Puberty is a period of changes in an adolescent’s body. It can also be a very confusing period for them if they aren’t armed with the right information. From breaking voices to hair growing where it shouldn’t, I spoke to five Nigerian men about experiencing puberty.
Puberty didn’t take me by surprise because my friends and I had always talked about it since JSS 1 so I knew what to expect. It all started when I was 12. I started becoming more sexually aware and charged and noticing pubic hair growing. I felt elated, but not for very long.
I never got a talk from my parents, which isn’t surprising. Still, I didn’t feel lost thanks to the weirdest conversations I had with friends.
Puberty was crazy. Hair growth all over, my voice breaking and getting deeper, getting hard-ons in the most awkward places and times and a consuming interest in butts and long penises. I was a hot mess of hormones. Most notable was my first wet dream when I was in JSS 3. I had no idea what semen was and I was confused as hell as to what this sticky, off-white, tangy-tasting (yes, I tasted it) thing was. I thought the wet dream was my fault and I was too mortified to ask any of the other guys if they had similar experiences.
The resumption in SS 1 was wild. Everyone was developing and boy, it was a heaven of tits, asses and a constant boner and blue balls. I took it on myself to explore with porn, hentai and masturbation. I was deeply religious so there was a good chunk of guilt, self-loathing and depression. I didn’t get any information from my parents because their version of the talk was, “don’t watch porn or have sex because that will grieve the holy spirit and if you piss him off too much he can fuck you up or kill you.” My mental health was in shambles and by SS3, I had several failed suicide attempts.
Thankfully, my uncle Gbenga was the male role model every boy needs in that phase in his life, because omo, if not for him I would just be another statistic used to argue about mental health and suicide.
I’m not even sure when puberty started. I didn’t get any facial hair but I noticed my voice was breaking. I also started having wet dreams which I thought were super awkward. I think I was in SS 1 when it hit me. I was in boarding school. My parents didn’t do much in the way of talking to me about puberty, only stuff like, “study hard so you can be successful, pray for your future wife and telling me I had to remain a virgin.” Nothing about what was happening to my body.
I had nobody to talk to about it and I didn’t want to discuss it with my mates because they might tease you or insult you with it on a bad day. So I just paid attention in biology classes and accepted that this was my life now.
I was 9 years old and in boarding school when puberty started. I was one of the youngest boys in school at the time. All the changes and everything happened to me while I was in the hostel because I spent more time there than I did at home.
My parents were alright but I guess not talking about sex was the normal thing back then. They were present for me for PTA meetings and all of that but to talk about sex? Nah. I had to figure it out by myself by reading a lot of books and Hearts magazines, as I was a voracious reader. I also heard stuff here and there from seniors. My first memory of a sexual desire was in JSS 2. That was when I realised that boys are really different from girls [laughs].
My experience was weird. I didn’t get any talk from my parents and I was in boarding school. I just remember being very upset that my adopted brother was growing hair in his armpit and on his balls before me, who was supposed to be older than him! It was traumatic.
Puberty didn’t come with very dramatic hormonal changes for me. It just made me conscious that there was something really wrong with me. I would have boners for no reason, often for boys in hostel. This was especially difficult to hide when I had a shared bathroom. So I had to take my bath too early or later than others to avoid boys and boners.
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