As you get older, your body changes. This is part of growing up. It's called puberty.

What Is Puberty?

Puberty is when a person's body changes as they go from being a kid to an adult. Boys become men. Girls become women. The changes of puberty happen slowly.

When things change, it can feel a little scary, but knowing what to expect can help you feel better. When you have questions, ask your mom, dad, doctor, or another trusted adult.

What Will Happen to My Body?

During puberty, your body goes through many changes. This is healthy and normal. 

First, the skin on your face will get oily and you may get pimples. Your voice will sound lower.

Hair will grow on body parts other than your head. It will grow on your face, under your arms, on your chest, and in your private area (the part of your body covered by underwear.) Your arms and legs will get hairier. When you sweat, it will smell stinky, especially under your arms.

Your penis and testicles (balls) will get bigger. Sometimes your penis will get bigger and hard. This is called an erection.

Illustration: Changes during puberty for boys

Why Does My Penis Get Hard?

Sometimes erections just happen. Other times, they happen when you touch your penis or something rubs against it. It's called ejaculation when a sticky liquid called semen comes out of your penis.

When you ejaculate at night in your sleep, it is called a wet dream. Erections, ejaculation, and wet dreams are a normal part of puberty.

How Will I Feel?

Puberty might cause strong emotions, like feeling angry. You may have other feelings too:

  • You might feel happy one minute and sad the next.
  • You might think another person is cute, and like them a lot.
  • You might feel like touching yourself in a private area.

These feelings are normal and part of growing up.

What's Private?

Private means when you are alone. Your bedroom and the bathroom are private places. You also have private parts of your body, which are covered by your underwear. Some of the changes that come with puberty need to be taken care of in private.

What to Do in Private

Touch yourself. It's OK to touch your private parts when you are alone in the bathroom or your bedroom with the door closed. Ejaculations and wet dreams happen in private. Do not touch your private parts when in public. Public places are where other people are around, like a classroom, restaurant, or playground.

Your mom or dad or doctor may need to check your private area to keep it clean and healthy. No one else should touch your private area, and you should never touch another person's private area. If anyone (even an adult) ever touches your private area in a way that makes you feel bad, say "No!" and tell your mom, dad, or other trusted adult.

When you are older and ready to have a girlfriend or boyfriend, talk to a parent, doctor, or other trusted adult to learn about sex and healthy relationships.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2019 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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