Puberty: what are the physical changes in boys?

Information on what happens to a boy's body during puberty.

What is puberty?: 

Puberty is the changes that occurs to a body when moving from childhood to adulthood. There are also a lot of emotional changes that occur during this time too.

There are a lot of changes happening during puberty. Your body starts producing hormones, you get taller, your voice deepens, and changes occur to your penis and testicles. 

Boys tend to start puberty a bit later than girls. Most boys begin puberty between the ages of 10 and 15, and the process can continue into your late teens and early 20s.

What changes happen to the body?: 

You can tell when you’ve hit puberty when you start getting taller and your shoulders broaden out. Your muscles will grow and you will start to grow hair in areas of the body that you didn't have hair before. 

The rate you grow at is different for everyone but boys usually keep on growing throughout puberty. Often boys find that their arms, legs and feet grow before the rest of their body. With all this growing you might find that your joints are painful. This will pass once you’ve stopped growing.

At some point during puberty you’ll also find that the area around your nipples feels puffy and sensitive. Don’t worry, you’re not growing 'man' boobs. It’s a perfectly normal process and it’ll settle down in time. 

What happens to my voice?: 

At some point, your voice will ‘break’. You might find that the tone and pitch of your voice switches between low and high in a way that you can’t control. This might be embarrassing if it happens in public but overtime this will time!

What happens to my genitals?: 

During puberty your penis will lengthen and thicken too, whilst your testicles will also grow.  

Overtime you will have erections. Thisis when the penis goes stiff, gets longer and wider, sticking out and up from the body. This happens when a man is sexually excited and is caused by the penis filling with blood. During puberty an erection can sometimes come from nowhere, usually when you least want it! Don't worry, this can happen to anyone and as time passes you'll be able to control it. 

It is during puberty that you will start to ejaculate. This is when a small amount of semen squirts out of the head of an erect penis. This can happen involuntarily during a ‘wet dream’. Most teenage boys, at some point, will have woken up to find that they’ve ejaculated (come) on the bed sheets. This might be embarrassing but it’s completely normal. 

Many guys touch or stroke their penis to cause an erection and orgasm. This is masturbation. Despite what you may have heard, masturbating isn’t bad for you and you definitely won’t go blind!

The foreskin is a flap of skin that surrounds the head of the penis and you should be able to pull it back to expose the head. If you don’t wash underneath the foreskin then a smelly yellow substance can build up called smegma. It’s not bad for you but it can smells bad so you should wash it every day. 

Growing hair: 

You’ll find that hair grows on lots of different parts of your body that you didn't have hair on before. 

You’ll start getting facial hair. Some guys get more than others but at some stage you’ll need to start shaving. You’ll get hair under your arms, on your chest and thick pubic hair around your genitals and inner thighs. 

Developing spots and smells: 

During puberty your body will start to sweat more. Sweat that is left on the skin and clothes starts to smell pretty quickly so it’s a good idea to wash daily and change your clothes and underwear regularly. Wearing a deodorant will help a lot!

You may also find that your skin starts getting oily. Most people get spots and some go onto develop acne. If your acne is bad then discuss it with your doctor. They may be able to prescribe you cream or tablets to help with it.

More help and information: 

Teenage Health Freak- You can get more info about the changes your body will go through from the Teenage Health Freak Website. 

NHS Choices: Puberty Symptoms - You can learn more about the symptoms of puberty on boys and girls, and the different stages they go through on the NHS Choices website.