Puberty can be a pretty scary and confusing time for a young man. Your body is changing a lot. Puberty usually starts between the ages of 11 and 15 for boys and takes about 5 to 7 years for all the changes to happen. So, do not stress if all your friends have started except you. If you are younger than 9 and puberty has already started or older than 15 and puberty has not started, talk to your doctor.
When puberty starts, a structure in your brain releases hormones called luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH). FSH and LH tell your testicles that it is time to start producing sperm. When you are an adult, you may decide to have a baby and why you need sperm. It takes a long time for your body to grow into an adult body. So, it is important that you start maturing now.
Your body will start to go through many changes in the next few years. It usually begins with enlargement of your penis and testicles and growth of dark, coarse hair at the base of your penis and on your testicles. Your penis will gradually start to get longer and your testes will get larger and hang lower between your legs. Then you will start growing hair in your armpits and you may have a growth spurt sometime between 10 and 16 years old. Your voice might get deeper and may crack. Your hair and skin will get oiler. Your chest and shoulders will get wider and your body will become more muscular. Your sweat glands will change, which means you will start having body odor all the time and will need to shower more often.
Some boys also find that the tissue under their nipples may become tender. This is called gynecomastia and is usually not permanent. It should go away in about six months. Do not worry if this happens to you. It happens in about 50% of boys. If it does not go away after a few months, talk to your doctor.
When you are going through puberty, you will also start to get erections. Erections are what happens when your penis gets hard. Blood rushes to your penis and makes it get stiff and stick up. This can happen because you' are excited or nervous. You might notice that you get erections when you are around girls you like. They can also happen randomly and can be embarrassing. You should know that erections are normal and most men get them. When you are young, they can be a little hard to control and come at awkward times. As you get older, it should get easier to control your erections.
You will also notice that your penis is producing sperm and, if you get really excited or you touch yourself, you may ejaculate. Ejaculation fluid is the white, sticky stuff that comes out of your penis. If you start to get this, do not worry. It is normal.
If you have ejaculations at night while you are sleeping, it is called a nocturnal emission or "wet dream". It can happen because you had a dream that was really exciting, but it can also happen randomly. Do not worry if this happens. It is perfectly natural. Just change the sheets, put on new pajamas and go right back to sleep. As you get older, you may find this happens less often or stops altogether. Do not worry if it still happens. Some adults get wet dreams, too. Also do not worry if you don't get them, either. They do not happen to everyone.
Becoming an adult is more than your body changing. Click here to learn more about how to take care of yourself now that you are becoming an adult.
You may be feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you are worried that the changes are going to be painful or scary. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is important that you find an adult you trust to talk to about what you are going through. This can be your mom, dad, grandfather, uncle, older cousin or brother, teacher, coach, pastor, or school counselor. If you trust them and you feel comfortable talking to them, ask for their help and advice. Be sure to tell your parent or guardian if you are having erections, growing pubic hair or your penis has changed size or shape because you may need to see the doctor so they can check that everything is developing the way it should. And remember, what you are experiencing is normal and everyone must go through this to become an adult.