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About the pubertal development of boys - down on this page

About puberty in girls

Male enhancement products

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Resourses for use by our visitors

Here is some information about boys physical and emotional development. We also have other educational resourses for use by our visitors. A complete list of the resourses is given HERE.

Puberty development in boys

The pubertial process

Penis development initiates early in puberty, and continue during the whole of the puberty time, and may continue after puberty. All normal puberty processes will result in a fertile man. In addition several other body characteristics develop. But it will vary greatly from boy to boy how much of each characteristic he will get. Some young men will essentially have the same appearance like he had as a prepubertal boy also after puberty, only that he will be larger and fertile. Others will look very diffferent.

There is a certain tendency to regard a somewhat exagerated pubertal development in a certain white male American pupulation as the normal bubertal development, which leads to regarding as abnormal boys that have a different rate of development and a different result regarding development of body characteristics. This tendency is not good, it shows disrespect both for the individual boy and it is also a kind of racism.

For boys the onset of puberty is between 9.5 and 15 years and puberty completes by the ages 15-19 years. Growth hormone and androgens are the factors mediating puberty. The time of onset and completion of puberty vary so much and a late onset is usually not a sign of anything wrong. In the weatern societies, the average onset has got steadily earlier, so that an early onset tends to be regarded as normal. This tendency for a stedily earlier onset is probably not a natural and good thing.

In the western societies one has estabished a rather strict normality scheme for when the puberty shall begin and for when it shall be finished. There is also a rather strict scheme for the bodily characteristics that a boy is supposed to develop during puberty. Furthermore one tends to screen boys at an early time for deviations from this strict scheme and treat this deviations medically. This is a violation against the individual properties of each boy, but a certain part of the medical establishment will thereby enhance their proffit.

Most medical sites that propagate information about male puberty adhere to this strict scheme. But since these cheme does not allow for personal variations that do not constitute anything wrong, and racial variations, most medical sites giving information about puberty cannot be trusted very well.

The pubertial development proceedes generally in stages as follows, with the signs listed here in chronological order.

Stage 1 - The prepubertal stage Allready in this stage, the penis can grow slowly in many boys.

Stage 2 (Begins 9.5-15.0 years)

- Enlargement of the testes (testicular enlargement) and the scrotum.

- There will be more reddening and rugosity of the scrotal skin .

Stage 3 (Begins 10.5-14.5 years)

- Pubic hair is developing, but how much it will be, will vary greatly from boy to boy.

- Penis grows even more in length .

- Spermatogenesis (production of sperm cells) begins.

- Thinning of the scrotal skin can occur.

- Fluids from the prostate increases and ejaculation is possible. (Semen production).

Stage 4

- Penile growth in width, and the glans enlarges.
- The axillary hair begin growing, but the extent will vary gratly. Many boys will not get axial hair, and most only a little.

- Growth of facial hair begins, but again it will very gratly how extensive it will be.

- There will be laryngeal growth and lengthening of vocal cords, cusing woise break. This is also a property that will vary individually.

- The pubis hair may extend to parts of the lower stomach and the upper thighs. In standard descriptions of the puberty development this is depicted as the normal development. This is not correct. This is an extreme variant of the pubertal development, which is not wrong, but that will not occur in most boys. It is most common in a certain part of the male population in America, but is not common in boys in most of the World.

Stage 5 - Adult

There will still be continued increase in penis size to some extend and the amount of body hair may still increase.

The hormonal mechanism behind the pubertal development

Peak growth rate occurs between the ages of 12-17 years. Testosterone inhibits the growth spurt by fusing of the epiphyses.

The pubertial development is controlled by hormons. The hypothalamus performs the superior comtrol. This part of the brain begin excreting the gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH (also known as LH-releasing hormone) that influences the pituitary gland (hypophysis), a gland placed inside the skull below the hypothalamus, so that this gland increases its own production of hormones,

Under the influence of GnRh, the pituitary then increaces the production of the hormons luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle. stimulating hormone (FSH), that in turn influences the testicles.

LH now stimulates the testicles to increase the production of testosterone that is the main hormone causing the pubertal development. FSH stimulates the testicles to produce sperm cells.

The penile foreskin

The foreskin (or prepuce) is a natural, retractile, protective covering for the glans (head) of the penis, and is the most erotogenic area of the penis in terms of the quantity, concentration, and quality of specialized nerve receptors and stretch receptors that it is endowed with, especially on its inner mucosal lining (which gets redeployed behind the glans during erection).

The average adult foreskin consists of 1½ inches of outer skin, 1½ inches of inner mucosal lining – totaling a length of 3 inches – and is 5 inches in circumference when erect. This amounts to a surface area of 15 square inches, or a surface area equivalent to that of a 3" by 5" inch index card!

The foreskin contains over 240 feet of nerves and over 1,000 nerve endings, as well as being a highly vascularized structure.

The foreskin contains “junctional mucosa that appear to be an important component of the overall sensory mechanism of the human penis” –J. R. Taylor et al. The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. British Journal of Urology (1996) 77, pp. 291-295.

The foreskin is not vestigial or redundant tissue, in that no other part of the male body does what the foreskin does, or feels what the foreskin feels.

The foreskin serves to protect the glans, thereby maintaining the glans-surface’s naturally-intended thinness, texture, and sensitivity.

The foreskin has rich sensations in and of itself. The foreskin also plays a mechanical-lubrication role. It serves as a gliding sheath during masturbation or sexual activity, rendering the quality of the friction between the man and his partner more gentle, less abrasive. This is useful to the woman, especially with prolonged intercourse and especially with age, when she provides less liquid lubrication.

The fact that the foreskin in infancy is usually non-retractile serves to protect the baby’s glans penis from urine and feces during the period that he is incontinent.

Women have a foreskin as well, which covers and protects their clitoris. It is alternatively referred to as the clitoral foreskin, clitoral prepuce, or clitoral hood.

Foreskin development

Development of the foreskin is incomplete in the newborn male child, and separation from the glans, making it retractable, does not usually occur until some time between 9 months and 3 years.

Tight non-rectractile foreskin (normal developmental non-retractability, or physiological phimosis) resolves by age 6 in 92% of boys, 94% by their teens. 1% of late adolescents will still have a non-retractile foreskin. (Gentle, systematic stretching is indicated to resolve this. Moreover, steroid creams are successful in resolving this in the vast majority of cases when this is a problem.)

A young child will often have an excessive foreskin that totally covers the glans and form a narrowed tip in front of the glans. As the penis developes, the foreskin widens, but usually do not grow in length, so that in an adult the foreskin will cover the glans, but let the urinaryopening be exposed when the penis is unerected, and exposes the glans fully or partially when erected.

Tanner`s scale of pubertial matureation of boys

This is a measure of a boys maturation often used. However, each stage in this scale do not correspond to an exact age span, and a boy may have a mixture of maturity signs that do not correspond to an spesific stage of this scale. Also the stage definitions contain a certain degree of racism, as it seems to be based upon an averidge picture of the development of boys of a certain social class of a caucasoid north european population. The scale is therefore of limited value.


Pubic hair





No pubic hair, except fine vellus hair as on the abdomen (belly)

From birth to puberty - penis gradually in- creases in overall size with little change in general appearance

Scrotum gradually increases in overall size with little change in general appearance

Some boys have a fairely big scrotum from an early age


Sparse growth of slightly pigmented straight or slightly curled hair mainly on either side of base of penis

Slight or no enlargement of penis

Testes and scrotum larger, skin of scrotum shows slight changes in texture and colours (redness)



Darker, coarser curlier hair spreading sparsely over the symphysis pubis

Further enlargement of penis in length and width

Further enlargement and descent of scrotum



Pigmented, coarse and curly hair but not as extensive coverage as in the adult and no spreading to medial thighs

Further enlargement in dimensions and development of glans.

Further enlargement; scrotal skin more pigmented



Adult size and shape (inverse triangle) spreading to medial thighs

Adult in size and shape

Ample scrotum


Meny men do not develope a full triangle that spreads to the thighs, and it is dubitable how common this is among races of the global population.






Some facts about circumcission

By circumcission most of the foreskin of a small infant is mecanically teared apart from the glans where it is still attached and then cut away. This creates two circular brims of cut skin that is then stiched together. This intervention will effect the development of the penis, so that it will differ from what is depicted above. Aport from lacking a foreskin, a circumcised boy will develop a thicker skin on the glans. This is a reaction of the skin of the exposed glans to protect itself from mechanical iritation.

The scope of the practise

Current national neonatal circumcision rates:

–Canada: <17% overall in 1996-97, with large regional variations.

–U.S.: 57.2% circumcised before leaving hospital in 1998.

–Australia: 12.1% circumcised in 2000.

- Scandinavia: Nearly nonexistant

Every day in the United States, over 3,000 routine circumcisions are performed on infant boys: 1 every 28 seconds, 1.113 million yearly, at an annual cost to parents and health insurers of many tens of millions of dollars.

Over 80% of the world’s male population is genitally intact, with 20% being subjected to some form of childhood genital mutilation.

The U.S. is the only country in the world to circumcise the majority of its newborn males for non-religious reasons.

Over 90% of infant circumcisions performed in the U.S. are for non-religious reasons.

100% of infant circumcisions are done without the consent of the individual concerned.

The history of male infant circumcision

In the 19th century, British and American physicians thought it logical to perform genital surgery on both sexes to prevent or cure a long list of maladies. Just a few of these conditions included: paralysis, lunacy, curvature of the spine, epilepsy, fever, whooping cough, weight loss, tubercular meningitis, hernia, inflammation of the bladder and masturbation. –Gollaher DL. From ritual to science: the medical transformation of circumcision in America. Journal of Social History 1994;28(1):5-36 .

The current rationales/rationalizations for infant circumcision developed after the operation was in wide practice. Some of them include: to make sons resemble their circumcised fathers; to conform anatomically with peers (note: circumcised Canadian boys now find themselves in the minority); to improve hygiene; to prevent tight/non-retractile foreskin (which is normal in childhood); as prophylaxis against urinary tract infection (UTI), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and cancer of the penis, prostate and cervix. If circumcision were a new procedure being proposed today for any of the above conditions, it would not be acceptable based on insufficient medical evidence and/or medical ethics (it is against medical ethics to perform unnecessary surgery).

With a clearer understanding of normal male genital anatomy, and the creation of the British National Health Service in 1948, infant circumcision in Great Britain quickly declined. Non-religious infant circumcision is now very rare. No exact figures are available, but from extrapolation of data from the Liverpool and Sefton health districts, it is estimated that 1.5% of boys would be circumcised by age 15, with <0.1% of those circumcisions done in infancy.

Emotional miseducation of boys in western societies

motional miseducation of boys in western societies

Boys in wesern societies boys are being so "emotionally miseducated" by everyone from parents and peers to the entertainment industry, say some psychologists, that the recent outbreak of murderous rampages at school may be an inevitable result.

And, say a small group of psychological researchers--who have spent the past several years independently studying and voicing concern about the ways our culture emotionally cripples boys--a set of unique stresses is continuing to propel today's young males down a troubled path. Among their findings:

Schools are "antiboy." Elementary schools emphasize reading and restrict the activity of young boys, who are generally more active and slower to read than girls. Teachers often discipline boys more harshly than girls. Sensitivity isn't modeled to boys, so they don't learn it.

Fathers tend to demand that their sons act tough, mothers tend to expect boys to be strong and protective and their friends enforce the rule that a boy doesn't cry. And after being taught not to be "sissies," boys are then chastised for being insensitive.

Boys hear confusing messages, for example, to embrace an androgynous sex role and yet not become too feminine. At the same time, many boys lose the "chums" of their boyhood as they enter adolescence. For many teenage males, distrust of other boys replaces intimate same-sex friendships, recent research suggests.

Media images have become more hyper-masculine--emotionless killing machines, such as Sylvester Stallone, have supplanted strong yet milder heroes like Roy Rogers. Many boys learn to hide behind a "mask of bravado."

Boys are often victims of ruthless jeering and insults. Many find that words don't stop the taunting but punches do, because anger is the only emotion that earns them respect.

"When we don't let boys cry tears, some will cry bullets," says William Pollack, PhD, co-director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He is one of several psychologists--among them James Garbarino, PhD, Dan Kindlon, PhD, and Michael Thompson, PhD--conducting research on boys' problems and calling on their colleagues to join them.

Among their suggestions: Heed what we're already finding about boys, conduct further research to enhance that understanding and revise what Pollack calls the "Boys' Code" of toughness.

"Even the men who'd like to offer boys a gentler model of masculinity feel constrained by their peers," says Garbarino, co-director of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University. "We need get past this tremendous inertia on who will dare to be different."

Since Littleton, psychologists' work on teen-age boys has grabbed the attention of the public, media and research community. Garbarino's book, "Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them," (Free Press, 1999), sold out immediately in its first printing in April. Likewise, "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys" (Ballantine, 1999), by Kindlon and Thompson, immediately hit the bestseller list and sold out after its April release. And Pollack's book, "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood," (Henry Holt, 1998) topped the nation's list of paperback bestsellers.

Pollack, Garbarino and others say the symptoms of boys' growing dissatisfaction, previously ignored, have been steadily building: Rising numbers of boys are prescribed the drug Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder--legitimately prescribed in some cases but perhaps over-prescribed to curb acting-out behaviors in others.

Also, boys' academic performance has declined, while girls' achievement has risen. The same pattern is true for college attendance. And boys are much more likely than girls to hurt or kill themselves or each other.

A lopsided gender revolution

What's responsible for the troubling trends? Kindlon, a child-development researcher at Harvard University, points to what he calls society's "emotional miseducation" of boys. Meaning that boys are taught to shut down their feelings, including empathy, sympathy and other key ingredients of pro-social behavior. Combine that emotional disconnection with increased exposure to violent movies and video games and decreased supervision by adults, says Kindlon, the co-author, with Thompson, of "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys" (Ballantine, 1999) and "you've got a recipe for disaster."

Until recently, researchers have largely overlooked the alarming state of male socialization. Up to the 1970s, boys had mainly been the focus of pioneering psychologists such as Erik Erikson, Harry Stack Sullivan and Lawrence Kohlberg. But with the advent of feminism, researchers found adolescent girls were ignored in the research and had different problems from boys. This triggered a new line of study, and researchers led by psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD, of Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, began listening to girls' voices and their concerns about female stereotypes of beauty, thinness and passivity.

But as girls were urged to shed stereotypes and enter traditionally "male" career fields, boys weren't encouraged to challenge male stereotypes and enter traditionally "female" fields.

For example, there's still a taboo among many men against being a male kindergarten teacher, notes Barney Brawer, PhD, a former Gilligan student and now coordinator of Tufts University's Program for Educational Change Agents. And, says Kindlon, many men fear that if "any femininity or softness creeps into our lives, we'll stop being men." Not that men are the only ones who perpetuate male "toughness," he says. Women unconsciously reinforce it by discouraging signs of weakness in sons and husbands.

Will you please pay attention

Some researchers working with Gilligan have begun applying to boys the same qualitative methods they've been using with girls--interviewing them about their experiences without structured surveys or checklists. Their approach, known as the 'voice-centered relational method,' uses open-ended questions to let people to say what they really think and feel.

Niobe Way, PhD, a former student of Gilligan's who uses the method, says that it is enabling her and other developmental researchers to update the 1950s theory that boys primarily value autonomy and seek individuation above all else.

"The boys of the 1990s are screaming, 'Will you please pay attention?'" says Way, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University.

In research reported in her book "Everyday Courage: The Lives and Stories of Urban Teenagers," (New York University Press, 1998), Way found that as boys enter adolescence, most stop trusting other boys and lose their closest friends.

"They talked about how much they wish they could have an intimate friend," says Way. "They told strong, angry, sad stories about how they couldn't trust anyone."

That conformity to traditional masculinity, says Pollack, takes hold at adolescence. He recently administered Pleck's Traditional Male Role Attitude Scale to 150 boys, ages 12 to 18. Most scored high, supporting notions such as "A guy always has to stand on his two feet and fight for respect," and "It bothers me when a guy acts like a girl." However, most boys in the same sample also scored high on the Sex Role Egalitarianism Scale, supporting equal professional training for women and men, and courses in home management for both sexes.

The results indicate a split in boys' idea of being a man, says Pollack. "Boys are caught in a gender-role Catch 22," he says. "Not only do many of them feel isolated, they're also confused."

Unmasking the subterranean life

Pollack and others suggest investigating why boys stop trusting each other; why they lose close friends; why they feel isolated and neglected; from whom they learn traditional notions of masculinity; how gender-role confusion affects them and how they handle it.

Existing research doesn't really get to "how boys see themselves, what underlies their aggression," adds Garbarino. To find answers, he listens to the stories of troubled boys incarcerated for murder. Their stories, he says, not only enlighten him but enable the boys themselves to see what underlies their behavior.

"Boys' inner life is often quite subterranean and seems inaccessible to us and to themselves," says Garbarino. "But when we ask them about it, it's often the first time they're engaged in this kind of self-reflection."

In addition to interviewing boys, rigorous empirical research is needed, says Pollack. He calls for survey and quantitative studies of adolescent boys' disconnection from others and themselves, of how to improve boys' socialization, of demographic and ethnic differences in boys' self-perceptions and of how the sexes interact.

Making a plan

Also needed, say Pollack and Kindlon, is an action plan to help boys prosper, prevent them from becoming alienated and stop their academic decline. They believe in restructuring elementary schools. Young boys are typically more rambunctious than girls, says Kindlon, yet grade school teachers, overwhelmingly women, confine them to chairs for long periods and punish them for activity. As a result, some boys develop a negative notion of education as controlling and prohibitive, he says.

"Many boys think schools are rigged so that they can't succeed," says Kindlon. "Particularly in elementary school, boys aren't as ready to sit still and they generally are not as verbal and ready to start reading. This comes at a time when competence is a major psychological task. So if they're not fitting in academically, some boys will turn to dominating and fighting others."

Kindlon suggests hiring more male teachers who've had the same experiences, and providing more outlets for activity in schools. More intimate environments in smaller schools, say Kindlon and Pollack, would likely allow for more connection between boys and adults.

More generally, Pollack suggests adults spend more time with boys and change their expectations of them. Boys can be encouraged to be caring rather than tough. Mothers can learn from fathers how to engage in sports and active play with their sons. And fathers can learn from mothers how to be more nurturing, says Pollack. What boys need most, psychologist agree, is the love and understanding of adults.

"If we understand the sadness in boys," says Garbarino, "we'll deal with that sadness and not wait to have to cope with their aggression."Y

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.