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The Facts about Puberty (for Guys)

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A. What you experienced is very normal. During puberty, most males go through times where they wake up with an erection. In fact, ejaculation (the release of semen through the penis) may be the first sign that you are going through puberty. The wet spot might have been because of a process called "nocturnal emission." When your body goes into REM sleep, your penis becomes erect. You may have a sexually arousing dream, called a "wet dream." Remember, puberty is all about preparing your body for reproduction. These sexual dreams are quite normal.

Q. I'm beginning to grow facial hair. When should I begin shaving?

A. Your face is now in constant change - and yes, the androgens are once again hard at work - adding their hormonal content to your facial hair. One of the first places guys begin to grow hair is under the arms and above the upper lip. Talk to your father or a man you trust to show you how to shave, or contact your local health professional.

Q. I noticed that I'm beginning to smell. Is it time for me to start wearing deodorant?

A. Probably so. The androgens in your body react in the blood and change the levels of your body odor (often referred to as "B.O."). Underarm deodorant should help with that. Also, be sure to wash yourself thoroughly under your arms and in your private area.

Q. I'm beginning to break out and pimples are forming all over. What can I do?

A. Androgens are to blame for the changes in the oil (sebum) content of your skin. Acne and pimples are common for males going through puberty. If you want to control acne, there are many options available over the counter or by prescription. If your acne is troublesome or severe, talk with your doctor or a dermatologist about prevention and treatment.

Puberty can be both an exciting and awkward time for teens. Emotions are stirred all around as your body adjusts to each of these changes. Hormones are now a driving force in your being.

Sexual activity begins to be a factor in your life now, and it is important that you know all of the facts. Talk with your parents or a health professional if you have any questions. The more you know about your body, the more control you have over yourself.

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