Boys’ Bits

To Puberty… and Beyond!

Once a lad hits puberty he begins to produce sperm cells in his testes, sperm are the male half of making a baby. At the same time they also produce a chemical called testosterone. Testosterone is the male hormone that causes all the other manly changes to take place during puberty, like…

  • getting hairy
  • growing a beard
  • getting more muscular
  • voice getting deeper
  • growing a little thatch of pubic hair just above and around the penis and on the scrotum
  • penis will grow (a bit) bigger
  • most importantly the balls will drop

People often use the phrase a guy’s balls drop to imply he has started puberty. What this means is that a his scrotum, the wrinkly sack just behind the penis which holds his testicles, starts to hang a bit lower, away from his body.Technically a boy’s testicles should have dropped during infancy, they literally descend into the scrotum; if this doesn’t happen by the time he is five he will have to have an operation. However, the term – balls-dropped has always been misused to mean a lad has started to produce sperm during puberty.

The reason for balls dropping is all to do with temperature. Your normal body temperature is around 37°C. However, in order to produce sperm, the temperature needs to be a bit lower, around 35°. And that is why we keep our testicles dangling between our legs – so basically we can get a nice draught up our shorts, to keep them nice and cool!

Another thing he’ll notice is that one of his balls will hang slightly lower than the other. Again this is perfectly normal – and actually is quite important. Unlike the ladies, us boys don’t have wide hips and we have more muscular thighs – So, as we walk our legs brush together – if one of our testes didn’t hang slightly lower than the other we’d crush them.

Anyway, once his balls’ have dropped, a lad will begin to produce both testosterone and sperm cells. The problem is we need to get our little swimmers out of our testicles and send them on their way. That’s where the penis comes in handy.

© Going off the Rails 2012. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt

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