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Boys and young men

Boys and young men

Puberty

Puberty is the time in life when a boy or girl becomes sexually mature.

 It is a process that usually starts to happen between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys.

It causes physical changes, and affects boys and girls differently.

It is one of the biggest changes that everyone goes through.

Changes happen during puberty as you start entering your adolescent years. They are:

  • You may start to grow pubic hair around your penis, testacies, and armpits and maybe on your face, chest and even the rest of your body. We all differ in the amount of hair we have.
  • You may start to grow taller and your body may get broader
  • You could start to sweat more and develop body odour
  • Your hair and skin may become more greasy
  • Spots may develop
  • Your voice will start to get deeper, this is more noticeable in some people than others
  • Your taste buds will change
  • Your general interests could change, for example your hobbies
  • You may become more emotional and have mood swings, due to your hormones changing. This is not an excuse to behave badly.
  • Your penis and testicles become bigger and you will start to produce sperm
  • You may become more sexually interested
  • You may get unexpected erections

You will start going through puberty during your school years, when all of your friends are going through it as well, but the thing to remember is everyone is different and people may start earlier than others, so don’t worry if your friend started before you. Puberty is not a race.

Puberty can be a stressful time, not only are you going through this major life change, but you also have to deal with school, college, exams and making big life choices. This is a time when young people are vulnerable to being pressured to do things they may not want to do, there can be a lot of temptations to go to parties and go out more. Which in turn can lead to young people trying things like smoking, drinking, taking drugs or having unprotected sex. The key thing to remember is, even if the temptation is there, you don’t have to do anything.

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Relationships

This doesn’t just mean sexual relationships, but also includes relationships with friends, family and people you go to school with.

There are two types of relationships, a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationships. These are the signs of either type:

A Healthy Relationship An Unhealthy Relationship
Trust Violence
Communication Name calling / Bullying
No Pressure to do things you don't want to do Peer Pressure
Loyalty Controlling someone
Happiness / Love Stealing

Remember that all healthy relationships revolve around good communication, (which means talking and listening) don’t bottle up your emotions and talk about your issues. It can be healthy to disagree with people, we don’t all think the same.

The 5 types of abuse you may encounter in an unhealthy relationship are:

  • Cyber - Anything from constantly texting or ringing someone, to having to let someone know where you are every minute of every day.
  • Physical - This can range from unwanted contact, taking play fighting to far, or any other form of physical violence.
  • Sexual - Forcing or pressuring someone into any sexual activity that they don’t feel comfortable or do not want to do.
  • Financial - This can stretch from using someone’s credit on their phone, to stealing, or telling someone what they can or can’t spend their money on. This can also include constantly buying other people gifts to guilt or manipulate them into doing things for you.
  • Emotional - Any form of bullying, such as name calling, putting someone down, telling them they’re useless and playing mind games.

In a sexually active relationship, there are a few things you need to remember. For example the age you are legally allowed to have sex is 16 and it is also important to make sure that both of you want to and are ready, comfortable about talking to your partner about what it is you want and what they want from sex and have condoms before becoming sexually active.

Family approval can be a real issue when it comes to relationships. This can be due to things such as, parents/carers wanting the best for you or parents struggling with the idea of you growing up to quick, or even religion. However, it is important to remember that you don’t have to be in a relationship, you are your own person and just as special and valid as a person who is in a relationship 

Pornography

Pornography is printed or visual material containing explicit display of sexual organs or activity.

Even though pornography can be accessed easily, there are still certain laws around it. These are:

  • You have to be 18 to watch porn
  • You have to be 18 to send or receive explicit pictures if that is what you wish to do
  • If you are caught with indecent images, or are sending indecent images of anyone under the age of 18, including yourself, you can get in trouble with the police as this is counted as having indecent images of a child or creating and distributing images of a child.
  • Any porn that contains animals, abuse, or anyone under the age of 18 is illegal to watch.

Porn vs real life- Porn can create a distorted image of sex and body type.

  • In real life, on average males ejaculate or ‘blow their load’ after a good 3 minutes, whereas in porn, males look like they are having sex for hours and hours.
  • In porn, it’s pretty rare that you’d see men or women with pubic hair, whereas in real life, it is common for both men and women to have pubic hair.
  • On average a man’s penis is 5-7 inches, whereas in porn a male’s penis can range between 7- 9 inches.
  • Porn can give an unrealistic image of women, for example they may have massive boobs, be really skinny, and are up for anything, where as in real life women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes and may not want to do some things.
  • Porn, can become addictive, it reacts with the pleasure centre in the brain when you watch it, just like drugs or alcohol.

Sexting- This is when you send someone explicit images or messages through text. This is illegal if you are under 18.

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Genders

 

Sexuality

Sexuality means a person’s sexual orientation or preference, in other words, who they fancy!

There are different types of sexualities, they are:

  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Straight
  • Bisexual
  • Pansexual

A common issue for teens struggling with their sexuality is ‘coming out’. This is because it can be difficult for people who are just starting to understand who they are to be open with others about how they are feeling. They may also be scared of how people may react to their sexuality/feelings, family members or friends may not react in a way that is loving or helpful.

There are many support groups in Hull that can help people with their sexuality, for example:

  • Trans Youth
  • Step Out
  • Hull Pride
  • SHOUT group

Gay or bisexual young men can be more vulnerable to being groomed online, sometimes confusion around sexuality can make a young man take risks allowing some people to taking advantage of them over the internet. If possible, it’s better to talk to a trusted adult about your feelings. Be proud of who you are, 

What young people need to remember is that their sexuality is nothing to be ashamed off and it is perfectly acceptable to have a different sexuality to others. 

Losing your virginity

Having sex for the first time is a big step for anyone. It is important to make sure that you are comfortable and safe with the person you have sex with.

Consent

This means permission to do something, for example the age of consent to have sex in the UK is 16. If someone does not give you consent to have sex, then don’t do it. People cannot give consent if they are:

  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Under the age of 12
  • If they are being forced or feel pressured into it

It is also important that you are not pressured into having sex before you are ready. Try not to compare yourself to others, some people lose their virginity when they are teenagers, some people lose their virginity in their twenties, and some people never have sex at all!

Losing your virginity is a very personal thing and it has nothing to do with anyone else, some people will brag about having sex for the first time, do not compare yourself to them.

It is also important that you and your partner know the facts about STI’s and contraception. Make sure you have talked about using condoms and contraception before you have sex.

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Self-esteem and body image

Self-esteem means your confidence in your own worth or abilities, some people know this as ‘self-respect’. Body image is how you see your own body, not how other people see you.

Through puberty it is common for boys to be more conscious of their bodies, this is due to them going through changes at a different pace to their friends. It is important to remember that everyone is unique.

The media can have a big impact on someone’s self-esteem or body image. For example, T.V is full of men with huge muscles and six packs and this can make some young men feel more self-conscious about their own bodies.  Media can also affect what types of clothes we wear, what we think is attractive in others and even how we behave. Often this happens without us knowing how much it is affecting us.

Pornography can also effect young men’s self-esteem and the way he thinks about the way he looks as the men in porn may have big penis’ and have big muscles.

School and friends may also affect our self-esteem as there are lots of pressures that go with school, such as exams. If you get a bad grade in an exam, don’t let it get you down, just revise and try again next time. People you go to school with could also affect your self-esteem as you may try to fit in with them by dressing how they dress or acting like they act. They may also call you names, or even bully you, but people’s opinions do not matter at school as you probably won’t see again them when you leave.

The main thing to remember is that there is no such thing as normal, so don’t live up to stereotypes and be yourself, wear what you want to wear and look how you want to look. Remember to do what makes you happy and not what makes other people happy.

Mental Health

Mental health is the term used to describe someone’s psychological or emotional well-being.

Men often find it difficult to talk about mental health as they see it as some kind of weakness, but it can actually help to get it off your chest and talk to someone about it.

There are loads of people you can talk to if you think you have a mental health condition, such as:

  • Doctors
  • CAMS
  • Mental health specialists
  • School nurses

There are also many organisations that are put in place to specifically help you with a mental health condition.

Depression and anxiety is also counted as a mental health condition and if you do suffer from these, then don’t panic! Again you can go see people who can help you with any of these issues.

Lots of people think they are alone when it comes to having a mental health condition, but did you know 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life! So don’t panic, you’re not alone.

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Family Problems

Just like you are unique so are families are all unique. You may not come from a family with a dad and mum. Your family may be the people who live in your care home, you may have 2 mums or 2 dads, the most important thing is LOVE, if you are loved then it doesn’t matter how your family is made up.

  • Divorce
  • Parents leaving
  • Abuse
  • Bereavement
  • Struggling to build up a relationship with step parents
  • Dealing with siblings or step siblings
  • And many other things!

Dealing with all of these things can be stressful. However it is important to be open and honest with your family and if someone or something is bothering you, then talk to them about it, and if you feel like you can’t then talk to your friends or a trusted adult. Don’t keep things bottled up!

Keeping Safe Online

Keeping safe online is very important for people any age. But unfortunately your teenage year are when you’re most likely to encounter issues online such as;

  • Cyber bullying
  • Social media
  • Online grooming
  • Cat fishing
  • Porn
  • Accounts been hacked

Luckily for all you young people there is a website called Ceop

https://ceop.police.uk/

Ceop stands for Child Exploitation Online Protection and young people can go onto the website and get information and help on all kinds of different issues you may encounter online. The great thing about this website is they have a report button which takes you through a very quick A simple forum to fill in and is sent to a 24 hour team worldwide that are quick responsive and get straight to work to help solve any issues that you may be going through.

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