Puberty and Sexual Maturity

Puberty describes the stage of our lives when our bodies change to become capable of reproduction. The timing of this stage varies from person to person. We continue to change and grow after puberty, but from that point onward almost all of us are fertile or biologically able to make a baby.

Did you know? Burmese Children wear festive costumes and sit at a banquet table during a coming-of-age ceremony in pagan, Myanmar.

Here is a picture of two Japanese celebrate their coming-of-age ceremony, wearing traditional kimonos. Like an American high school prom, this event marks a step toward adulthood.

Social Maturity

This change, from bring a child to being a person capable of creating a baby is a big step toward adulthood. In some societies, it is marked by a special event or celebration. In all societies, parents and other people around you will begin to recognize you as a young man or a young woman. However it does not mark the end of childhood, which is defined by the law in most countries as being 16 and 18 years old.

Biological Maturity

Sexual maturity not only changes how others relate to us but it also means that we have to make changes to how we look after ourselves. Our bodies are becoming capable of making babies which means that we have to think carefully about sexual contact with others. Puberty also causes other changes such as hair growth and increased smells in our sweat which means that we will have to be more careful about staying clean.

So, when does Puberty start actually?

There is no "right" time for puberty to begin. No one likes to be left behind when all of their friends are having an experience, but it can be just as hard to be first as to be last. At least being last lets us see how others deal with the changes. For most of us, puberty will begin between the ages of 12 and 15 although it has happened to people as young as 7 or as old as 17.

Well, We all continue to learn about the world and each other throughout our lives. But at some point, society has to accept that we have enough experience to be treated as adults. How do you think that line between childhood and adulthood should be drawn? By age? By sexual maturity? or By any measure?

Let your opinions flow...


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