow to become sexually mature adults.
So what’s going on inside us? Why does puberty make us feel the way it does? When should it start and how quick will it happen?
When does puberty happen?
In boys and young men, puberty can start between the ages of 9 and 14. These changes can also happen to people of all gender identities, including some young trans women and young non-binary people too.
The changes puberty brings don’t come overnight and happen at different speeds in different people.
If you’ve not shown any signs of starting puberty by the age of 15, speak to your doctor.
What causes puberty to happen?
When we hit puberty, glands inside us start pumping out chemicals called hormones.
These chemicals make different parts of our bodies change in different ways. They also affect our feelings and emotions.
What are the main changes in puberty?
Apart from general growth spurts, major things we can see from the outside include:
- Testicles and penis get bigger
- We grow armpit, facial and pubic hair
- We get a deeper sound as our voice breaks
- We get more muscular
- Chin gets squarer and brow heavier
Unfortunately, we also get:
- Greasier skin
- More sweat and body odour
On the inside, our testicles develop and start working so that we start to produce sperm.
From this point onwards, and so long as we’re healthy, we can now get someone pregnant.
How does puberty affect my mind and feelings?
Hormones also affect the way we feel.
You might encounter:
- Mood swings
- Low moods
- Problems with self confidence
- Strong crushes on people
All of these things are normal, but shouldn’t make your life a misery.
If the way you feel means you’re missing out on things you used to enjoy or are taking risks you know you shouldn’t, it’s worth speaking to someone about what’s happening.
If you can’t speak to a trusted friend or adult, visit our #AyeFeel page to find people you can talk to over email, text, phone or online chat.
Will puberty affect my sexuality?
Puberty is about becoming sexually mature, so it’s natural to think about sex a bit – or a lot!
This can include wondering about our sexuality and many people will have feelings about people of the same sex.
It doesn’t always mean you’re gay or bisexual, but there’s no reason to feel bad about who you are or who you’re attracted to.
I can hardly stay awake – why?
Teenagers are often accused of being lazy because of the amount of time they spend in bed.
All the growing and other changes going on in the body take up huge amounts of energy, so more rest is needed.
This is why it’s important to sleep well.
Visit our page all about sleep to find out more about a good sleep routine.
I’m eating loads – why?
Your body is making new and bigger bits of itself all over so it’s little wonder we need more food.
It can’t make itself into a healthy adult out of junk either, so do the best you can to make sure you eat well.
I want to be alone more – why?
Every young person needs time and space to figure out how they feel about themselves and the changes they’re going through. Some need more time than others.
How to get the space you need is another matter and can be tricky.
Who experiences these signs of puberty?
It’s not just boys and young men who experience these signs of puberty – it can also be a reality for people of all gender identities, including some young trans women and non-binary young people. Everyone’s experience is unique and there is no ‘right’ way to feel. LGBT Youth Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing have lots of information about your experiences.
For more information on taking good care of yourself, check out Getting the Basics Right.