These are very important changes since they signal that the individual is now ready to have children. However, while they may be physically capable of conceiving a child, adolescents at the beginning of puberty are not mentally or emotionally ready for the responsibility of childcare and management.
There are other physical changes associated with the period of puberty. These physical changes are called the development of the secondary sexual characteristics. This rather long-term refers to some specific physical changes that visibly signify that you are no longer a child but you are becoming an adult. For girls these changes include the development and enlargement of breasts, the presence of pubic hair, functioning sex glands, pimples may become present on the face, and they may acquire hair in the pits of the arm. Another more noticeable change is that of the shape of the girl, the hips become more rounded and she develops what might be called curves.
For males, there is the development of the often-desired facial hair, thus the growth of the beard and moustache. The male's voice will change as the Adam's apple grows; usually the voice will deepen and may at times be difficult to control. Pimples are also a present feature of this development along with the enlargement of the penis and the shoulders becoming broader. During this period, many males lose their poise and may become very awkward as they seek to come to grips with their fast growing body and the other rapid changes that are occurring.
Accompanying the physical changes are some psychological and emotional changes. The adolescent becomes very concerned about how they look and will often engage in many hours of grooming to ensure that they are looking their best. They also desire to spend more time with their peers whose opinions become very important to them and their sense of self. It is at this time some persons do some unwise things to fit in or to become more acceptable to their peers. Other changes include the desire for the friendship of persons of the opposite sex. The desire to fall in love with someone, and moodiness are all part of this period. Additionally, there may be feeling of confusion about ones sexuality and sexual preferences. There may also be feelings that they are unloved and sometimes there is rebellious behavior. Therefore, conflict with parents is often a part of this time. Both the adolescent and the parent need to realize that this is a temporary phase, brought on by hormones and other emotional challenges. If it is taken in this light the period can be less stressful for both parties (Sex education 2010).
Masturbation amongst boys is a very popular feature of this period. Masturbation provides boys with an outlet for their sexual urges. Masturbation is not as popular among girls and is often not a concern for many girls. Boys however are often terrified by stories about what may happen to them if they masturbate. All these stories are unfounded. There is no truth to them. Masturbation is a healthy practice and can often be a legitimate release for young persons who do not desire to engage in sexual intercourse.
Masturbation is also found in animals who would rub their rubbing their sexual organs against trees. Masturbation and wet dreams are a natural part of keeping the sex organs functioning and of assisting in sexual control. Masturbation is not a major problem for females because the sex hormone estrogen does not produce intense feeling of sexual stimulation, as opposed to the male hormone testosterone, which does (Prabhu 2010).
An important part of sexuality education is the impartation of values.
Values are things that we hold in high esteem or have very strong feeling about. These are the beliefs we have about critical issues in our lives. Values are important because they give direction to behavior and assist in decision-making. As it relates to sexuality, it is important to have the correct set of values. These values include respect for you, respect for members of the opposite sex, an acceptance that sexuality is natural, normal, and healthy, along with the view that all persons are sexual beings. Additionally, individuals may express their sexuality differently and respect for others means respect for their sexual choices. It is important to remember that your sexual decisions will have effects and consequences for both you and your partner. Finally when thinking about preventing pregnancy and avoiding STI's the most effective method is still abstaining from intercourse.
There is a lot more that could be said but what has been presented will provide you with a sense of where you are in your development and where you are going. Most importantly, it will encourage you to think about the decisions that you are making and be sensitive to the truth that all decisions have consequences. Making the wrong sexual decision can mean the difference between life and death. So think carefully and act wisely.
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Sex education that works (2010) I love sex ed. Retrieved from http://www.avert.org/sex-education.htm