First, let’s understand what puberty is. Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. In general, puberty starts between the ages of 9 and 15. For some, it may happen earlier and end sooner than others, and it is entirely normal. It usually ends by the age of 17 or 18.
In girls, it leads to growth in breasts and buttocks. Pubic hair starts to grow, and so do hair in the armpits. The body also sweats more, especially under the arms. Girls also experience faster growth – becoming taller in a short period and gaining weight. Boys also undergo physical changes. They grow taller, gain more weight, become more muscular, widen their shoulders, start to grow pubic hair, beard, hair under the arms, between the legs, and develop a deeper voice.
Now that we’ve talked about the physical changes on the outside, let’s see what happens inside the body. Girls start their periods. Simply put, periods are the way through which a body releases tissues it no longer needs. This tissue comes from the uterus where a baby can develop. The uterus lining gets thicker every month to prepare for a fertilized egg. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized, the lining is released as blood through the vagina. The hormonal changes also lead to mood swings. Girls start to have several thoughts – Am I looking pretty? Do other people like me? Is my body growing properly? During puberty, as the body is experiencing change, the curiosity around sex also grows. It feels aroused and excited when one talks or thinks about sex. This is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
Similarly, boys also experience their first ejaculation. Basically, a white sticky fluid comes out of the penis. This fluid, called semen, contains millions of sperm, each able to fertilize an egg and develop a baby. Boys also experience mood swings, feeling insecure about their body, and becoming curious about sex. Their body gets excited, and their penis turns hard when they think or talk about sex. Again, this is normal, and you should not be ashamed of it.
One of the most common experiences one has during puberty is that of masturbation. As the body develops, both boys and girls feel physical and psychological changes. With curiosity increasing around these changes and sex, feeling one’s body to get pleasure begins. Girls usually do it by rubbing their clitoris and vagina with their fingers while boys stroke their penis up and down. Once the body is aroused enough, they experience an orgasm.
If you’re experiencing puberty and with it, the desire to self-please yourself, don’t be ashamed of it. You may feel that it is wrong, and people will judge you, but the truth is my friend, it is a natural process and also a useful one. In fact, it is a healthy way to explore your sexuality. You get to know your body well, how it looks, how it behaves, and what turns it on. In fact, for guys, it is an excellent practice to masturbate once in a while to keep the semen flowing and dispose of the old ones that have been hanging around to give way to the newer ones!
If you are masturbating regularly, make sure you practice cleanliness. If you’re using toys to enhance pleasure, always sterilize them before and after using them. If you’re using your fingers, make sure you wash them thoroughly before and after. Wash your vulva thoroughly with water, but do not use any soap or deodorant or cosmetic product near or inside your vagina as it can increase the risk of catching infections. Similarly, wash the penis after masturbating and do not use any deodorant or cosmetic product on it.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding masturbation. Some of them are: it results in acne, makes you go bald, leads to blindness, makes you infertile, makes you impotent, and gives you STIs/STDs. All these are myths and simply not true. Masturbation, in itself, has no side-effects. However, if it becomes a habit that is proving to be a hindrance to your daily activities, you should talk to your doctor or someone close.
Both puberty and masturbation are natural and normal. You don’t have to feel insecure about it. Be proud of your body, maintain cleanliness, and stay safe.
Until next time.