Young man with growing facial hair
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

Puberty in boys: what to expect

Most boys notice that their bodies start to change anywhere between the ages of 9 and 15. Some boys start and end puberty earlier than others.

Your body will begin to change on the outside. At the start, you may experience a growth spurt, which means you grow taller in a short period of time. Some boys put on weight just before the growth spurt starts.


During puberty, your voice gets deeper; you become more muscular, and your shoulders get broader. Hair begins to grow on your face, under your arms, and between your legs. You begin to sweat more and have body odour. You may also get spots or acne.

All these changes are normal and are caused by hormones. They can also be affected by your diet and hereditary factors including your ethnic background.

In general, puberty ends by the age of 18 or 19. By then, your body has matured into an adult body.

Changes on the outside

Skin and spots

For many boys, adolescence is a time when your skin begins to get oilier and produces more sweat. Sometimes this oil can block your skin pores and hair follicles. This causes spots, or acne.

If you get spots, use a skin cleanser to make your skin less greasy. Don’t use ordinary soap. It dries your skin out, so the skin reacts by producing more oil – leading to even more spots.


During puberty, hair starts growing in different places.

You may grow a moustache or a beard. Hair also starts growing under your armpits, around your penis and anus, and on your testicles. Some boys may grow chest and back hair while others may never grow any at all.

It all depends on your genes. Some people are hairier than others. And don’t worry if you can’t see any new hair growing yet. For some boys, it starts when they’re 11, but others don't start growing hair until they're 15 or 16.

Around the age of 14, many boys have a growth spurt. This means you get taller, and your chest an shoulders also get broader.

Girls start growing earlier than boys, usually when they’re about 12. Before you have a growth spurt, it’s common to put on some extra weight on your belly.

Enlarged breasts

Many boys find they have swelling under their nipples, so they get enlarged or swollen breasts. This is normal. Some boys may experience tender or painful breasts. Also, one breast may be larger than the other.

Even though it’s common, many boys find it very embarrassing. Luckily it usually goes away within a year or two, once the changes of puberty have finished.

Penis and testicles grow

Your penis and testicles grow during puberty. First, your testicles get bigger, then your penis. Your penis gets thicker and then grows longer. In most boys, the penis has reached its full size by the time they’re 15.


During puberty, you sweat more, especially under your arms. This means you’re likely to smell of sweat more. It’s perfectly normal.

Just wash every day and wear clean clothes. If you like you can also use deodorant.

male development puberty
© Love Matters

Changes on the inside

First ejaculation

Sometime between the ages of 11 and 16, you'll probably have your first ejaculation. When this happens, a clear or white sticky fluid called semen comes out of your penis.

Your first ejaculation can happen when you’re asleep during a wet dream – when you have a spontaneous ejaculation in your sleep. When you wake up, you find a wet patch in the bed. You haven’t peed in the bed – you’ve had your first ejaculation!

You might also have your first ejaculation when you’re masturbating

Laughing or crying

During puberty, you can feel really happy one moment and gloomy the next. You start thinking more about everything – about yourself and about the world.


The changes in your body can make you feel insecure. You may worry about whether you look attractive or whether other people like you. It can take time to get used to your new body. Don’t worry – it’s all part of becoming an adult!

Your voice breaks

Around 14, your voice ‘breaks’. This means your voice gets deeper. It happens because your voice box (or larynx) and your vocal cords get bigger.

During this time, your voice may suddenly come out high and squeaky, and other times low and deep. Luckily this is only temporary. Soon your voice becomes stable again.

In love

During puberty, you often start fantasising more about a person you really like. This might be a girl or a boy. You also really want this person to like you. You may also feel excited or nervous inside when you see the person. And you might fall in love with them.

Thinking about sex

During puberty, you become curious about everything to do with sex. You think about sex more often. You may feel more excited or aroused in your body. Many boys like reading about sex, looking at pictures and talking about it with friends.

How do I know when I’ve started puberty?
It depends. The most common first signs of puberty are weight gain around the belly followed by a growth spurt and your testicles starting to grow.

Compared to other kids, why am I so much taller or shorter?
Not all boys grow at the same rate or at the same time. So, some boys may start their growth spurt early and others start their growth spurt late. Genes, diet, and even stress can influence your growth spurt.

One of my testicles is lower than the other, is this normal?
Yes. This is completely normal. Usually, one testicle hangs lower than the other, and one may be slightly larger than the other. Healthy testicles feel like a smooth, firm egg. If you touch them gently, there should be no pain or discomfort. If you do feel pain, contact your doctor.

Sometimes I get an erection for no reason, is this normal?
Yes. It’s normal to have erections for no particular reason. These types of erections are also called spontaneous erections. You can get an erection while you’re eating dinner, riding a bike, watching TV, sleeping – in fact just about anywhere. It’s particularly likely to happen when you wake up in the morning. You can’t consciously control these kinds of erections.

During puberty, hormone levels in a boy’s body can go up and down. This can cause spontaneous erections. For some boys, it tends to happen less often when they become adults.

Did you learn something new?

Love Matters
Wed, 06/17/2020 - 08:02 pm

Hello Sam, thank you for getting in touch with us and asking a great question. For starters, having a small penis does not contribute to infertility. Secondly, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that having more sex will increase the size of one's penis. For more information on this, click here to find out? . We hope this article brings some more clarity, have a wonderful weekend ahead, and stay safe.

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 09:21 am
I am 5'10 and 14 but i haven't expierienced any height growth in a couple of months and i am starting to get worried. I have started to get a bit of a belly and my feet have grown from a 10 to a 10.5 or 11 in 4 days. Will i grow anymore, and is this normal?
Love Matters
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 10:14 am

Hello Nathen, thank you for reaching out and asking a great question. You still have 4 years of growing to go so there is a good chance that you will still grow taller. Also, it is completely natural for you to grow a bit of a belly. This is because you are still a growing boy and growing requires a lot of energy and that means eating a lot so that your body can grow. I'm sure your appetite has also grown right? This again is very normal so do not worry.  As you grow older, you will shed the excess belly fat as you continue to develop muscles. Ensure that you maintain a healthy diet, stay well hydrated and exercise regularly and you will be fine. As for you feet, they too will stop growing at one point and is completely normal.

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 04:41 am
My parents put me in private school. I was in the fifth grade I was nine and a half years old. They would drop me off Sunday night and pick me up Friday night. they didn't tell me that I'd be taking showers with other boys I never seen another boys penis before. I felt that something was wrong with me because all the kids had pubic hair and some were shaving. I didn't have any here at all. I guess I was late bloomer because my hair didn't come in till I was a software in high school. I was molested by few of the boys I didn't understand why until later. I had above average size penis and not have any hair yet made my penis look even bigger. Because the boys you should tell me how they like to play with my big dick. I never told my parents but in some ways it affected me.

Hello Derek, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We are so sorry to hear that you had such a rough time growing up. Unfortunately, molestation in boarding schools is rather common. Abuse of any kind can have long-lasting effects kindly consier seeing a counselor to help walk you through your feelings and experience to help you get closure (whatever that means for you).

Hi I’m a 14 old boy and I don’t see no changes I’m hairy for my age and I’m only 5’11 and I don’t see no growth in my penis size .. my dad said he start growing when he was in the 10th grade so I want to know will I grow around the same time as him and he also said he almost had a beard in the 9th grade which I have facial hair and I’m in the 9th grade .. will I grow like him ?

Hi Nas, thank you so much for reaching out to us. Puberty and growth within puberty sometimes do not happen the way we expect them to. You still have a lot of time and everything will happen when it is supposed to. Try not to worry about it focus on it.

So I recently started puberty and I have hair everywhere and even my ass so what stage of puberty is that and what is like next I have arm pit hair so plzz answer I gotta know.

Hi nick, thank you for getting in touch. Everything you are going through is completely normal buddy, you need not worry. Furthermore, the article above explains at length, all the physical changes your body is and will go through so just go through it and let us know if it helps. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe!

Love Matters
Wed, 12/16/2020 - 05:01 pm

Hello Afeez, thank you for getting in touch. Is it that you do not ejaculate or that you cannot feel it when you do ejaculate? Please let us know.

Love Matters
Tue, 01/19/2021 - 09:22 am

Hello Rashid, thank you for reaching out to us. Since this is a medical issue we strongly advise you see a medical professional for a comprehensive diagnosis.
You can call Marie Stopes Kenya today for free on 0800 720005 or WhatsApp them on 0709819001 for help and to book an appoiintment with them.

You mentioned earlier that a boy can experience enlarged breast which goes away in a year or two. My friend is 24 and they are still large but not painful as per his statement. Is there a problem or is it normal

Hi Gong, 

All men have breast tissue. While this breast tissue does not enlarge in some men, it expands in some due to hormonal changes, certain medications, or existing medical condition. It is important that your friend visits a doctor who will, in turn, determine the cause. The type of treatment options vary based on what is causing the enlargement. 


Tue, 06/01/2021 - 06:10 pm
Im 15 and 5'11 and dad is 6'0 and mom is 5'9 will i grow more i have a little mustache and a little chin hair i dont have hair on my thigh or chest but a little touching my belly button and my voice just broke like 2 to 3 months ago and i turn 16 in july but my dad has chest hair and stomach hair

Hi there, 

While you may find that you inherit some physical features from your dad and/or mum, you may not inherit all of them from them and that's okay and totally normal. You are a unique individual in so many ways thus be okay with being different from your parents or friends. Remember that you may also notice that the changes taking place in your body will not happen at the same time as that of your peers. This is also okay and totally normal. 

Add new comment


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang>