Puberty is the physical process of growing from a girl to a young woman. At sometime between the age of 9 and 18, but usually around 12 years of age for most girls, your body will begin to change to look more like that of an adult. Puberty usually begins earlier in girls than in boys, who usually begin to mature between 14 and 18 years of age, so you may be taller than most boys your own age for a while. Some girls may begin to change before or after their friends, but this is normal in most cases.
Some of the changes you can expect are hair growth in the genital area (private area), and under the arms, height, adult sized hands and feet, and a more curvy appearance with breast development. At this time your reproductive system matures and you are physically able to have a baby. Your ovaries begin releasing egg cells, and if they aren’t fertilized by the semen of a man or boy, you will have a period (menstruation). This is when the lining of the uterus (womb), which has been made ready for a fertilized egg, is not needed and breaks up to flow out through the cervix and vagina (opening to the womb) during your period.
Your menstrual cycle usually lasts about 28 to 32 days. Your period will last about 4 to 6 days at the beginning of your cycle. Sanitary products are used to catch the flow of menstrual blood as it passes from your body. You can use pads, panty liners, and tampons, which are placed inside your vagina. If you use tampons, don’t forget to take them out regularly or you could have an episode of Toxic Shock Syndrome, which could cause major illness or death in extreme cases. During your period, you may be irritable, and have cramps or headaches due to hormonal fluctuations in your body.
During Puberty, you may begin to have crushes on boys and even men that you know. You may even begin to have sexual feelings that confuse you. Both of these things are normal. You may know that it’s considered by most Christians to be wrong to have sex before marriage, but also be tempted by the worldly influences that surround you to become sexually active before you are ready. At some point you will have to decide what your own values are and whether or not you will follow the Biblical guidelines of God’s Law. God’s word teaches that sex is reserved for marital unions and if a couple has sex before marriage they should get married right away.
If you choose not to follow these guidelines, you will likely suffer needlessly the emotional and physical consequences of your decision. You may get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the least of which are very uncomfortable and some of which are fatal. No form of birth control is 100 % effective against pregnancy and most don’t protect at all against STDs. Condoms are handed out like candy in public schools and other institutions these days, but condoms slip off and break sometimes. In either case, you’re not protected from an unwanted pregnancy, nor an STD, not to mention emotional consequences when relationships break up unexpectedly.
Having sex carries great responsibilities for both partners, including physical, emotional, and financial responsibilities. Young people have had to delay or forgo their education to have and take care of a baby. Abortion, which has great emotional consequences, should not be considered an option if you and/or the father are Christian. Contrary to popular opinion, everyone your age is not having sex. The ones who are having sex are the ones who are endangering themselves and others needlessly. Don’t let yourself be pressured into having sex before you are physically and emotionally ready and against your better judgment. If a boy or man tells you “If you love me, you will have sex with me,” tell him, “If you love me, you’ll wait for me.” Sex doesn’t equal love. If he doesn’t wait for you and chooses someone else instead, even though you may be heartbroken for a time, you’re better off without him.
Be aware that if a man or even a boy around your own age forces or coerces you into having sex, this is rape or date rape. You should report the offender to authorities, and seek help from a trusted adult. Be sure to get tested for STD’s as well. If you have been sexually abused in any other way, get help immediately from a trusted adult. You have done nothing wrong, especially if you were forced or coerced to do something against your will. Even if you didn’t fight him off, out of fear or any other reason, you are not at fault. Be aware that some women molest and rape children and young girls as well. This is rare, but it does happen. If you have had an experience with a woman, this does not mean you are a Lesbian. One or more experiences of this nature, especially when forced or coerced, does not make you a Lesbian.
It’s always best to make a lifelong commitment in a marital relationship before having sex. God’s way is always the best way! Remember, the only birth control that is 100 % effective against unwanted pregnancy, and protects you against STDs is total abstinence (doing without sex), which is God’s plan for us before marriage. In the Bible King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and had to suffer great consequences as a result. He repented of his sin and God forgave him, but that didn’t erase the consequences of his sexual sin. His child died shortly after birth. If you have already had sex, you can start over with God’s help. God will forgive any unwise decisions you’ve made, though you may still face consequences as a result of your prior choices.
Puberty is a time of great physical change and heightened emotional responses, so protect yourself from the emotional and physical consequences of having sex too early and outside of the marital context by choosing to stay pure. Most young boys who insist they are mature enough to have sex, are not mature enough to settle down and raise a baby when faced with that situation. And most will not be there for you if you contract an STD from them. Remaining pure until marriage is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but the rewards will be great when you succeed. Having saved yourself for your future spouse, will be the best thing you ever gave to yourself and him, not to mention the joy of your dedication of yourself to God.
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