There are so many good questions. Here are a few we’ve been asked recently. We think they’re brave , interesting and smart questions and wanted to share them with you.
Question: “Is the sexual intercourse a natural instinct?”
Answer: Feeling attracted to others and wanting to show and share one’s love is totally natural. Sexual intercourse is just one of the ways people do that, and there are many other ways people show and share their love too. There are some guidelines people have made about when we follow our natural instinct – for example, wanting to eat a gallon of your favorite ice cream every day might be something your instinct tells you to do, but you know there are some reasons you need to hold yourself back (you’ll get obese, you might get tired of it, it will spoil your appetite for more healthy things). So we acknowledge our instincts while considering all the things that can happen when doing them.
Question: “How can you control your emotions if you don’t have a lot of time?”
Answer: When you feel overwhelmed by your emotions, a good place to start is to give your feelings a name. By labeling our emotions and feelings, we help our brains define them, and when we define our emotions, we get better at finding specific solutions to manage them.
When you have more time to process your feelings, sometimes writing in a journal can be helpful since it gives you a place to reflect on how your body was feeling and the situation that made it feel that way and you might have a new insight that would be helpful next time..
Many people find that talking with a trusted person can be helpful in situations that feel overwhelming. For some kids that might be a parent, family member, or older sibling. For others, that might be a counselor or other expert.
Questions: “What is it like to have “feelings?””
Answer: You already know, since you’re had feelings since you were born. You’ve felt happy, sad, lonely, excited, embarrassed, shy, and many, many others throughout your life so far. In the years coming up, you’ll have some new feelings and some familiar ones. Part of growing up is learning how to deal with these feelings and to understand them. And that’s a lifelong process.
Question: “When did you have your first *big* crush? – 6th grader who has hers right now”
Answer: Almost everyone has attractions or crushes to people at some point. Liking someone, caring about someone, appreciating someone – these are all terrific things that humans get to experience with each other. Sometimes these feelings lead to relationships or friendships, but they certainly don’t have to. Your feelings are yours. And it’s likely that as you grow up you will like lots of people and lots of people will like you, because there are lots of likable people. PS – I was in the 6th grade too!
Questions: “If you hold in a fart too long, will you explode?”
Answer: No! It will come out no matter what, sometimes at the most unfortunate time!
Question: “I wonder if puberty is as amazing as it seems. I’m very excited.”
Answer: There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to puberty – it is a time to watch your body become an adult size and shape which can be pretty cool. Being taller and being seen by others as older and more mature are two things lots of girls say they are excited about when it comes to growing up. Sometimes people are uncertain about how they feel about the whole thing. They feel awkward about some of the body changes or are afraid of managing some of the logistics. It can be helpful to know that EVERYONE goes through some sort of changes as they grow older. And best of all, there are a lot of people – your parents, teachers, friends, sisters, and grandparents who know a bit about puberty and best of all, they want the whole puberty experience to go well for you and would love to help you out.
Questions: “If you are having sex and your penis gets stuck, what do you do?”
Answer: It won’t. I guarantee you. A woman’s vagina is somewhat stretchy and accommodates a penis like a sock does a foot. It also lubricates itself to make less friction and easier to manage.
Question: “The thing I wish my friends understood about me is that I like candy.”
Answer: Knowing the things you like and are interested in is a great place to start when making friends. If you are trying to start a conversation with someone you would like to be friends with, start by asking the other person a question about themselves, Listen for things that you share in common and also things that are different. I’m going to guess you are going to find plenty of people who like candy too!
Question: “How does it not hurt when the penis goes inside the vagina, because the penis looks fatter so how does it not hurt?”
Answer: One way to think of it is that a vagina is like a sock – when it’s lying in the drawer, it’s closed and flat. When you put your foot into a sock, the sock stretches somewhat and now takes the shape of your foot. A penis and vagina work in a similar way. A thing to remember – the area around the vagina is sensitive, just like the end of your penis. The vagina also takes a little time to self-lubricate to make it easier for a penis to fit in – so it’s important things not be too hurried or forceful to prevent hurt or discomfort. It’s always a good idea to talk to one’s sexual partner to make sure things are comfortable and going OK.
Questions: “Why do some kids at school act homophobic even if they aren’t?”
Answer: Homophobic means acting in a mean way to gay or lesbian people. Some people might think it’s cool to make fun of others or say things that hurt them. That’s what bullies do. Some kids think by acting or saying something one way might hide how they really feel, maybe to impress someone. But it sounds like you aren’t impressed at all and feel all kids need to be treated nicely and fairly, and that being gay or lesbian is just a different type of sexuality and not something to be afraid of or make fun of.
Question: “What is it like to grow up while in puberty?”
Answer: “Growing up” is the work of becoming a grown-up. Your body and your brain are changing to prepare you for doing all sorts of things in the future – like driving a car, having a baby, working at a job, being in love…being a friend. The word puberty describes how your body grows from a girl’s body to a woman’s body, and the word “adolescence” describes how your brain changes to make adult decisions and have adult relationships. Every girl will have their own unique experience with puberty AND every girl, at the exact same time, shares a lot of their experience of puberty with all other girls in the world and all girls in history.
Questions: “Why do parents care about their kids if you can just make more?”
Answer: Almost all parents love their kids from the moment they see them. They work hard to keep the kids happy and healthy; they guide them to make good choices; they enjoy watching them grow and learn new things – they dedicate a lot or most of their energy in raising the children. Starting over by having another child is possible but most parents want to keep the ones they already know and love and have worked so hard to help grow.
Question: “What are the signs of having your period? Also, here’s a pony.”
Answer: Although it’s impossible to predict the exact day your first period will appear, your body provides some clues that it is preparing for your first period. The appearance of pubic hair, of a whitish fluid – kind of sticky sometimes – in your underwear, and your body shape starting to change with breasts and broader hips are some of the signs to watch for. On the day your period starts you will notice dark red or brown fluid in your underwear. Oh, and thanks for the pony.
Questions: “Why do men go bald – it’s like the opposite of puberty?”
Answer: Balding in guys is something guys inherit from their families and is helped along by testosterone. Since guys have a lot of that hormone, this is more a guy’s problem than a woman’s. It can start in your 20’s or not until your 50’s or not happen at all. And some babies are born with a full head of hair from the start. So hair on the head can be hard to predict.
Questions: “Is it possible to have no testes? I also like your shirt.”
Answer: The human body is amazing in how often things turn out right, but one can always find a case somewhere, sometime, when things didn’t go right. A boy’s testicles are made in his abdomen and travel down into his scrotum a few weeks before he’s born. If a baby is born with a normal penis and scrotum but there are no testicles in them when he’s born, they are most likely still there but haven’t made the trip yet. This most often happens if a baby is born premature, or early. In most cases, they will still make the trip later. Rarely, they don’t and will need help from doctors to fix that. A boy needs his testicles in his scrotum to make the testosterone to enable puberty to happen and to allow him to make sperm for reproduction. He can make do with one, but most boys have two.
Question: “What if my period happens out of my house?”
Answer: Your period can start anywhere – at a swim meet, overnight camp, while writing poetry in class, playing chess with your grandfather, or in the middle of a math test…the possibilities are endless. Once you notice your period has started, it’s helpful to protect your clothing for the next few days and nights so you can continue to do all the things you love to do. Having pads or tampons in your backpack is a great way to take along the supplies you need if your period starts. However, if you don’t have those available, you can always create a pad out of toilet paper until you can get to some other supplies.
Questions: “Do you have to move while doing sex?”
Answer: To feel pleasure when your body is touched and to give others pleasure by touching them, you do need to move around in order to explore, to figure out what positions are comfortable for each of you, and sometimes just to try something new.
Question: “How long does your under arm hair and pubic hair grow? Like as long as the hair on your head? Do you cut it?”
Answer: Under arm hair and pubic hair (hair between your legs) show up as a natural part of girl’s puberty. You don’t have to worry about pubic hair or under arm hair growing as long as the hair on your head – it tends to be self-limiting – only growing about an inch. Cutting your underarm hair with scissors would definitely be tricky! There are a number of safer ways to remove hair from under your arms or other places if you decide that is important to you. Removing body hair can sometimes create irritated skin. It may be helpful to know that millions of women around the world leave their body hair to grow and don’t cut it, shave it, or wax it and in some places of the world there are traditions about removing body hair for beauty, sports, religious or other reasons.
Questions: “What types of girls are good to crush on?”
Answer: Crushes are when someone likes another person, thinks about them a lot, wants to know them better and be near them. Sometimes you don’t have control over who you develop a crush on – it just happens. But you can figure out who you like by talking to them, doing things together like playing games or other activities, and learning what they like and what you have in common.
Question: “What happens if your body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?”
Answer: Sometimes girls worry that their bodies are not working or growing normally. If you have questions about your body, it is helpful to check in with someone who might have some answers for you. Talking to a parent or a health care provider is a safe place to start. Even though girls have similar experiences of body changes in puberty – there is a wide range of WHEN those changes happen and how fast. And, even when the same thing is happening, it can look different for different girls. Much of our experience of puberty is determined by the heredity passed along by birth parents. And we know how different parents can be!
Questions: “Do people make weird noises when they have sex?”
Answer: There is more to sex than ejaculation – when the sperm in the semen come out the end of the erect penis. Your heart beats fast, you breathe fast, you sweat, your muscles clench, and you feel a sensation most people find pleasurable. When people feel really great, sometimes they say things or even yell things as part of feeling good.
Question: “What will it feel like when you make love, have sex or sexual contact? – A Curious Child”
Answer: Lots of people are curious about sex – welcome to the club! Choosing to have sex is dependent on many things – having the ability to have sex, having someone who also want to have sex with you at that time, and being together with that person in a safe place. Some people never have sex, some have sex a few times, and some people have sex often. People generally choose to have sex because it brings pleasure to both people and it can communicate love and commitment. If it hurts for any reason, then the person that feels pain can speak up to ask for something to change. When people who love and respect each other are uncomfortable in any way when having sex, then they can be safe to talk it over and make adjustments to bring more comfort.
Questions: “How long does the penis have to be to have sex? 1 foot? Two inches? Other?”
Answer: Practically all guys’ penises are just about the same length, despite what you hear. Penises have only two jobs: to pee and to have sex. Consider your penis normal. It’s not the length of a penis that is so important, but the way a guy uses it.
Question: “Why do I think that sometimes my parents are driving me crazy?”
Answer: Have you ever noticed how the people in your family can be your strongest advocates and loudest cheerleaders and simultaneously the most frustrating and annoying people in your life? Actually, that is one of the signs you are all growing – because conversations and events in a family change all the time Being together – living, arguing, having adventures, celebrating, hanging out, working, debating, playing, and talking – are all part of the work of a family.
Questions: “Is the first date the most brutal?”
Answer: That makes it sound much worse than it usually is! Dates are a great way to get to know someone to see if you like them and to find out things you both like. They can be fun and exciting. But not all dates turn out great if the two people find out they really don’t get along so well. Sometimes one person likes the other one but the affections are not returned. And like all new experiences, you can be confused and embarrassed and feel awkward. Ask the trusted adults in your life if they can tell you about a few of their dates – what went well for them and some lessons they learned that they can pass on to you.
Questions: “Is it messy when you have sex?”
Answer: As with most things you are new at, you might feel awkward or clumsy or just confused about things when having sex. Since this involves two people, that makes two who can feel that way! Anything as huge and as complicated as sexual intercourse can take some time to get comfortable with.
Questions: “Why do you get tired when you have sex?”
Answer: Not everybody does; in fact, some people say it is energizing. But it does take body energy for this to happen and some people say they feel tired in a good way. Also, many people choose to have sex at night, when they might already be tired from the activities of the day.
Questions: “Should I say I love you on a card or say on a date?”
Answer: People tell others they love them in so many ways: they can just tell them face-to-face; they can write it on a letter; they can give the other person a special gift that says “I love you;” they can treat them in such a special way that only someone who loves them would do that; and many more. You don’t have to love someone to go on a date, however, since dates are opportunities to learn about each other and see how much you have in common and whether you like the other person.