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Monograph - 18
Managing a Sexuality Website for the Public:
POPULAR FAQs of LIFE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Once upon a time, when the Internet was still something relatively new, I founded a small website where I discussed my personal conflicts regarding sexuality, alcoholism, and other intimate issues. It all started out as curiosity with computer technology, but the things I was writing about became tools that helped me to attain self-acceptance and to recover from the obsession of addiction. I never expected much to happen on a public level from my effort, but to my surprise, I received an overwhelming response from my readers. In about two years, the website tally-counters indicated that my pages were read about 1,750,000 times by people around the world. Eventually, I started getting questions from the public about sexuality, puberty, genital concerns, and other personal issues. On average, I would read three to four letters per day, which totaled about 2,500 questions answered within two years. Many questions were repetitive, but I could tell that the person writing the letter wanted an extra ounce of personal reassurance that they were OK even though the answer to their question was already posted on the website.
If I helped ease just one person's mind, or if I convinced one individual that they need to see a doctor for their medical condition, or if I assisted in restoring a little bit of self-respect within a single human being, it made the whole project worthwhile to me.
About half the questions were asked by pre-teens or teenagers and the other half were from adults that ranged in age from 18 to 80. Many of the questions I could answer from the experience gained in a couple of decades of living my own life. On the other hand, some of these questions sent me off to the science books to research the answers.
At times, I would become discouraged when a reader would attempt to use my service as free therapy for their sexuality problems. It was difficult to convince some people that their deep-rooted sexuality issues were not going to be solved by any type of e-mails or websites. Some people simply needed to engage in face-to-face therapy with a professional but they had no idea how to go about such a task, and furthermore, they insisted I had some sort of secret answer that I hadn't told them in my previous e-mail responses. Without knowing exactly what the community and living situation was like in their part of the world, it was usually impossible to refer them to the proper resources. Often, the only reply I could give was that they should use their local telephone book to find a psychotherapist, ask a trusted clergyman, mental health worker, or community mentor about where to go for help.
Another difficulty I ran into was the fact that some people desired to develop somewhat of an interpersonal, intimate, and inappropriate relationship with me. I never realized this fact when I was authoring the website, but it's true that technical discussion of sex and sexuality is arousing to many people. Most of the time, people either lost interest or realized that I was not going to go beyond the boundary of a professional relationship if I always addressed them as 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' instead of using their first name. I definitely refused to call them 'sweetheart' or 'honey' as they sometimes requested. But the most difficult part of this project was translating scientific jargon into everyday language to avoid plagiarism, but more importantly, so people of all ages and backgrounds could understand the answers. The following is an interesting list of the most popular sexuality related questions asked by the Worldwide-Public:
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Section - 18a
Remembering and Researching:
PUBERTY AND BEYOND
What is 'Puberty' and what causes it?
Puberty is the process that occurs when a child grows into a sexually mature individual. A secretion of hormones causes puberty. Hormones are natural signaling chemicals that actually cause bodily changes and growth in skin, hair, bones, organs, and muscles. First, areas in the brain called the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary Gland send growth hormone signals to the testicles or ovaries, which causes the secretion of sex characteristic hormones. Boys produce testosterone (or androgens) in the testicles and girls produce estrogen in the ovaries. These androgen or estrogen hormones cause males and females to develop differently.
When does puberty begin?
Puberty begins sometime usually between ages 11-15 for boys and somewhat earlier for girls (ages 9-13). Some people begin later and some earlier. Every individual human body is unique and develops at different times and rates. Early developers and late developers can have some worries about what is or is not happening. There should be no need for any real worry until at least the later teens. If you are still worried after reading this, a call to your doctor's office will surely end any unwanted fears. There is nothing wrong with asking to speak to a doctor. They get questions about these types of things very frequently. It's not nearly as embarrassing as it may seem at first. Everyone has had concerns about their puberty process regardless if they are late or early developers. Some teens ask how they can get a longer penis, more public hair, or more mature breast development. Usually, the only answer is time. There should be no concern for late development until around age 16 or beyond. In the later teen years or twenties, a late developer may want to consider seeing a doctor for a hormone level blood test. Many times, a prescription may be the key to solving a very late development dilemma.
What should I expect physically during puberty?
(MALE) Development of hair around the penis and testicles, increase in penis size, descending and increased size of testicles, hair under the arms, facial hair, hair on the lower stomach, deepening of the voice, possible voice cracking (brief periods of high pitched tone in voice), possible chest hair, increase in height, libido development (increased interest or drive for sex or stimulation of the penis), possible increase in facial oils, possible acne, the ability to produce sperm and semen, and the ability to fertilize a female's egg through sexual intercourse.
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(FEMALE) Development of breasts and hips, beginning of a monthly period (cycle where ovulation occurs and bleeding from the uterus/vaginal area also occurs), possible heightened tone of voice, development of hair around the vagina, underarms, possible minor facial hair, increase in height, libido development (increased interest or drive for sex or stimulation of the vagina), possible increase in facial oils, possible acne, and the ability to become pregnant through sexual intercourse with a male.
I haven't started puberty yet but all my friends have. What's wrong with me?
Most likely, there is nothing wrong. Everyone develops at a different rate and duration. Some develop later than others and there isn't much we can do about it. A counselor can help us overcome stress and anxiety related to late development but you might not feel the need professional help at all. Many times, young people get concerned or upset because they have seen others who are more developed than themselves. Even though you may have the beginning signs of puberty, you may feel behind others you have seen.
If you've noticed some pubic hair, body hair, increase in size, etc., then you are probably well on your way to more growth. If you are older than 15-16 years old and have absolutely no signs of puberty, you may want to check with your doctor. Or if you seem to have completely stopped development for the past couple of years, you may want to see your doctor. Often, a simple blood test can answer your questions. If the problem is a low hormone level, a prescription may correct the problem. You may have to wait longer than others to reach full development but there is almost always a solution to this problem. Some continue to grow until they are in their 20s.
What is Adult Mental Puberty?
Mental puberty can begin anywhere between the ages of 15 or 16 to the mid 20s. It can last for years and can also stop and start again well into at least middle age. It is the process where the sex drive and desire become more developed. Sex and masturbation become not only a source for sex drive relief but also more pleasurable for the act itself. The ability to fantasize more vividly is possible. The desire for sex to last longer is sometimes apparent. Usually, the individual becomes able to enjoy stimulation to the genitals even after orgasm whereas the younger individual normally becomes too sensitive for stimulation after orgasm occurs. The interesting thing about mental puberty is that we have much more conscious control over its progress than we do during physical puberty. We can learn new lovemaking techniques, ways to prolong orgasm, and increase or imaginative capabilities. Many things are possible in mental puberty and it just makes getting older that much more exciting.
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If you masturbate during puberty, or before you begin the stages of puberty, will it slow down the growth process or affect the final outcome?
No, most people masturbate before puberty. Although you may not be able to feel a full orgasm before puberty, it is perfectly normal to find masturbation of the genitals pleasurable. Masturbation can occur at any age including during the very young infant and toddler stages. A secretion of hormones from the brain causes puberty. The brain is pre-programmed to initiate puberty regardless of external sexual experiences.
All I think about is sex. I want to do it but I'm only 11. What can I do?
You're at that age now where these things start to happen. It's totally normal to be curious about sex -- just don't let it overwhelm you. Believe it or not, many other people have the same problem you mentioned. It usually becomes more controllable as you mature. What I do is get involved in other activities such as rollerblading, skateboarding, other sports, etc. Also, computers offer a whole world of activities if you take the time to explore beyond sexual topics online. You have to channel your energy and thoughts into something besides sexual thoughts. It's natural to think about sex but remember that life is also full of other fascinating things besides sex.
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