We’ve had several blogs about female sexual health issues, so here’s a blog dedicated to the dudes.
One of the most common male sexual health concerns I get from adolescent and young adult male patients is about erections. In early puberty, it is common for young males to have spontaneous erections and nocturnal emissions (“wet dreams”). My young teen patients often ask about this. It’s totally normal and healthy. In order to have an erection, your brain/hormones, circulatory system (veins, arteries, etc), and parasympathetic nervous system have to work together. As the teens get older, the concerns turn away from the embarrassment of the quantity of spontaneous erections and more towards the quality of erections.
A recent study out of Scotland found that after the age of 7, activity levels go down for both boys and girls. When Randy Clark, manager of the Pediatric Fitness Clinic read about it, he wasn’t at all surprised.
“Finding ways to engage kids in physical activity is a huge challenge I face as a parent and in my work at the Pediatric Fitness Clinic,” he says. Clark, whose children are 12 and 14 years old, shares that part of the problem, in his opinion, is the increasing time we spend looking at screens. He shares that as part of the ‘baby boomer outside generation’, fun included wiffle ball, touch football, capture the flag, kick-the-can and skating at the local rink. Now kids are growing up in a very different world filled with cell phones, iPods, personal computers and hand held devices. For him, while they are wonderful advancements in technology, they have led to an increasing amount of sedentary screen time.”
Stress is a normal and inevitable component of our lives. A little stress can be positive. It helps us prepare for things like a big exam or an upcoming interview. However, teenagers are under increasing amounts of negative stress today with issues such as gun violence at school and cyber bullying on the rise. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence indicated that 60 percent of children have been exposed to violence either directly or indirectly in the past year.
Puberty-related growth spurts can be expected somewhere between ages 10-14 for girls and 10-16 for boys. Growth spurts are a period of rapid gain in height, often accompanied by increased hunger and fatigue, as the body uses more energy to build tissue. It’s common for parents to be surprised at their child’s sudden spike in appetite and wonder “should I let him keep eating?” as the child asks for a bowl of cereal 1 hour after eating 2 large helpings of dinner.