Boys to Men - For Boys ONLY ©
Answers to boys’ “What’s happening to my
body?” questions Spanish>> .pdf >>
1. What is puberty?
Puberty is the time when a boys’ body changes from a
child’s into a man’s. The boy’s body prepares
for the possibility of fatherhood.
2. What is a “growth spurt”?
A “growth spurt” happens before other
body changes. Boys grow faster, 2½ to 5 inches/yr.
It can last 2-3 years. Some boys grow taller until they are
20 years old.
3. Why does a boy's body change?
Your testicles make the hormone testosterone.
This causes your testicles, scrotum and penis to grow larger.
4. When will a boy grow?
Some begin to change at ten while others begin at fourteen.
Both are normal. Many mature at the same time as their parents.
Others begin earlier or later.
5. When does a boy's body stop growing?
Changes can occur over a couple of years. Some occur at a
slower rate or even take five or six years. All are normal.
6. What happens first?
To make testosterone, the testicles must get bigger. So the
first sign is a change in the growth of the testicles and
scrotum. As testicles get larger, the scrotal
sac hangs lower, gets looser, more wrinkly and reddens. Average
age for these changes is 11½ yrs. old.
7. One testicle is bigger. What’s wrong?
Testicles may not grow at the same rate. This is normal and
with time the testicles will get more even.
8. Why are the testicles and scrotum outside the
The testicles also make sperm. The sperm
can combine with an egg to make a baby. Sperm are the smallest
cells in body and need a cooler temperature than our normal
98.6 degrees. It is cooler outside of the body.
9. Why do the testicles change position?
The body protects sperm from heat and cold. A hot bath can
cause the scrotum to relax so the testicles hang lower. They
move away from the body’s heat so more cool air can
surround them to keep the sperm cooler. If
it is cold, the scrotum can tighten up to bring the testicles
closer to the body for warmth.
10. Why does one testicle hang lower?
Usually the left testicle hangs lower. This protects the testicles
from bumping each other when men walk. Most boys find they
are more comfortable wearing firm fitting underwear, a jockstrap,
or cup-shaped protector while exercising or playing sports.
11. When does the penis begin to change?
About 13 yrs. of age the penis gets longer and wider. About
a year later, the head of the penis enlarges and the penis
deepens in color. By 16 years of age the penis of most boys
is the adult size and shape.
12. How does the penis get hard (erect)?
The penis gets stiff, becomes hard and stands out. This is
called an erection. It happens quickly or
slowly. The penis has spongy tissue that can fill up with
blood and make the penis hard.
13. What causes the penis to get hard?
Sexy thoughts, pants rubbing against the penis or even going
to the bathroom can cause the penis to change shape. This
can also happen when boys are not thinking about anything
sexy or when they wake up in the morning. Sonograms now show
us that baby boys have erections while they are still inside
their mothers’ womb, several months before they are
14. What is the size of a man’s penis?
The grown man’s penis is usually between 3¼ and
4¼ inches in length. Nine out of ten men will have
a 5 to 7 inch penis when it is erect. The size of the soft
penis does not determine the size when it is erect. A 3¼
inch penis can gain three inches when it becomes erect and
a 4 inch penis can gain two inches when it is erect.
15. What is an ejaculation?
An ejaculation occurs when the muscles of the penis contract
to pump out the sperm. The ejaculate contains 300-500 million
sperm in creamy fluid called semen. Sperm make up only 3%
of ejaculate -- 97 % is fluid from the prostate and seminal
16. When does the hardness go away?
An erection can go away by itself or the boy can ejaculate.
If a man does not ejaculate, it can take seconds, minutes
or a half hour. The penis becomes completely soft when muscles
relax and the extra blood leaves the penis.
17. What are “wet dreams” and when do
boys start to get them?
Many boys have their first ejaculation during a wet
dream (13 yrs. of age). “Wet dreams”
make room for new sperm. They can happen at night while sleeping
or during a deep daytime nap. They do not happen when you
18. When does hair grow on a boy’s body?
Near 12 years of age, the hormone, testosterone, causes curly
hairs to begin to grow around the base of the penis. The hair
grows and gets darker, thicker and curlier. It grows on the
scrotum and may also grow around the anus. Hair can grow towards
the belly button and down towards the thighs.
19. When do you get hair on your face and underarms?
Between 14-16 years some boys notice facial hair at the outer
corners of their upper lips. For some this begins before 13
and for others, it may not begin until 19-20 yrs. Underarm
hair usually appears at the same time. A boy’s race
and family pattern determine the amount and pattern of pubic
and body hair growth.
20. Why does a boy's voice change?
Your larynx or voice box is the part of your throat where
your vocal cords are. Testosterone causes it to grow thicker
and longer. This usually happens at 14 or 15 yrs. old, but
it can happen earlier or later.
21. What are the small, pimple-like bumps that some
boys notice on the skin around their penis?
As the pubic hair begins to grow, some boys notice small raised
bumps that can look like pimples. These are tiny pubic hairs
trying to grow through the skin. Other boys may notice little
bumps or dots on the skin of the penis or scrotum. These are
oil and sweat glands that are beginning to develop.
22. Is breast change normal for boys?
The hormones can also cause the breast to change. The nipple
may get a little larger. The areola, the darker skin around
the nipple, will get darker in color and wider. Many notice
a small, round, tender lump under one or both of the nipples.
Some notice the breasts are swelling. This is not a sign that
something is wrong. In 1-1½ years any lumps, tenderness
or swelling goes away.
23. What can I do to stay healthy?
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Have five servings a day.
Don’t forget boys need strong bones. Have at least four
daily servings from the Milk Group. Try to drink
5 to 6 glasses of water each day.
Lack of water is #1 cause for daytime fatigue, dry skin &
Mary Lee O’Connell, CRNP - 8/04