Questions you may be too shy to ask


There are some things that you wonder about, that may even keep you awake at night. But who can you ask? Mother, father, teacher, friend? Sometimes it may be too embarrassing. That's why we answer them for you here on our teen magazine zone.

I'm a 14-year-old girl and I haven't got my period yet. Is something wrong?
A girl's period, also called menstruation, starts after she's reached puberty. This is usually between ages 8 – 13, but it is quite normal for a period to only start at age 14 or 15. Usually periods start about 2 years after the first signs of puberty. These things also run in families – if your mother or sisters only started their periods at 14 or 15, chances are you will too. Stop worrying about it. The things that could delay the start of periods are very vigorous exercise, over- or underweight, and stress.

Can I get pregnant if I have sex during my period?
Many people believe that this is not possible, but it is. Sometimes a little bleeding occurs at ovulation, when you are at your most fertile, and this is often mistaken for menstruation, which it is not. Sometimes ovulation can take place before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped. This is usually the case when a girl's menstrual cycle is shorter than 20 days. In either of these cases, pregnancy can result.

Am I still a virgin if use a tampon?
Yes. Losing your virginity happens when you have sexual intercourse for the first time. Inserting a tampon is definitely not sexual intercourse. This concern is an old-fashioned one, when an intact hymen was a sign of virginity. The hymen is a thin piece of tissue that stretches across part of the opening of the vagina – some girls are born without one though. Sometimes, when a girl still has a hymen, and she has sex for the first time, it breaks and may cause slight bleeding. Even if a tampon breaks the hymen, only sexual intercourse can end the state of virginity.

I'm a guy, so why am I developing breasts?
Lots of teen guys worry about this one. Don't waste your energy – it is completely normal for your breasts to be tender and for you to develop some breast tissue. In almost all cases, this is a temporary thing and will go away by itself within a few months. They all flatten out in the end, so don't lie awake at night about this. These are just your hormones going a bit wild.

Is my penis normal?
This is a question asked by teens across the world – probably about a million times a day. Accept that there is a wide range of normal sizes and colours. Penis size also changes with age. There is no connection between the size of your penis and your masculinity. You don't have to look the same as everyone else – even if you are a slow developer, you will catch up. So chill out – there will always be guys out there who are bigger and smaller than you are.

Are erections normal, or is there something wrong with me?
This is completely normal and happens often in puberty. An erection causes the penis to fill with blood and become larger. After ejaculation – when sperm is released through the small hole at the tip of the penis – the erection goes away again. This can happen even if you're sleeping. Sometimes erections happen if you think of sex, or sometimes for no reason at all. This can happen several times a day or once or twice a week. There isn't much you can do to control these – your body is just behaving in a perfectly normal way.

Will our braces get stuck when we kiss?
Braces are a reality for many teens – and horror stories abound. Braces today are a lot smaller and smoother than they were, say, twenty years ago. Chances are that it might feel a little uncomfortable kissing someone else with braces, but getting stuck? Not easily. If anything does manage to get stuck in your braces, don't try and remove it yourself – call the orthodontist, as you could do costly damage if you try getting it out yourself!

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)

(Picture: teens with question marks from Shutterstock)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
28% - 9926 votes
72% - 25882 votes