Rite of Passage/How premature puberty affects sexuality

Essay by bamandbonnieUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2008

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

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...