in the form of a travel guide, this online publication
provides information about your sexual well being,
choices and rights. Click on the relevant links
to find out more about the physical and sexual
journeys you might experience. You can also download
this guide in 22 languages, including this English
version (please click on options in the right
importance sexuality has in your life will change
at different times, and you may not always be
sexually active or want to be. Like any other
subject, sex education should be accurate, enable
you to make informed choices and give answers
and solutions to your own concerns. Whatever your
starting point, your experience is an individual
one, and you are already on this journey. You
may not actually know where you are going until
you get there, but exploration can be part of
affecting boys and girls during puberty
happens to every young person some time after
the age of 8. It is the transition into woman/manhood
when the sex organs grow and develop and the body
becomes ready and able to reproduce. These changes
can make you feel proud and happy but they can
also make you feel confused or embarrassed.
Listen to one person's experience.
that affect girls
that affect boys
removal of the foreskin
is done by a procedure called circumcision and
is performed on some babies and boys as part of
a cultural tradition or religious practice or
for medical reasons.
This should not be confused with female circumcision,
also described as female genital mutilation (FGM).
This practice is illegal in many parts of the
world. For further information visit the Rising
are born with thousands of potential or immature
eggs in each of their 2 ovaries.
After puberty, one mature egg is released every
month. This is called ovulation and happens around
14 days before a 'period' is due. If the egg is
not fertilised by sperm
it will die and pass out of the body through the
a period, along with the lining of the womb.
The egg can't be seen as it's much too small.
The menstrual cycle varies from 21 days to 40
days. Not all women have regular periods. For
more information visit All
Listen to one person's experience.
Changes in hormone levels before or during your
cycle can affect your mood. You may feel energetic
and sexy around ovulation and/or moody, tearful
and angry just before your period is due. Your
breasts may become sore or a bit larger and you
may get spots on your face. Women release eggs
until they reach the menopause. This occurs when
women are in their late 40s and 50s and menstruation
stops and they cannot become pregnant.
If you suffer bad period pains or have any other
concerns seek advice from a doctor or your Family
Planning Association (FPA).
virgin is someone who has not had sexual intercourse.
Women have a membrane called a hymen surrounding
the vaginal opening. The hymen can be stretched
and/or torn by exercise, sports or the use of
tampons. The presence of the hymen is not a sign
of virginity. Some people believe that the hymen
is the only proof of virginity. This belief can
cause a lot of unhappiness and anxiety to a woman
who has no hymen, but is a virgin.
Having penetrative sex for the first time can
be scary. The need for gentleness and understanding
is very important. The hymen is not a wall that
needs to be battered down. The first act of sexual
intercourse will not necessarily cause bleeding.
The first time can be painful or sore whether
you are a male or female. And you can become pregnant
the first time you have sex. Do not have sex if
you don't want to.