Anonymous Questions Part II

(Vancouver Breakfast January 25, 2000)

Grades 4-6

1. Does it hurt when your puberty comes?

Puberty definitely is a challenging time for children both physically and emotionally, but it is important to teach them that it is a healthy, necessary part of growing up. Everyone goes through it at one point or another, and although it is not always easy to deal with the changes, it does not hurt.

(Some girls may experience cramping during menstruation, but that is usually the extent of it.)

2. Why isn’t my penis growing?

It is! This is a very common concern among puberty-aged boys. The thing is, from the onset of puberty, it takes the testicles about 3 years to grow to average adult size. However, it takes 10 years for the penis to grow to adult size. So, the reason why boys may worry that their penis isn’t growing (or even shrinking!) is that as the testicles grow at a faster rate, the penis appears smaller. I remind children that the real purpose of the penis is to deliver sperm—you only need two inches to do that, so anything extra is just a bonus!

3. How do you find out your bra size—there’s lots of ways, which is the right?

Choosing a first bra can be pretty traumatic for a young girl. In terms of size, one theory suggests to measure around your chest just below the breasts in inches (that makes up the 32, 34, 36 etc.). Then, measure around your chest on top of your breasts. Every inch of difference represents one cup size (the cup is the part that covers your breasts). So, for example, if the measurement on top is one inch bigger than below your breasts, you are an A cup. Two inches is a B cup and so on. Start with one size and keep trying until you find the one that is most comfortable. Remember that there are options other than the traditional bra to choose from, such as a “sports bra” or camisole style.

4. Should I put speed stick on my genitals?

While hygeine is very important, it is not necessary for boys or girls to put deodorant on their genitals. Just make sure the genitals (just like all other parts of the body) are kept nice and clean by washing with warm water and soap everyday. That’s all you need!

5. Why do boys think breasts are cool?

It is completely normal and healthy for boys and girls to have feelings of arousal or sexual excitement at a young age, and we should be careful never to engender feelings of shame or guilt around these feelings. I think it would be important also to emphasize the individuality of arousal. Some boys think breasts are cool, but some think legs or the buttocks are even cooler