Your Body

Young Men

Just For Boys

Hype vs reality

The great looking guy with the perfect body and surrounded by other beautiful people might exist in films, but not that often in real life. Nor is there a perfect or ‘right way’ to be a man. We all like different things – and that’s OK. Some guys really like hanging out with girls; some with guys. Some like going to parties. Some enjoy wearing the latest fashions, some enjoy cooking and others extreme sports. Real people are much more interesting and much more individual than any stereotypes (see sexuality). We’re all entitled to be our own person, and to have safe, happy and respectful relationships. 

Keeping it real

It sometimes seems sex is everywhere you look - all over the TV, internet, adverts, games, movies, guys mags… and it can leave you with the feeling that if you’re not having sex, you’re missing out. The reality is that many guys who have sex before they’re ready regret it afterwards, so it’s worth sticking by your own feelings. Go to relationships for more info on making your own decisions and feeling good about them.

It's not just magazines and other media that are unrealistic. Mobile technology means it is easy to access pornography online, and this often portrays women, and men too, with unrealistic body shapes who seem to exist just to be sexual objects. Quite often the women have undergone excessive surgery to look like that. They may even have been pressured, hurt or felt degraded in taking part in a pornographic film.
Pornography can distort the way we see bodies and sex, and build up unrealistic expectations in both young women and young men about how their bodies should look, and how sex should be, so it's not helpful to use it as a 'guide' to how you should look, what you expect your partner to do, or how you should have sex.


Is everybody doing it?

There seems to be loads of pressure on young men and women to have sex. But in Scotland, most young people don’t start having sex until they’re 16, or older.

Your mates might be saying they've all had sex, but have they really? They might be feeling like they have to act more experienced than they really are. 

And if you do have sex, just because you've had it once does not mean you have to continue, especially if it didn't feel right for you. The fact is that many young people regret having sex before they felt ready. So maybe it's worth the wait. 

When’s the right time?

In Scotland, most guys don’t start having sex until they’re 16, or older.

If you fancy someone or are going out with someone, and you're thinking about sex a lot – that’s perfectly natural. But don’t let yourself be pushed into situations when your gut feeling is telling you different – whether it’s your mates, your partner or anyone else putting on the pressure. When you’re making choices, it’s really important to talk to your partner about how you are both feeling – even if this is difficult.

Have a look at the section ‘Am I ready for sex?’. If you decide you are both ready then talk with your partner about keeping yourselves protected from unintended pregnancy and STIs. See more about safer sex.

What Does Puberty Mean For Young Men?

Puberty is the word used to describe all the changes that begin happening to your body from the age of about 12. Puberty can start earlier or later than this, but if you've not shown any signs of puberty by 15 years old, talk to a parent or carer, or visit one of the services in the Address book. See also Get the Lowdown for more detailed information on puberty.


What’s normal?

It’s different for everyone, and there is no ‘right time’ when this should happen to you. Don’t worry if your body is changing faster or slower than your mates'. But if you’re feeling concerned and would like to talk to someone, visit a Healthy Respect drop-in or call one of the helplines.

Changes to our bodies

The changes that go on turn us from boys into young men. You'll see the physical changes as you quickly grow taller, and your voice may ‘break’ and get deeper. The body starts to sweat more.
 The changes that go on turn us from boys into young men.
You may get spots as your skin gets more oily, and you'll start to grow facial hair, as well as thicker body hair under your arms and around your penis.
Your testicles (balls) start to make millions of sperm every day. The sperm are contained within a white creamy fluid called semen. As your penis begins to get thicker and longer, you’ll start to have erections. This is when the penis stiffens and sticks out from the body. Erections can happen anytime and often in the morning.
During puberty the testicles (balls) and penis get bigger. Most boys at some point will worry about the size or shape of their penis, but the truth is, there is no ‘normal’ or ‘average’ penis – everyone’s is completely unique in shape and size.

Sexual feelings and masturbation

Sexual feelings can get stronger during puberty, and you may feel strong crushes on people of any gender. It’s totally normal to feel aroused (sexually excited) more often, and to ejaculate (a small amount of semen is squirted out of the erect penis), or have a ‘wet dream’ (ejaculate, or ‘come’ during your sleep) which can leave a wet spot on your pyjamas or sheet.

You might feel like masturbating (touching or stroking your penis). There are quite a few myths about masturbation being harmful, but none of them are true. In fact, masturbation may even be good for your health, as it can be a good way to get rid of stress. And it can also be a way to find out about sexual feelings, your body, and what feels good.

Emotional changes

It’s not just physical changes that take place during puberty - you might also get more moody. Do you ever get the feeling that you don't want to talk to anyone, or that people at home or school are really annoying you without having to do anything? You might feel really angry, or sad, or may just want to hide away?
Both the changes to your body and emotional changes are caused by hormones (chemical messengers) in the blood. So, if you are finding it hard to get on with people at the moment, it could be the hormones. It can also be hard for other people to know how to treat you when you are going through puberty, so try to help them understand what you are going through if you can.

Want more info?

If you want to find out more about puberty, have a look online - Get the Lowdown has a lot of good information, talk to an adult you trust or visit a drop-in to talk to someone. The drop-ins are listed in our address book.