Topic 6 Our bodies

Activity 1: Changes

Why do we start feeling some sort of attraction to another person as a teen? What has changed in our human body?

Have you noticed any physical and emotional changes on your body lately? How do you feel about them?

Source: From the sex education curriculum for disabled children “Not a child anymore” by the Dutch Rutgers foundation (1992) – Illustrations by Juliette de

This is how the body of a boy develops from child to adult.

According to the Raising Children Network:

  • “Puberty typically starts at 10-11 years for girls, and 11-13 years for boys. It can be earlier or later.
  • In puberty, children get taller, heavier and stronger.
  • There are also changes in children’s sexual organs, brains, skin, hair, teeth and sweatiness.”

There are many forms and sizes of penises.

The penis consists of a shaft, and a glans (the sensitive top of the penis).

The glans is covered with a thin piece of skin called the foreskin. Normally, you can pull this back so you expose the glans. If you cannot, try to exercise pulling it back gently until you succeed. If this does not work, go to a doctor for help.

When you have a shower, always clean your penis, as well.

Pull the foreskin back and clean the glans and especially the rim just behind it. In this space, some body dirt may collect. This dirt is called smegma. If you don’t remove it, it can cause bacteria to grow, and ultimately lead to an infection.

Preferably, use only water to clean your glans, and if you really want to use soap, use PH-neutral soap without additives.

Source: About Kids Health

In Europe, most men keep their penis like they are born. This is called “uncut”. In some other cultures, and in the USA, it is common to circumcise a boy. This means that a doctor cuts away the foreskin. The glans is therefore always exposed.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

The sexual organ of a boy (the penis and balls) are outside the body. The ball-sack is called “scrotum” in Latin and the balls are also called testicles. The testicles produce sperm and semen.
  • Sperm: cells that help to create a baby
  • Semen: fluid to transport the sperm through the penis

Source: From the sex education curriculum for disabled children “Not a child anymore” by the Dutch Rutgers foundation (1992) – Illustrations by Juliette de Wit

And now some information about girls. This is how the body of a girl develops from child to adult.

“As puberty advances, both boys and girls experience many emotional changes; for many, it is a time of choosing different ways of engaging with family, friends, and teachers. Emotional changes sometimes occur before the physical changes of puberty. You may find that you are:

  • experiencing a greater sense of self
  • starting to have a sexual interest in other people
  • experiencing changes in mood, energy and sleep patterns.

Emotional challenges that may emerge include:

  • coping with a changing body and feeling self-conscious about looks
  • feeling frustrated when you cannot achieve what you want to achieve and getting angry” (FKSG).

On the outside, you have the outer labia. Between the folds of the outer labia, there are smaller folds called the inner labia. In between, there is the urethra and the opening of the vagina. The urethra is the canal for urination and the opening is the entrance for sperm to get to the female eggs.

The little “button” at the top is the clitoris. This is like the glans of a boy’s penis: it is very sensitive and gives a lot of pleasure when you softly rub it.

It is natural for women to have hair around their vagina. Maybe you have looked at porn, and you then probably saw a lot of women who shaved their pubic area. This is a fashion in porn, but don’t expect girls to follow that trend. Every girl makes her own choices about how to treat her body.


Girls who never had sex may still have a hymen. This is a thin piece of skin that surrounds or partially covers vaginal opening.

With a first penetration or through masturbation, this skin can be broken and may bleed a little bit. It usually hurts a little bit. You can make it easier by penetrating slowly and carefully, and by using lubricant.

Source: eMedicine Health

With boys, the sexual organs are outside the body. With girls, they are mostly inside. A girl produces eggs with her ovary. When the eggs are ready, they move to the fallopian tubes to wait for male sperm cells. If your sperm comes into a girl’s body, it tries to get to the egg cells. But it first has to “swim” through the cervix.

Source: Elephango

When the male sperm cells meet the female egg cells in the fallopian tubes, the female cell has a way to select the best sperm cells to merge with. This merging is called fertilization.

The fertilized egg implants itself into the walls of the uterus or womb and begins to develop into a foetus.

If fertilization or implantation does not take place, the eggs are ejected with some blood. This is called ovulation (releasing the eggs) or menstruation.

Source: Blendspace

A girl menstruates every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days.

Menstruation can be uncomfortable for girls: 80% have problems like acne, tender breasts, bloating, feeling tired, irritability and mood changes. Be sweet to them in this period.

When a girl uses pills as contraception, these symptoms may be less.

Source: BabyCenter

If you don’t use contraception, you can impregnate a girl with your sperm. The sperm develops in nine months from a tiny combination of a boy’s sperm cell and a girl’s egg into a foetus and than is born as a baby. This does not happen each time you have coitus. If a girl misses her period, this is a sign she may be pregnant. Then, she can test if she is. If it was an accident, in most countries, a girl can take a morning after pill or arrange an abortion (removing the foetus).

We don’t want to take away the fun of sex, but we need to say that during sex, you can catch a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI, or STD, D for Disease).

If you have a burning sensation in your penis when urinating, small sores on your penis, or when your penis leaks a little with fluid you don’t recognize, go to your doctor or to an STD testing centre. Girls have similar symptoms with their vagina.

Most STD’s can be cured with an injection or some pills, and it is best to treat an infection as soon as possible. Don’t let shame keep you away from the doctor!

Source: “How do your hormones work?” YouTube video

Boys and girls have both male and female hormones. Most boys have more male hormones, most girls have more female hormones. People with an intersex condition can have hormones that are different from how they look on the outside. Or they can equally much male and female hormones. Male and female hormones influence our bodies and our emotions.

Testosterone is a boy’s hormone. What does it do? After puberty (from when you are 12 or so) it makes your voice go down, you get more hair under your armpits and around your penis, on your legs, sometimes on your chest, you start to get a beard, and your penis grows. You can also ejaculate sperm – and the sperm contains stuff that can make a girl pregnant.


  • is important for the physical changes that happen during puberty, such as development of the penis and testicles (balls)
  • is important for the features typical of adult men such as facial and body hair
  • stimulates cells in the testicles to make sperm

Oestrogens and progestogens are female hormones.

They play an important part in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

But they also influence the feminine shape of the body. 


  • control female sexual development
  • regulate the menstrual cycle
  • accelerate the change of food into energy
  • build fat storage
  • help maintain bone strength
  • help to make the vagina get wet


  • make the body behind the vagina ready for eggs to be implanted
  • help to maintain pregnancy by relaxing some of the inner muscles
  • prevent egg production after getting pregnant
  • decrease the action of male hormones