Alright, perhaps this is a topic you get shy about. It might be a topic to discuss in a sex education class. But among the many reasons that make this topic important is that your physical development is related to your psychological development and emotional response to life. Plus, you’re going to go through it, if you haven’t already, and so it might be worth knowing the changes you’re going to encounter.
For instance, let’s say, if you’re female, your breasts are developing more so than the other girls, you’re likely going to have moments of embarrassment, feeling shy, and or just plain feeling weird. And if you’re a boy and all of the sudden you’ve got acne all over your face – one day you’re clear and the next day your face is covered with red dots, you might also feel embarrassed or shy. You might feel like you want to hide.
Perhaps those are extreme examples. But the point is that your physical development is going to affect your emotional and psychological development. The strange experiences you have with your physical growth and development will influence your feelings and moods. The physical changes that are going to occur, ones that will drive your growth into adulthood, are going to happen at different times, depending on whether you’re a boy or a girl.
For instance, what sex educators might call puberty begins much earlier for girls than boys and is often followed by a growth spurt in both genders. Puberty is experienced differently for males and females and begins for each of you at different ages. Boys begin puberty when they develop the ability to ejaculate semen, and for girls, puberty starts with their first menstrual period. In the United States, puberty is reached at around age 12.8 for girls and age 14 for boys. Of course, this age fluctuates with each teen. It can be as early as age 9 and as late as age 16 for girls, whereas puberty can begin in boys as early as age 11.
These are significant changes to go through. You’re essentially and literally growing out of being a child and into being an adult. Part of this is the ability to become sexually active, even though you might not even be thinking about this yet. Or perhaps you are. If you’re already thinking about sexual experiences, then you should also recognize the consequences that can accompany becoming sexually active.
For instance, if you’ve already been through the physically and emotionally uncomfortable growth of puberty, then perhaps you are already thinking about sex. But even if you’re ready to engage in sexual behavior and to participate in a romantic partnership, it’s often the case that teens don’t yet have the emotional or psychological to take on the responsibilities of pregnancy, raising a family, or managing the unfortunate risks of sexual behavior such as sexually transmitted diseases.
Plus, sexual activity when you’re a teen can actually affect the brain. Hormones can create strong emotional attachments, even if at first you don’t feel particularly attracted towards your boyfriend or girlfriend. According to her book, “The Female Brain”, Louann Brizendine pointed out that oxytocin is released after a 20 second hug, promoting a trusting bond with that person, even if he is not very trustworthy at all. A similar effect happens in the brains of men, where the release of vasopressin supports bonding with his sexual partner despite how good or bad she might be for him.
Another brain hormone affected by the development of love and bonding between two sexually active adolescents is the decrease of serotonin. This is a calming neuro-hormone that is reduced in those who are “in love” creating higher levels of energy for that person even to the point of obsession. And, another neurotransmitter released in the brain during sexual activity is dopamine. This is usually secreted during activities that bring excitement, pleasure, adventure, risk-taking, and drugs.
The point is that even though your body is changing, and it’s incredibly important to know what’s going on with it, it doesn’t mean you have to engage in sexual activity right away. Wait for the right person, the right time in your life, and the right romantic moment.