Home Biological aspects of sexuality Anatomy & development Young men tend to focus on enjoying their arousal

Young men tend to focus on enjoying their arousal

Men are valued for their physical strength, their practical skills and their personal confidence (leaderships skills). Young men increase their muscle mass at puberty by 50% more than young women do. The male territorial drive (to establish and defend territory or status) consumes more of a man’s time and energy than his sex drive ever does. Men focus on their own pursuits rather than being motivated to care for others. Once a boy becomes sexually responsive, he also develops a degree of emotional insensitivity. A man enjoys fantasies that boost his arousal and promote his sexual ego. Male ego (arrogance or assertiveness) is vital to men’s role in defence and in sex.

From puberty onwards, boys are fascinated by their penis: the way it grows and is pleasurable to touch. They learn that their appreciation of eroticism can take them from arousal to orgasm. The average white male ejaculates for the first time around the age of 13 years 10½ months (13.88 years). The more responsive young men wake up each morning with an erection. They may have spontaneous erections throughout the day as sex-related thoughts occur to them or simply as a result of seeing someone they are attracted to.

When he is aroused, a boy’s penis becomes erect and hyper-sensitive so that it is very pleasurable to touch. The whole length of the penis is sensitive and massaging it creates waves of highly pleasurable sensations in the brain. The harder the erection, the better the feelings. A blow job or hand job make the feelings more exquisite. Initially some boys stimulate their penis (called masturbation) because they enjoy the sense of release when they ejaculate. Later most men have a strong urge to engage in penetrative sex (intercourse).

Even as virgins, boys are aroused by the prospect of sexual activity with a lover. They may masturbate by imagining an opportunity for intercourse. They imagine the sexual attributes, genitals and behaviour of a partner. They do this through buying pornographic magazines or watching porn movies. Some boys enjoy comparing notes on the sexual attributes of the opposite sex and their chances of manoeuvring a girl into a sexual situation. This is a chase situation where the man is the predator and the woman is the target.

As boys approach adolescence, they identify with other male adults. The idea of approaching a woman and penetrating her becomes a natural goal. Intercourse feels like an adult activity because of the challenge and subsequent reward of persuading a partner to accept penetration. Boys naturally feel proud of their newly acquired ability to penetrate a lover. A man’s challenge is to find a sexually amenable partner and to succeed in persuading them into a sexual situation. A man has to take all the risk of negotiating a sexual situation and endure the humiliation of rejection. This process is even more risky for homosexual men. They have to approach other men who may not be as gentle as women are in rejecting their sexual advances. Nevertheless, a man’s sex drive compels him to take these risks.

Male arousal is very evident. Men find it difficult to ignore the sensations that accompany their arousal. A man’s erection is highly visible and identifiable. He is also acutely aware of the sensation of the increase in blood-flow to his penis. Finally, his mind is highly focused on an opportunity for sexual activity. Some men are happy to share their fantasies with any woman who will listen. Many men enjoy sharing their fantasies with a lover.

Male changes at puberty include the shoulders broadening and the chest cavity increasing in capacity. The voice box develops so that the tenor of a man’s voice is lower than a woman’s voice. A boy’s voice breaks relatively late in adolescence. The change in pitch is a result of the enlargement of the larynx and lengthening of the vocal cords, caused by the action of testosterone on the laryngeal cartilages. The Adam’s apple, thyroid cartilage that protect the larynx, causes men’s voices to deepen. Male mammals often use a loud call as a means of establishing authority. There is also a change in quality that distinguishes the voice of both men and women from that of children. This is caused by the enlargement of the resonating spaces above the larynx, as a result of the rapid growth of the mouth, nose and upper jaw.

Many men have a heavy growth of hair on their face, chest, arms and legs. Armpit hair appears on average some two years after the beginning of pubic hair growth. In boys, facial hair begins to grow at about the time that the armpit hair appears. The remainder of the body hair appears later. Men’s hips are narrower and their buttocks are smaller than women’s. On average men are taller and more muscular but they have less body fat than women.

Personal hygiene becomes more important as hormones cause hair growth and increased sweating. Most men shave their facial hair daily and they need to wash regularly as well as use deodorants. Pubic and underarm hair in both sexes have a smell, which is intended to be attractive to a potential mate. We tend to cover up these natural odours with artificial scents. If a man is careless about hygiene, sweating causes an unpleasant body odour (B.O.). There is a discharge from the penis that accumulates and may become infected if not cleaned. A boy needs to pull back his foreskin and clean the discharge from his glans regularly. Mothers do this for young boys until they can do it for themselves. Circumcision helps to avoid infection and involves cutting the skin that attaches the sheath of the penis to the glans. Circumcised men may experience slightly different physical sensations from intercourse.

… physical changes in the adolescent boy usually proceed as follows: beginning of development of pubic hair, first ejaculation, voice change, initiation of rapid growth in height, and, after some lapse of time, completion of growth in height. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)