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Puberty for boys

8-minute read

Key facts

  • Puberty is when your body grows and you move from childhood to adulthood.
  • You may experience physical changes such as rapid growth.
  • You'll also notice social and emotional changes during puberty.
  • Having conversations with a parent or other trusted adult can help you while you experience these changes.

This page contains information about physical changes in boys during puberty. You can find more information about physical changes in girls or the emotional changes that teenagers often experience.

What is puberty?

Puberty is the time when your body develops and goes through rapid growth. It happens because of natural substances in your body called hormones. Your body's reproductive system matures, and so too will other body organs and systems.

During puberty, you move from childhood into adulthood. Your body develops so that you are physically able to make a baby.

Your brain also goes through changes at this time. This affects your emotions and behaviours.

These physical and emotional changes can be:

  • overwhelming
  • exciting
  • awkward
  • empowering

It's normal to feel these things during puberty. If you need support, you can talk to a trusted adult. They can answer any questions you might have.

When does puberty begin?

For males, puberty usually begins around 9 to 14 years of age. However, puberty begins at different times for different people.

You will start puberty at the right time for your body. You might go through puberty at a different time to your friends or other males in your family.

How will my body change during puberty?

Puberty happens over several years. There are a few different changes you can be prepared for.

Growth spurt

As you go through puberty, you may notice that:

  • you grow taller
  • your hands, feet, chest and shoulders will grow broader
  • your muscles get stronger

Some parts of your body may grow faster than others. It's normal to feel clumsy as you grow.

Growth spurts are common, where you grow taller or put on weight one month and then grow more slowly the next month — growth is not always even.

Body hair

During puberty, hair will grow or may become thicker:

  • in your armpits
  • around your pubic area (penis and scrotum)
  • on your arms and legs
  • on your chest
  • on your chin and upper lip

Your pubic and armpit hair may be thin and straight at first, and may become thicker and curlier as you get older. The hair on your arms and legs may also get thicker.

Every person is different. Some will grow more hair than others, some will grow hair at different times.

If you decide to shave or remove any of your body hair, ask an adult to teach you how to do this safely.


During puberty, your testicles (also known as testes or 'balls') will produce more of a hormone called testosterone. The increase in testosterone triggers changes in your body, including an increase in the size of your:

  • testicles
  • penis

It's normal for one testicle to grow faster or hang lower than the other. This is nothing to worry about.

Erections, sperm and sexual feelings

You will start getting more frequent erections. Erections are when your penis becomes hard or stiff. They usually happen when you feel sexually excited, but during puberty, they can happen for no reason at all. This is common, and usually people don't notice.

When your testes start making more testosterone, it triggers sperm production. Sperm are tiny reproductive cells.

Ejaculation is when your body releases semen (thick, whitish fluid that carries sperm) from your penis. You may sometimes wake up to find that you have ejaculated while you were sleeping. This is known as a 'wet dream' and is normal.

During puberty, you may start to have more sexual feelings. You may want to touch or rub your own genitals — this is called masturbation. This is normal, but is a private activity and must only be done in a private place.


During puberty, your larynx (also known as your voice box) gets bigger. This can cause your voice to 'break' and sound squeaky.

Your voice will gradually become deeper. You may also notice your 'Adam's apple' sticking out more at the front of your neck.

Skin changes

Hormones made during puberty can cause pimples and acne. These can look like bumps or spots on your:

  • face
  • neck
  • shoulders
  • upper back
  • chest

There are lots of different ways to manage acne.

You may also start to sweat more and notice more body odour. Regular washing with mild soap and water and using deodorant should help with this. Practicing good personal hygiene is always important, but especially during puberty as your body is changing.

Other body systems

During puberty, your brain will continue to develop. You may see changes in your:

  • problem-solving skills
  • decision-making skills
  • ability to control your impulses
  • ability to make good choices

You will also go through a number of emotional changes during puberty.

It can help to eat healthily and stay fit while you move through this stage of your life. Learn more about creating healthy habits.

How might my relationships with others change?

Emotional changes go hand-in-hand with physical changes. These emotional changes help you prepare for:

You may want to:

  • have greater independence from your parents
  • spend more time with friends
  • develop a romantic relationship with someone

It's quite normal to suddenly have strong feelings or have crushes on people.

You can:

  • keep these feelings to yourself
  • talk with a friend or family member
  • tell the person directly

Sometimes your feelings towards someone else — or their feelings towards you — won't be shared. This can leave you or them feeling sad or rejected. You may want to talk to an older person who you trust about how you feel.

You may not have romantic feelings and may prefer spending time with friends and family. This is completely normal too.

As a parent, how can I stay connected to my teen?

It can be stressful parenting someone who is going through puberty. Maintaining good communication with your teen and making them feel supported is very important.

You should accept and encourage your child to take steps towards being more independent. But it's OK to have rules and expectations.

Increasing independence comes with more responsibility. Communicating clear limits or placing conditions on new activities or behaviours will help keep them safe.

Resources and support

Professional support and resources are available to help you through this life stage.

Resources for teens

Youth Beyond Blue offers support and information if you are affected by anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts.

Visit Headspace to access group chats, online communities and direct support.

Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit their website for free, confidential online and phone counselling.

Contact Reachout for online mental health information and advice across a range of topics, including relationships, stress and bullying.

Resources for parents

Parentline in your state or territory provides counselling and support for parents and carers.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023

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