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The following is a rough outline of typical development. However, some boys may begin puberty at age 9 while others won't start until they're 16. Certain rates of development can run in families and can depend on nutrition. If you stray from the following schedule, don't be alarmed. Everyone develops at their own pace. Boys that develop late might end up being the tallest in the class. No matter when you start, you will cover the following stages at your own pace until you've become a full-grown man.
10 to 12
Higher levels of the hormone, testosterone, produced in the testes, begin early changes in the external sex organs. The penis testes and pubic hair begin to grow.
You may acquire a strong desire for sex. You are being subjected to high levels of testosterone before your brain has learned to cope with the resulting sex drive. This can interfere with your ability to hold a conversation with a girl leaving you tongue-tied. Sometimes your desire for sex may seem unbearable. (To help satisfy this desire, see masturbation.)
11 to 12
Within the next 13 months or so, your testes grow faster. Your scrotum thins out, becomes looser, develops more wrinkles, and might become darker or redder. As a result of these changes, it will progressively hang slightly lower to supply the testes with a cooler environment away from the body. This cooler temperature is more conducive to sperm production. Pubic hair, similar to the hair on your head, begins around the base of the penis. With time it will become more dense, course and curly.
You've been able to have erections all your life. During this stage of puberty, your erections will occur more frequently. Some boys experience up to 20 erections a day. Erections don't always occur when interacting with a girl. They can occur at practically any time during any activity. If you pop an erection when wrestling with another boy, don't sweat it. It doesn't mean anything. Erections are often associated with non-sexual emotions such as excitement. At night, testosterone levels are in overdrive. A dream or full urinary bladder can give you a very healthy erection by the time you wake up. This is commonly referred to as "morning wood."
You'll achieve a surplus of testosterone, which you can convert into estrogen. Estrogen promotes bone and muscle growth. With a new supply of estrogen, you'll experience a rapid growth spurt. With an earlier supply of estrogen, girls start their growth spurt between ages 10 and 11, so initially they have a head start. You might be looking up to most girls at age 12, but that won't last too long. The growth plates in your bones will begin to grow rapidly starting with the bones at your hands and feet, followed by the lower arm and leg bones, then the upper arm and leg bones, then the hips and shoulders, and finally the entire trunk and chest. You might feel a little awkward and uncoordinated during this time because the bones and muscles in your extremities may be proportionately large and because your brain will need time to adapt to your growing skeleton. Like a puppy who grows huge feet, you will eventually finish your growth spurt and once again feel physical harmony throughout your body.
During your growth spurt, high levels of testosterone make the fibrous strands within your muscle cells multiply, increasing your muscle mass. High levels of testosterone will also make you more aggressive. You may feel an urge to fight with other boys. This of course isn't recommended. Instead you might try releasing your aggressive energy during a competitive sport. Contact sports are especially effective at easing aggressive tension, unless your bones and muscles happen to be developing slower than the rest of the team. Have patience. Your growth spurt will come soon enough. In the mean time try other forms of exercise to soothe the savage beast within.
12 to 13
Within the next 10 months or so, the penis starts to grow longer, the testes continue to grow and the scrotum continues to darken in color. At this time one teste might be noticeably lower than the other. If it is, thank the force that designed you, since this will prevent collision between the testes during running, walking and other activities. On the scrotum and parts of the penis you'll notice small dots or bumps on the skin's surface that may be light in color. These are either the locations of pubic hair growth, or skin glands that produce an oily sweat. This sweat produces the characteristic smell of the genitals. And these bumps are perfectly normal.
You will grow dark curly armpit hair. Once this occurs, the sweat from the armpit will collect within the hair. In fact, a person with armpit hair will trap 30 times more sweat than a person without it. Within the sweat attached to each hair, bacteria will breed. The waste produced from the bacteria will release the odor we call BO or body odor. Our ancestors found it attractive. However, people today find it very unpleasant, because we associate it with poor hygiene. (For ways to reduce body odor see Body odor)
Your pubic hair will grow more course and curly, spreading to your legs and possibly to your anus. You might develop your first long dark chest hair. This hair will continue to grow throughout your life spreading across your chest and possibly to your shoulders and back. The "peach fuzz" above your lip might grow thicker. When you get a couple long dark hairs sticking out of your neck, you can simply cut them off. In time you will need to start shaving, initially once a week, and by adulthood, about once a day. Ask your father or another man you know to give you some recommendations or tips. Be careful around the chin, voice box and lips (the lips can bleed for hours if cut). Every man depending on his race or genetics develops different amounts of chest and facial hair. Some remain fairly hairless while others develop a thick coat.
At some point your sexual organs mature to allow you to ejaculate. Your first ejaculation will be quite an overwhelming sensation as semen is forcibly pumped through your spermatic duct and urethra for the first time. This either occurs when you masturbate or have a "wet dream." When it happens, pat yourself on the back and say, "Congratulations!" Clean it up and go about your day. At this point you are physically able to get a girl pregnant through sexual intercourse, although you're probably going to want to wait until marriage for that.
13 to 14
Within the next 2 years or so, you'll experience your fastest period of growth, as much as 4 inches per year and at times as much as half an inch per month! The testes continue to enlarge. The penis grows both longer and wider. The glans at the end of the penis grow larger. The testes and reproductive glands become fully operational. Ejaculation can now be achieved through masturbation or wet dreams. You develop a "love trail" of thicker body hair from your pubic hair up to your navel.
14 or 15
Your voice box will grow to give you a deeper voice. As your brain adapts to the longer membranes within your voice box, you'll experience voice cracks. Once this happens, it won't be long before your brain has fully adapted and you've acquired a lower adult voice.
If you take part in competitive sports you will notice the competitive drive produced by your continuing high levels of testosterone. When you hear the cheer of the crowd, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up. Your adrenaline will pump when faced with a competitor. If you are victorious, your testosterone levels will rise and remain high resulting in a hormonal euphoric high. Testosterone levels have been known to rise during victory even within the victorious fans by 27%. If defeated your testosterone levels will plummet within 15 minutes leaving you in a state of depression. In this case, you simply must focus on the next competition and use your defeat as your motivation to train hard.
15 to 18
Your growth spurt begins slowing down. Your growing spurt lasts longer than that of girls, reaching a faster rate of growth within that time. By the end of your growing spurt you typically will have developed more muscle and broader shoulders than girls of the same age. Your penis, testes and scrotum will be reaching full adult size. At full maturity, your penis will be about 3.25 to 4.25 inches at rest and 5 to 7 inches while erect. When stressing over the size of your penis, remember...
By adulthood you will have 50% more muscle mass than women, while they'll have twice as much body fat as you. You'll be able to produce 1000 sperm per second. Your penis may become progressively larger at rest due to a decrease in the recoiling strength of your erectile tissues. You will progressively develop more body hair. You will have survived the pressures of adolescence, and will have put all your fears to rest now that you've completely developed into a fully developed man.
Boys can feel a lot of pressure to act like men. They are usually taught by the media from a young age that men need to provide and protect the family. Thus men must be physically and emotionally strong. The problem is girls get a head start on sexual development. The majority of guys go through the majority of their teen years looking up to girls. Because they are often physically smaller than their girl classmates, boys may try to display strength in other ways. You'll be happy to know that being a man does not entail showing off your muscles, picking fights and having the largest penis. The only way to truly be a man is to have the courage and self-respect to truly be yourself. This takes more courage than starting a fight. Skeptical? If someone insults you, which is more difficult? Immediately insulting him back and/or picking a fight with him? ...Or being the better person, and using words to convince him that the two of you could be friends. Returning harmful words or picking a fight is the easy way to satisfaction (unless you get pummeled), but it doesn't solve any problems. Trying to convince the aggressor that you and he can get along is a much more intellectually challenging action that has a better chance of solving the problem. People who lash out, or who represent the class bully are acting this way for a reason. They may have trouble at home. They may not feel like they fit in. They may feel like they constantly have to prove themselves or risk looking human. Instead of insulting his mother, try being nice to him. That will catch him more off guard than an insult. An insult would just give him another reason to hate you. Doing what you think is right, rather than doing what others expect, takes more courage and mental strength. This is the essence of being a man. To know who you are, to be proud of who you are, to act according to who you are, and to be responsible for those actions. During the teen years you are free to learn, to establish beliefs based on what you learn, and to refine your personality based on those beliefs. For the rest of your life, you will constantly discover and rediscover who you are and what you're capable of. Relax. Be nice. Live according to your values. And let yourself grow to be a man at a gradual natural pace. If you do this, hopefully your teen years will be a little more enjoyable and less stressful.