Teen Girls’ Guide to Teen Boys: Changes During Puberty

Teen Girls’ Guide to Teen Boys

Let’s face it: Being a teen can be tough.

So much in your life changes between the ages of 13 and 18. For one thing, your body probably looks pretty different than it did not so long ago.

And then there are boys. You’re probably noticing them more these days. Maybe you’ve caught them looking at you too. But they don’t act or talk quite like you and your girlfriends. What goes through their heads, anyway?

It’s hard enough to figure out what’s happening in your own mind and body. Understanding boys is even harder. So, here’s a little cheat sheet to give you the inside scoop on guys in their teen years.

Physical Changes

Boys usually begin puberty between the ages of 10 and 15, a full two years later than most girls.

Starting at about age 12 or 13, and as early as 9, hormones called androgens bring on a number of physical changes, says Lori Legano, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at NYU and attending physician for the adolescent clinic at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center.

One of the first things they start to notice is that their testicles and scrotum (the sac located underneath the penis) start to get larger. Their penis gets longer and wider and pubic hair begins to grow in, too.

Legano says male hormones are the reason for a number of other changes. Maybe you’ve noticed some of these developments in the boys you know:

  • Hair has started to grow on their faces.
  • Hair under the arms starts to show up.
  • Body odor becomes an issue.


Why So Short?

So, with all this bodily growth, why are guys so much shorter than us girls, you ask? It’s because guys and girls have different timelines when it comes to puberty.

It breaks down like this:

Girls grow very fast (this could start as young as 8), get your periods, your growth plates fuse, and you stop growing. Poof! Puberty, over.

Boys, on the other hand, take their sweet time. They may not have a major growth spurt until age 15 or 16 and they sometimes keep growing into their early 20s.

That’s why around the 8th grade you have taller girls and smaller boys, Legano says.

You may be frustrated at school dances now when boys stand no taller than your armpits, but fear not: “Boys are slow to grow but then they catch up later,” Legano says.

Around the middle of high school, it’s you who will be staring at their armpits.

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