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Puberty for boys

Puberty is a series of changes that your body goes through in your early teens which help you develop into a young man. Your body starts to produce hormones which change your body and can also affect your emotions.


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I love rugby. I play at school – we got Games on Thursdays… well… I used to. I started bunking off, cos the other boys were saying stuff about me in the showers. I didn’t want to be there.

I’m the smallest in my year, definitely. They’re all getting muscles and stuff, and I don’t have anything…not even, you know… down there.

When they laughed I felt really weird, like I was hot all over. It was horrible. Why am I the only one not growing? I hated myself.

I didn’t know who to talk to. I couldn’t tell my mates. They’d just laugh at me.

I saw a ChildLine ad on Bebo and I called them. I was nervous, so pretended it wasn’t about me.

But the counsellor was really good. He didn’t laugh or anything. We talked about it. He listened - it made me feel more normal.

He told me about what happens. I already knew bits of it, but he explained it differently. Said I didn’t have to worry. That it would happen one day and I would catch the other boys up. He even said that I might end up bigger than them … that would be cool.

I’m glad I talked to someone.


Boy shaving his faceWhen boys start puberty

Boys usually start puberty between the ages of 12 and 18. Some boys start puberty earlier and some later, everyone is different.

Puberty takes different lengths of time for everyone. Puberty might take a couple of years for all the changes to happen, or for some boys it will take longer and be more like four years. This is completely normal and doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with you.

When girls start puberty

Girls usually start puberty a bit earlier than boys - usually between 10 and 16 years old. Find out more about what happens to girls during puberty.


 You can start shaving whenever you have grown facial hair. You can buy razors and shaving gel or cream from supermarkets and chemists. If you have sensitive skin, you might have to be careful when shaving that you don't get a shaving rash. You might not need to shave much at first but at some point you may have to start shaving everyday (unless you are growing a beard of course!).

Voice changing

When your voice breaks this means that it gets deeper. It might happen quite quickly or it might take a while as your voice changes. During this time you might find it hard to control your voice and it might go very high or very deep when you don't want it to, but it will settle down eventually.

What will happen during puberty

You will go through lots of changes during puberty, some that are obvious to other people and some that only you will know about. Some of things that will happen to you are:

  • You will grow taller and bigger and you will become more muscular
  • Your voice will get deeper
  • You will grow hair under your armpits and around your penis and testicles (balls), which is called pubic hair
  • You will grow facial hair on your cheeks, chin and upper lip
  • Your penis and testicles (balls) will grow bigger
  • You may start to get erections when your penis goes hard and stiff - this can happen at any time, even when you are not thinking about sex
  • You might have 'wet dreams' which is when you ejaculate (come) and release sperm in your sleep
  • You might gets spots
  • You might sweat more
  • You might feel more moody.

  • Will I need to wear deodorant or antiperspirant?

     As you go through puberty you might find that you sweat more. This is because your sweat glands change and produce more sweat to help control your body's temperature. It's important to wash regularly and wear clean clothes so that you don't smell but you can also wear deodorant or antiperspirant if you are worried about smelling.

  • What size should my penis be?

    Penises are all shapes and sizes and there is no right size or shape. Whatever size your penis is, you are normal.  A cold temperature can affect the size of a penis and can make it smaller, but this is only temporary until it warms up again.

  • What is an erection?

    An erection is when your penis goes hard and stiff.  This usually happens when you are thinking about sex or someone that you fancy. It's normal for an erect penis to be slightly bent or curved and this is nothing to worry about.

  • What are sperm?

    Sperm are made in the testicles (balls) and make up the fluid (semen) that you ejaculate from your penis. Every time you ejaculate (come) you can release 100 million sperm!

  • Can I wee when I have an erection?

    No, it's not possible to wee while your penis is erect.  The penis has a valve which stops the wee passing through the penis and only allows sperm through while the penis is erect.

  • What is a ‘wet dream’ and why do they happen?

    A wet dream is when you get an erection and you ejaculate (come) while you are sleep. Usually wet dreams occur during dreams that have sexual images. Sometimes you might wake up from a wet dream, but often you will just sleep through it.

  • What is circumcision?

    A circumcised penis is one where the foreskin (the loose skin at the top of the penis) has been removed.  Some men have this done as part of their religion, such as Jews and Muslims. Some men might be circumcised because of a medical issue, such as if the foreskin was too small or they had an infection.

    If you are not circumcised, it's important to keep your foreskin clean so that you don't get any infections.  You should clean under your foreskin every day. If you notice any discharge (fluid) leaking from your penis, or that your penis smells fishy, you should go and see your doctor to get checked out.

  • I'm having lots of sexual thoughts and feelings, is this normal?

    It's normal to have sexual thoughts and feelings, especially during puberty when your body is changing. It can be confusing and strange at first but it isn't unusual. Your feelings should calm down after while when your body adjusts to the changes. Read more on our sex advice page.

  • What is masturbation?

    Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals and make yourself orgasm or come.  Both girls and boys masturbate and it's completely normal. It's a way of discovering your body and how it makes you feel and what kind of things make you feel good. Some people might say that it's wrong or that you shouldn't masturbate, but it's a normal part of life and not something to be ashamed of.

  • Who can I talk to about puberty?

    Sometimes you might have questions that you are too embarrassed to ask your teacher, parents or friends about. If you are worried or confused about anything it will help to talk about it.  If you can't talk to someone you know, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or contact us online and we will be able to help you. You can take a look at the puberty message board to see what other young people are asking about.

Other sites that could help:

Visit the Brook website to better understand what happens to your body during puberty and to learn more about your sexual health.
Brook - boys and young men

Puberty for boys message board

Find out what other young people are saying about puberty on the ChildLine message board. You can read what others have said or sign up to post your own message.

Go to the puberty for boys message board

How did this help?

How did this information about puberty help you?

Puberty for boys 


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