How is male puberty observed across the world?

Advertisement
Advertisement

When a male passes through puberty (or at is least old enough for it), many cultures around the world have traditions, customs or ceremonies marking this passage in the young man's life.

In Quranic teachings, Islamic parents are told to teach their sons about responsibility and adulthood and instruct them that they will be responsible for their actions from the time of their first ejaculation. After that, sons are to pray and perform religious observations as adults do. Should a boy have a wet dream, the Quran teaches that the son should bathe himself immediately. Should a sexual dream happen without ejaculation, the boy does not have to clean himself.

In Judaism, boys become a bar mitzvah (literally "son of the commandment") upon their 13th birthday. This marks the moment when the child must observe the commandments and all Jewish teachings. Although the status is automatically conferred on the boy's birthday, often he recites a blessing before the congregation or assists in leading a service. Afterward, modern practice has added a celebratory reception widely known as "the bar mitzvah," but it's far from a universal practice.

In many parts of the world, like Malaysia and throughout Southern Africa, boys are often circumcised about the time they reach age 11 or 12, near the onset of puberty. It is thought that pubescent circumcision was employed by some ancient cultures to mimic the genital bleeding experienced by girls. Several Australian aboriginal tribes also use penis incision or piercing in puberty rites, as well as circumcision.

Several cultures involve other forms of trials, ordeals or tests the boy has to successfully pass. Apache boys must take ice baths, while aboriginal Australians sent boys away on long foot journeys, known as walkabouts, where the boy must pick up and perfect hunting and survival skills. Several Native American tribes also sent young men out on vision quests.

Death is not unusual in South African puberty rituals, when boys are separated from the village and generally starved as part of their initiation. Although most survive this separation, several die as the result of infection from the circumcision ceremony that follows.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.