We Answer: What’s the WORST Thing About Puberty?

by | Oct 19, 2018 | Uncategorized | 38 comments

What's the Worst Part of Puberty?
Merchandise is Here!

We’ve been so excited here at Bare Marriage, because next week the Boy’s Version of The Whole Story: Not-So-Awkward Talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up launches!

The Whole Story for girls is a video-based online course featuring my daughters (Katie and Rebecca) explaining how sex works, what your period is, all about bras, and hygiene, as well as peer pressure and how to handle dating. The girls start the conversations by talking about the awkward stuff, but then checklists, discussion questions, and mother-daughter activities help moms keep those conversations going.
And now we’ve got the boy’s version almost all ready to go (just working on the final touches this weekend!). We approached Sheldon Neil, an awesome young television personality out of Crossroads TV, and asked if he’d like to be involved, and he jumped at the chance. He’s so great on camera, and he’s cool, too, so I think boys will see him as an awesome mentor. And what Sheldon really put into the boy’s version, too, is how to grow godly character in those years.

When I first met Sheldon–he interviewed me for Context TV
Sheldon Neil, the host of “Outside the Box” on Crossroads TV

Are you terrified to give your kids “the talk?”

We want to help. So we created The Whole Story: an online video-based course to help parents tell their children about sex, puberty, and growing up.

Let us start those awkward conversations, so you can finish them!

So we thought, in preparation for The Whole Story launching next week, that I’d survey a bunch of people who are part of Bare Marriage behind the scenes and ask them: “What was the worst part about puberty for you?” And we got some great answers!
And I’ll start with myself:
This is going to sound weird, but the worst part was feeling like I was grown up, feeling like everyone around me was grown up, feeling like no one understood I was grown up–but not actually being grown up and not able to admit that to myself. I just didn’t know so many things, but I thought I did. And I wasn’t mature enough to be an adult. But I thought I was supposed to be one. I just didn’t give myself permission to be a kid anymore. And it made me way too serious and boy-crazy too fast.
Sheila Gregoire

Blogger, Author, Speaker

Puberty as a whole wasn’t that hard for me, but it was embarrassing because my voice was cracking–and I talk so much! And even though my acne wasn’t that bad, when I did get pimples they would be huge and right on the tip of my nose. I went through life feeling like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Keith Gregoire

Doens't work on the blog, but is an amazing doctor, Plus he's Sheila's husband!

The worst thing about puberty is that, honestly, for a solid two years I was really really ugly. It’s like my nose ears, and nipples grew first, and everything else took a long time to catch up. And to make matters worse, at the time I was trying so hard to dress like an adult–but I wasn’t thinking, “Cool, hip 18-year-old”. Nope, I wanted to look like someone in her mid-thirties. I wanted my fashion choices to say, “I have a mortgage, four kids, and a labrador retriever.” I was a 12-year-old who loved tweed. It was a rough few years.
Rebecca Lindenbach

Host of The Whole Story, author of Why I Didn't Rebel , Plus she's Sheila's Daughter

I’ve never really thought that Rebecca was fair to herself! She’s always talking about how ugly she was, but that’s honestly not how I remember it.
Rebecca remembers herself like this:
But I remember her like this:
But then, I’ll always be her mom! 🙂
For me, the hardest things to deal with through adolescence were the complicated emotions I was constantly faced with. I was trying to figure out who I was, and was always wondering if there was something wrong with me. I could never discuss these issues with anyone because no one else was talking about them. It took me years to recognize that everyone else had been going through the same thing.
Connor Lindenbach

Technical Guru at Bare Marriage, and Rebecca's Husband

CRAMPS. My period cramps were awful. I was in so much pain I would get super dizzy and light-headed–to the point where I nearly fell down a flight of stairs at my high school. I remember curling up around a pillow at home and just crying because of the pain. It’s so much better now after having my daughter Maddy!
Samantha Duncan

Newsletter Coordinator, Plus she's an awesome mom of a 1-year-old!

Getting boobs before the other girls and feeling uncomfortable and ugly. Not understanding why the guys liked me more then the other girls, and then realizing it was my boobs, which also made me uncomfortable. And crying all the time for no reason.

Katie Emmerson

Host of The Whole Story, YouTuber, Plus she's Sheila's daughter

(Yeah, Katie really did cry a lot for no reason. Sometimes it would be over Downton Abbey and I would just laugh at her. That likely wasn’t the best response!) 🙂

The worst part of puberty for me was that I was terrified of my own body. I didn’t understand how sexuality worked and so I walked around terrified that I’d sin. When I was about 11, I heard a preacher on the radio rail against the dangers of fornication. I didn’t know what he meant, but I felt super guilty, so I figured I must have, at some point, fornicated. I most definitely had not! It’s hilarious now, but I remember being so ashamed and sad at the time.

Joanna Sawatsky

Researcher and Writer, Plus she's a mom to a baby!

I am honestly one of the lucky ones: puberty wasn’t too bad for me. I got tall fast, but not crazy early, and I was homeschooled, so I was insulated from the classroom pettiness that so often causes problems. The worst parts were the growing pains I dealt with and the acne that made me feel a bit like my face had decided to dress up as a pepperoni pizza for Halloween.

Josiah Sawatsky

General support to Joanna, Plus he's a lawyer and a great dad!

I didn’t learn birds and bees from my parents.  I learned from some friends and my father’s stash of pornographic magazines.  It wasn’t something that was ever talked about at my house. First woman I ever saw naked I was an adult.  I was at work at the military gym, and I was responsible for making sure the building was empty prior to closing up.  It was quite traumatic for me at the time, when I opened the door after knocking to find her just coming out of the shower!
Steeve Arseneau

Husband of Tammy, Plus he officiated Katie and David's wedding!

My parents were of the belief that the school would be the best to teach about things. Unfortunately I developed quite early and actually got my first period at 11. My best friend was in the bathroom with me when I first discovered my period. I was horrified because I didn’t have a clue what was happening. Thanks to her and our teacher, I was able to get what I needed and they were able to reassure me that it was completely normal. In my mind, my whole body was developing, breasts, pubic hair, etc.  All I felt was shame that I was so different from my friends, developing before them.  I just assumed my sister was gaining some weight and was clueless that she was actually pregnant.  She actually went away to a private school, for unwed mothers, so when she came back with a baby, I was quite naive to it all.  Once my nephew was born, I learned so much more because my sister started to explain some things to me. I vowed  I would be different with my daughter and probably went the other way in talking to her.  It was a big part of how we communicated from an early age.  I didn’t want her to experience the shame and confusion I had.
Tammy Arseneau

Ministry Director, Right Hand Woman, Plus she's a close friend

And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with The Whole Story–make it easier to have those conversations with your kids!
I asked this question on Instagram last night, too, and some of the answers were hilarious, but quite a few were heartbreaking, too. Here are just a few:

  • My dad must have been uncomfortable with my body changes because he teased me at age 11-12 for developing boobs (how can you see if your socks match)…
  • Worst part of puberty: cripplingly painful cramps. Most horrifying: how sex works. I clearly remember thinking, “you really have to love somebody a lot to let him do that!” 😂😂😂
  • It’s probably mild but my body type is way more curvy than my mom and sister, and I definitely needed better bras than them, but my mom never helped me with that, or helped me be ok that I was built different. Also I seemed to miss out on the talks about shaving and periods (beyond the fact my period was going to happen sometime), but I know my sister and mom talked about it. So I felt embarrassed and left out of important knowledge!

There were so many more, it’s hard to pick! (Go check them out on Instagram–it’s hard to miss the terrible pic of me.)
Then there were some really sad ones, too:
The absolute worst part was the fact that NO ONE said ANYTHING to me!! I freaked out when I started my period! It was Thanksgiving Day and the whole family was over, I was in the bathroom for a really long time freaking out bc I thought I was dying, like for real!! I had no idea what was happening to me! My sister-in-law found me and sat down beside me on the floor, put her arm around me and gently explained the whole thing! But that wasn’t the end of it, when my hubby now and I were engaged and we were talking about birth control options, something came up about sex and I don’t even remember the conversation but basically I confused him and he confused me bc I had never had it explained to me and I had no clue what I was talking about or how it all happened. The only thing I’d ever been around or seen was cows and dogs, that’s where I got my info. So yeah a HUGE amount of confusion and embarrassment on my part. He finally got his health book, and turned it to the par about how a baby is conceived, told me to read that and walked out of the room. Lol when I was in our private school that I went to, our conception unit was torn out of the books bc no one wanted questions or that conversation! 🙄
And another woman said this:
I think the worst part was the sore breast and feeling like everything body related was forbidden and embarrassing (that’s how my parents acted). My mom told me when I was 10 or 11 what a period was, so that I wouldn’t freak out when I randomly started bleeding one day. That was it, nothing about sex, nothing about our bodies… My mom did mention that “we know that boys pee standing up.” & “Babies don’t come out of you’re butt, they come out of the front part.” That’s the closest to a sex talk as I got. I went to a private school and we never had any type of sex ed classes. I learned everything from kids at school. I was 18 before I found out I had a clitoris or a urethra, I literally thought I pee’d out of my vagina. So, I was pretty horrified to learn all of this from my now husband. 
It seriously is comments like this that make me so excited that we’ve got The Whole Story for you all! Our dream is to help you prepare your kids for life by making the puberty and sex talks far less awkward, and by delivering them in such a way that it encourages you to continue conversations with your kids, and make those conversations much easier. I see the effects of growing up with shame everyday on this blog, and if we can help some kids mature into adulthood WITHOUT that shame, and understanding their bodies and sex as God intended, I would be so happy.
I could go on and on here about what other people said (there are literally dozens of comments), but I want to turn it over to you now! What was the worst part of puberty for you? And do you think that guys have it easier than girls? Let me know in the comments!
How Bad Was Puberty for You? We share some horror stories about puberty from both boys and girls! #puberty #talkingtoyourkidsaboutsex

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Emily

    Puberty was tough. I’m trying with my kids to do the bits I wish someone had known to do for me.
    FYI, I think there’s an error in a caption. Pretty sure Keith isn’t your daughter! 🙂

  2. L

    The worst part of puberty for me was not necessarily the experience of it but in adult hood reflecting on what kind of person I was during puberty if that makes sense and feeling awful for how I treated others.
    I did not have any self awareness to how obnoxious I sometimes was. I teased others because of my insecurities, trying to be funny and cool. I regret that.
    I always love your family’s openness and stories by the way and how you can laugh with eachother!!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      L, I get you. I was super obnoxious to my mother, which I regret now. I was just trying so hard to be grown up, and I had no realization that I didn’t know what I was doing.
      And, yeah, our family does have a lot of fun together!

  3. Phil

    For me and from what I know from the guy side who develops first is actually not seen as weird But a cut above the rest so to speak. That to me was how I remember it. In gym class during those key developmental years we had to take mandatory showers and you had to call your number out while you were in there – they werent individual stalls – we are talking open area showers. the gym teacher wasnt standing there watching you but there was no getting out of it so why you didn’t say anything to those around you you kind of knew who had what equipment and there was a code you just didn’t say anything but it sure was uncomfortable. In the end I think girls have it much harder than guys overall. There is just a lot more mechanical going on there and then you have the mental on top of it all.

    • Phil

      Oh and I’m all in on your not so awkward product my daughter is 36% in on the whole story and it’s been really great from what I understand I am not really part of that one but I have two boys one who I’ll have to back the train up on a little bit and another one who’s eight so we’ll be ready.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, I’m so glad she’s enjoying it!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yeah, that’s what we were talking about behind the scenes this week, too. I do think that girls have a lot more to deal with! It’s funny, when the girls were making the course, there was SO MUCH to cover for girls about their bodies. When Sheldon was making his version, there just wasn’t as much. So we added a lot more character stuff!

  4. Maria

    The worst part of puberty for me was being a late bloomer. I didn’t get my period until I was 13.5, and I didn’t need a bra until my sophomore year in high school. In hindsight I should have enjoyed all of that, but my best friend developed super early (period in elementary school), so I just felt left behind.

  5. Ashley

    Starting my period was HORRIBLE! I did know about periods before I got mine. My Mom gave me an age-appropriate book to read that had all the info. It failed to convey 2 things: which hole the blood would be coming from, and the fact that blood can be brown. It was a bit confusing at first, because it wasn’t bright red. I was so embarrassed and horrified to be starting so young that I kept it a secret from my mom for as many months as possible. My first few were very light, and I managed with paper towels. Then I had my first “normal” messy period, and I had to ‘fess up.

    • Courtney

      This sounds identical to my experience!! I literally didn’t tell my mom for 2 months .

  6. Chris

    I think that girls have puberty a lot harder than boys. But i remember having the thought that i was not in control of my body. I remember being gangly and awkward because I hadn’t grown into my body if that makes any sense. My voice also got deep early and i got teased for that so it has lead to a life long aversion to talking.

  7. Samantha

    I feel like Rebecca and I had very similar opinions of ourselves. Only my “ugly” stage didn’t last two years. It started in sixth grade and I don’t feel that I really started growing out of it until my senior year in high school when my body shape and facial features finally started to stabilize. I actually lost about 10 lbs that year without really doing much. I started getting breasts in third grade, putting on a little more weight in fourth grade, got my period in fifth and started my awkward/ugly stage in sixth. The worst part about the timing of puberty is that just when you feel the most awkward you really start to crave attention from the opposite sex. I definitely noticed other girls getting attention when I wasn’t and that hurt A LOT. Especially when you develop crushes on guys who don’t give you the time of day but you watch as they give other girls attention and the only explanation you can come up with is that those girls are better than you (in the eyes of the boys). That explanation is cemented when you watch the same girls get attention from boys over and over again. To this day I feel a pang of jealousy when I hear women talk about how ashamed and awkward they felt when they started getting attention from boys when they were younger. I’m not saying they didn’t have their own struggles because of the attention they got, but I have to say I think not getting any attention at all is a lot harder on a young girl’s self-image. And I’m strictly talking about attention from boys their own age. It was even harder for me because my mom didn’t help me at all through that long, painful awkward stage to help me feel as comfortable or pretty as possible. But she’d often criticize me and my sisters for apparently not caring about our weight, not getting out to tan in the summer, and such. “We would never get attention from boys if we didn’t try harder.” It was rough. It is a miracle I am as well-adjusted as I am now. Lol I have God to thank for that.

    • Samantha

      And I realize I wrote quite a story just to say I was incredibly awkward and went through a very long ugly stage with absolutely no help from my mother to make it any easier or potentially shorter, and got no attention from boys. But here’s the thing. I feel like a lot of attention and support goes to the girls who got attention (even if it was the awkward and sometimes inappropriately expressed attention of awkward boys going through puberty themselves) and how it made them feel. I don’t think we really focus much on how detrimental it is on a young girl “blossoming” into a young woman to not receive any attention at all from the opposite sex. People usually try to gloss over it by saying things like, “it’s not really important what boys think of you.” “They’ll wise up someday and you’ll have boys lining up for you.” But the truth is, it is very lonely for a young girl to feel like she is invisible while other girls are getting noticed.

      • Samantha

        Let me correct myself. It is very lonely for the girls AND boys who don’t get noticed. It’s nearly impossible (maybe totally impossible) to get through puberty and not be concerned about what the opposite sex thinks of you.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I would totally agree!

    • Natalie

      I was in the same boat as you too, Samantha. I started developing at age 9, period by 11, and didn’t have a guy ask me out till I was 19!! I had 3 really intense, long crushes on guys in jr high and high school who knew who I was (we were part of the same friends group) but didn’t give me the time of day. That continued even into the later years of high school when all my close girl friends had boyfriends. Going into college, I sometimes wondered what was wrong with me, but ultimately trusted that God must have a reason for why He was keeping the boys again. Thankfully, I was comfortable enough with my looks and personality by the time I went to college that I didn’t doubt those were the things keeping boys away. But I just wondered when my turn would come. The first boy who asked me out ended up being my first boyfriend for 6 months in college. He was nice enough, but when I didn’t put out and he realised I wasn’t going to budge on the sex, he dumped me quick. I was heartbroken! The second boy I who asked me out I didn’t want to date because it was only 2 months after my first breakup and I was worried he’d be a rebound guy. We married 5 years later. 😂 Moral of my story: while I didn’t budge on the physical things I let guys do during our relationships, I definitely said yes to the first guy who asked me out because I was just so flattered and couldn’t believe that, at 19, it’d finally happened!
      I later asked my husband why he thought no guys ever asked me out when I was younger, and he said it’s cuz I was intimidating. Haha, I couldn’t believe that! Me? Intimidating?! He said it’s cuz I had morals and boundaries and knew my own mind and had high standards for myself and the guys I dated. And apparently most boys pick the “easier prey” first. Idk, that’s what he said. Maybe there’s some truth to it. Either way, it made me feel justified a little and feel better about my teenage self. Thanks hubby. 😉😘

  8. Rebecca Lindenbach

    OK, I just gotta say, mom, you totally PROVED MY POINT.
    The picture on the left is a picture of me on just an average day. THAT is how I looked day-to-day. The picture on the right is an hour after I had my hair professionally cut and styled and I was all dressed up to go to a piano recital! So you’re saying, I had an accurate portrayal of how I really looked, and you didn’t! 😉

    • Susanna

      I think you’re beautiful in both photos, for what it’s worth. We have super-skewed standards of “attractive” culturally. Most of us aren’t supermodels, and teenagers aren’t SUPPOSED to be “finished” yet. Doesn’t mean they aren’t attractive. 😉

    • Natalie

      I thought you looked like a typical, awkward, geeky tween, Rebecca. But not ugly!! Just like a puppy with paws that are too big for its small body. That’s just part of puberty. What concerns me way more are girls usually 8-13 years old who feel they need to dress and do their make-up like college girls! And when they make themselves up that way especially once their boobs have come in, they actually look the part!!! Not only do they sexualise themselves and get the nickname “jail bate” by adult men, but they distort our view of what female puberty should and does look like. I think your everyday photo (& the majority of photos I have of myself at that age too) are what pubescent girls do and should look like… not slightly smaller versions of 21 year old college girls spending a night out at a club!

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        Aww that is so sweet! Yeah I totally hear you about the oversexualization of younger girls. We talk about that a lot in the girls’ version of the course–not give specific rules, but ask “What message do I want to send out with my clothes today? Do my clothing choices help me accomplish that?”
        I think a lot of kids don’t actually think about it–they just do what others are doing. So we’re trying to help young girls realize that dressing their age is really not a bad thing at all 🙂

  9. Susanna

    Puberty was relatively smooth-sailing for me, but one thing that I felt at the time, that still carries into adulthood, was that the functions of a female body were something to be silent about, especially in mixed company.
    So there we are trying to smile through pain, or not dashing to the bathroom right away when we need to, or vaguely saying, “I don’t feel well” and then having to navigate awkward questions about why.
    I was pretty much engaged before I felt like I could tell my fiancée that’s I was on my period and cramping.
    I want better for my daughters! I don’t want menstruation to be a secret in my house. I want my son(s) to accurately grasp what women go through every month and how they can be supported.
    It’s kind of like the whole slew of underwear issues: bra straps should never show; panty lines are indecent but thongs are suggestive…
    No one bats an eye when you can see a bit of boxer fabric above a guy’s jeans! I’m not saying we all need to flaunt our panties here; I just think that women have been saddled with way too heavy of a burden for way too long.
    *Climbs off soapbox* 😄

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I have this exact same thing! I just remember feeling mortified if anyone ever noticed that I had bra straps. LIke what was I supposed to have? And the never being able to mention that you’re a woman. I still feel that sometimes when you have to explain why you’re going in for surgery (I need a uterine ablation to deal with bleeding) like you can talk about varicose vein surgery but not that. So weird–and wrong!

  10. BoundByLove ϯ † ϯ

    Hrmm…got a quick encyclopedia reviewed spiel of the facts of life, and then tried to ignorantly go on with life until early teens, when I accidentally find out what your male hardware can actually do. And then finally figuring out I wasn’t going to die of some abnormal event 😛 . Also a discussion on the pitfalls of porn may have warranted too.

  11. Francie

    I’ve put that stage of life so far out of my mind that it took a second to remember much.
    The worst part for me at the time was feeling SO ugly. And I didn’t stop feeling ugly for a very long time. I was only asked out once in high school, by someone I didn’t like. I agonized over why no boys liked me.
    In hind sight the real worst part was the sheer lack of information. I was so ashamed and uncomfortable about periods and body changes that I begged my mom to stop when she tried to explain periods to me when I was nine and she listened to me (a child!) instead of using her better judgment. She never mentioned it again and didn’t talk to me about anything. So I struggled mostly alone. Even in high school I had to (embarrassingly) ask the principal’s office if they had an extra skirt because I stained mine at school from not being prepared. No one told me how to track my period or that I should always keep pads on my person.
    Got no information about sex or the female body from home or from school, (Except that basically sex is bad and all boys want is sex, etc) I didn’t really know anything until I started learning anatomy (in depth) in college and when I was 19 finding out everything I could about my body, relationships, sex and marriage when I was dating my now husband. I didn’t learn how to use a tampon until I was on my honeymoon and my husband had to look it up for me. By the grace of God and your website and the total love and understanding from my husband I currently struggle with none of the above mentioned things anymore!
    I’m glad you created this course for moms! I’m positive this will help so many people. I am definitely going to do things differently with my own children than what I had.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s wonderful that I could help you, Francie! That must have been so embarrassing in high school, too, with your skirt. Oh, dear. We do go through hard things, don’t we?

  12. Jessica Cone

    I started getting my period when Iwas 11.5 no fun.
    In middle school my period started one day and I had no pads and light colored pants on. One of the boys I had a crush on said my pants were red and I was so embarrassed. I had to wear my jacket around my waist all say.
    In his school I threatened to punch a guy in the abdomen when he asked what was wrong when I was crouched over with a terrible menstrual cramp.

  13. Rosie H

    My mother was a doctor, so I ended up pretty clued up on the facts about puberty, but there was very little about the feelings – we weren’t the sort of family that talked a lot about feelings anyway – and nothing about things like choosing clothes, make-up, to shave or not to shave, etc. I was sent to boarding school as a fairly young 13-year-old, and the other girls seemed to know all this stuff already, and I still feel like I never really caught up. Plus they were really interested in boys (it was a mixed school), which I wasn’t except as friends. It feels like I had to force that side of me to grow up almost instantly, and then my growing-up was kind of lopsided.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think that is hard. Really hard! Especially the going away from home thing. I hope that as an adult you can feel like you have more confidence now!

      • Rosie H

        Sometimes. I want my daughter to have a better experience when her time comes. We definitely won’t be sending her away.

  14. Natalie

    I’m SO stoked for The Whole Story boys’ edition, being the mothers of sons (one under 2 and the other pre-born), and am really looking forward to using it when it’s time for my husband and I to give them “the talk” in several years / next decade.
    Being a tall, what I thought at the time to be fat, early bloomer, puberty was HARD for me! I went to a small private school full of tiny slim girls. When we were all 11-12 years old, they looked like they were 10-11 and I looked like a 15-16 year old! And while other girls on here (like Katie) said that growing boobs early got them attention from the boys, mine brought me the opposite response. Both the girls and boys made fun of me and my changing body, especially since I was the biggest one in our class at the time, even though my BMI was only 22% unlike the 17-19% of the other girls. It was a very lonely time back then. I had few friends, my teacher at the time wasn’t very thoughtful or caring about my changing body either, and really my only friend was my mom. So at least I had that.
    When I got my period at 11, I knew what it was and went into my mom’s bathroom cabinet to put on one of her light days panty liners. When she tucked me in that night, I told I’d started my period and I’d already taken care of it. When she asked what I was using and I told her, she laughed and said “honey, you’re gonna need something thicker than that.” I didn’t realize how much blood it’d be! 😂
    Our private Christian school gave us good anatomy lessons for sex ed, so I knew how all the basics worked. But I must say, it wasn’t until this past year that I really understood how exactly the clitoris works and how it’s the primary pleasure center for the woman. I don’t think even my husband fully understood that till recently either (would explain why sex has always been extremely lackluster for me). My husband and I are both 28 years old, 2 kids and married for 4 years! Better late than never I guess 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yeah, I think I really need to create a course LIKE The Whole Story, but more for engaged women, telling them stuff like “you have a clitoris”! I’ve thought about that, too, and it’s on my to-do list! 🙂

      • Natalie

        I feel like there’s a HUGE need for that, Sheila!! Especially with women who were raised in the church. They may even be like me where they know the anatomy and physiology of how babies are made, but very little/nothing about their own sexual drive and pleasure. My mother and I (both Christians) have always been very open about 99% of the topics out there. But sexual pleasure is where she draws the line. It’s too personal / embarrassing for her to talk about (my hypothesis is because she finds sex to be unenjoyable because, at 61, she & my dad still haven’t figured out how to make it feel good for her too). I think the vast majority of engaged/newly married woman and their Christian mothers are like that. I think a lot of it is generational because sexual pleasure isn’t talked about amongst women of the faith.

  15. Wynd

    Worst Part #1: Feeling like control of my body was gone. Before puberty everything obeyed me – walk, run, sit, stand, move arms, move legs, think about rabbits, don’t think about rabbits – and body and mind everything did what *I* wanted. I was the dog and my body was the chew toy.
    During/After puberty it felt like often the sex drive was in control and the roles were reserved – I was/am now the chew toy. Now I had parts of my body that noticeably moved – at embarrassingly inopportune times, as well as “facial tells” in my cheeks and ears – all by themselves and not under my conscious control. Girls went from being just girls to being an incredible distraction. Mentally I went from having thoughts under control to having a mind on fire, from having my thoughts be my own to having a sex drive dumping wildly inappropriate material into my stream of consciousness 24/7.
    Worst Part #2: While we had a series of “birds and bees” talks, sex was a four-letter word in our house. Hearing/reading sermons that equated even noticing/feeling attraction to someone of the opposite gender with lust and therefore sin. Hearing sermons that equated masturbation or having erotic dreams or nocturnal emissions with lust=adultery=sin. Reading sermons that said masturbation was the unpardonable sin. Feeling like I was damned and going straight to hell because of my sex drive, that I was a monster, an irredeemable pariah, and if anyone in my church or my family knew I felt this way they would surely kick me out. Feeling so incredibly alone. Begging God daily to take this drive away and yet it stayed and I still felt attraction to the girls around me so either God didn’t exist or He didn’t care about me. I spent close to a decade from puberty onset believing that the continued existence of my sex drive was proof that I was not and could not be a Christian. I was well into my twenties before accepting that God might still love me even with a sex drive, and almost out of my twenties before accepting that my drive was actually more or less “normal.”

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This bit right here really stood out to me: “Hearing/reading sermons that equated even noticing/feeling attraction to someone of the opposite gender with lust and therefore sin.”. That’s what I want to encourage dads especially to talk to their boys about. I think that’s a message that the church is totally getting wrong, and it can cause so much shame. It really can.

  16. Samantha

    I’ve given this post a lot of thought today. Particularly the question of whether puberty is easier for boys than girls. I think the answer to that depends on which aspects of puberty we’re talking about. As far as physical changes go, I think girls do have it harder. Menstruation is more than sufficient proof of that. A great deal of the time I find myself in awe of my female anatomy, especially when I’m pregnant and breastfeeding. The fact that a woman’s body is designed to conceive, grow, support, birth and nourish another human being is an incredible blessing and ability that I think an increasing number of women take for granted and have even somehow, beyond my ability to comprehend, come to resent. Now considering the complexity of childbearing and birthing, the fact that our bodies begin to gear up for it at such a young age is an overwhelming thought. To think my body was preparing itself for conception monthly while I was in fifth grade seems insane.

  17. Samantha

    As far as the emotional, mental, and social aspects of puberty go, I think it depends on the particular person when determining whether it was harder or easier. For some girls and boys it seems like puberty is pretty smooth sailing in general. They get attention from the opposite sex, they don’t really seem all that awkward compared to the rest of us. They at least appear to be confident. And then you have people of both sexes who are absolutely miserable throughout the entire experience.
    I do think guys have it a lot harder when it comes to their growing interest in the opposite sex though. I think a lot of young boys are made to feel like they are somehow being perverts simply because they are aware of how girls are different (their breasts for example) and are made to feel even worse if they allow it to be known that they like the way girls are different. I think a lot of women grow up remembering the boys they went to school with as being perverts for noticing things like their breasts but don’t remember that they themselves frequently talked with their friends about how hot they thought a particular guy was or how cute they thought his butt was when he walked by them in the hall. I think society tends to leave girls and their “boy crazy” talk alone writing it off as simply being silly. But boys are often made to feel like they should be ashamed of themselves for objectify their female peers in that way. Frankly, I think young boys AND girls need more guidance when it comes to navigating their attraction to the opposite sex in a healthier way. I think a lot of parents are too afraid to talk about it with their kids because they never really had someone instill a healthy way of viewing the opposite sex in them. Parents can’t really teach what they have never been taught and have never learned. But when it comes down to it, I am not too proud to admit that when the cocky boys took their shirts off in gym class, we silly girls reacted in the same way the boys did when the girls were on the other side of the gym doing jumping jacks. I’m not too proud to admit it and I’m definitely not proud that I was such a silly boy crazy fool.


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