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Rite Of Passage/How Premature Puberty Affects Sexuality

2097 words - 8 pages

Puberty makes biological sense: Puberty is a rite of passage that prepares the body for sexual reproduction. Logic follows that since the female body is producing more testosterone during puberty — the agent responsible for sex drive — the more likely their thoughts become sexually oriented. Girls who mature earlier are more vulnerable to sexual promiscuity, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, obesity, depression, low self-esteem, less education and anxiety. Boys who develop early appear to have psychosocial advantages. Boys are considered by their peers to be cool. They are more likely to have more muscle strength and are more athletic, which all boys value.“Boys and girls develop very different peer relationships and cultures,” says Dr. Downey. “During late childhood, boys tend to play with boys, and they also tend to be less tolerant than girls of what we call ‘gender non-conformity.’ So boys might label certain boys ‘fags,’ ‘sissies,’ or ‘homos,’ which can traumatize the boys being labeled, who may or may not be on a gay track. Therefore, boys and men may have more of a tendency to internalize homophobic feelings and channel these negative emotions into risky, self-destructive, or even suicidal behavior.”During the teen years, adolescents experience changes in their physical development at a rate of speed unparalleled since infancy. Physical development includes:Rapid gains in height and weight, during a one-year growth spurt, boys, and girls can gain an average of 4.1 inches and 3.5 inches in height respectively. This spurt typically occurs two years earlier for girls than for boys. Weight gain results from increased muscle development in boys and body fat in girls.The development of secondary sex characteristics begins during puberty, changing hormonal levels play a role in activating the development of secondary sex characteristics. These include: (1) growth of pubic hair; (2) menarche (first menstrual period for girls) or penis growth (for boys); (3) voice changes (for boys); (4) growth of underarm hair; (5) facial hair growth (for boys); and (6) increased production of oil, increased sweat gland activity, and the beginning of acne.Continued brain development, recent research suggests that teens' brains are not completely developed until late in adolescence. Specifically, studies suggest that the connections between neurons affecting emotional, physical, and mental abilities are incomplete. This could explain why some teens seem to be inconsistent in controlling their emotions, impulses, and judgments.For girls who come from less stable family units and develop early, the tendency is to seek out older social circles, which can get them in trouble. Early maturing girls tend to be more popular with the boys. Girls who look more mature will be more likely to perceive by others, and to see themselves, as attractive and appropriate romantic and sexual partners, opening doors...

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