For those Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB) puberty typically begins around age 11. Typically, the first sign of this change is unseen to the public; the scrotum starts to grow and pubic hair forms around the penis. Physical changes are usually visible to other people around age 13.
All of the ages on this page are averages. Do not worry if your friends are growing facial hair/developing acne before you. It is not uncommon for this process to start later or earlier in teens due to natural or manmade causes. (For example, a child who took medication to treat asthma as a baby could have stunted growth. This does not mean they will be shorter than the average teenager, but they could start a growth spurt after age 13 and not stop growing until college).
Signs of early puberty from ages 11-13 in AMAB individuals are:
At age 14, most AMAB individuals are in the most extreme stage of puberty. Signs of this stage are:
The final stage of puberty for AMAB individuals begins around age 15 and lasts until about age 18. Signs of this last stage are:
When you start puberty, you probably will notice that you’re getting hairier. Not only will you start to grow more hair on your arms, legs, armpits, and butt but you will also grow some hair in the pubic region. The pubic region includes the penis, scrotum, testicles, and parts of the inner thighs. Usually, pubic hair is slightly darker than the hair on your head. Some people have more hair that goes further down their legs while others don’t - both are totally normal and usually are the result of genetics.
Hormones are chemical messengers in our body that signal important processes like sleeping, eating, and growing. Starting as early as 7 or 8 years old, the body begins to produce the hormones that will eventually lead to puberty. Both AFAB (assigned female at birth) and AMAB individuals produce the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). For those AMAB, these two hormones travel to the testes which starts the production of sperm and testosterone in the body. Sperm is necessary for those AMAB if they want to reproduce and testosterone begins most of the visible (and invisible) bodily changes.
Hormones directly affect your mood which is why teenagers are constantly written off as being “overly emotional” or “moody.” It is important to note that this is NOT a discussion of intellectual maturity, and these emotional changes are normal and vary in intensity for every teenager. If you notice that your moods might be representative of larger mental health concerns though, such as anxiety and/or depression, talk to your doctor or a trusted adult about next steps and proper care.
Puberty can be an awkward time for anyone. Even if people do not show it in public, each person has their own individual insecurities about their body and body image throughout puberty because everyone is changing at different rates and in varying ways. All genders typically experience acne outbreaks on the face, chest, and back, and this can go away in a few years or with the help of a pharmacist if the spread is extreme. AMAB individuals can also experience voice breaks as their voices drop which are known as “voice-cracks.” Bodily odors in AMAB individuals can also become more pungent in the pre-teen and teenage years which can be masked with deodorant or antiperspirant. While these may seem embarrassing in the moment, they are natural and universal occurrences that are shared between teenagers universally.