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Monday, March 26, 2007

Am i ready for sex?

Written for Women
Every woman asks this question of herself and, often, of others, including myself. The answer is usually much more complicated than it appears.
Biologists define sexual maturity as the point at which an organism can reproduce itself. That is fine for grass or worms or birds and maybe even most mammals. It is an inadequate description of the human woman. It seems to imply that once the menses have begun, we are ready. In some cultures this is considered to be true. But in those cultures where motherhood is expected to begin at fourteen or so, there is a life expectancy of about 35. This, alone, should tell us something. Let’s consider the changes needed for a woman to be sexually mature as being physiological, psychological and social.
The first signs of maturity are usually a swelling of the areola – the wider part of the nipples – and the beginning of breast growth. Some months later, the onset of the menses occurs and then full-blown puberty. The changes in the body are much more widespread and take much longer than most realise.
At the beginning of puberty, the vagina is a rather rigid, inflexible organ. It is only several cells thick and will not stretch readily. It is also not producing the natural lubricants that are always present in a mature woman and increase dramatically during sexual arousal. Five or so years later (at least), it is a wonderfully elastic organ, thick, strong and able to accommodate the birth of a child. The hips begin narrow and the pelvis has not flattened and broadened – characteristic of a female body. The clitoris is well protected deep under its hood to the extent that is identifiable only to a trained examiner.
The changes in hormones in our bodies cause the development of our primary and secondary sex characteristics and generate the fully developed woman’s body. The re-balancing of the hormones from those of childhood to those of adulthood takes several years. The attendant physical characteristics are still changing as well. Identifying the completion of this hormonal change is difficult and possibly not too relevant in its later stages. Generally, when your period has become quite regular and not much more than a discomfort, the hormones have found their balance. Growth can still be continuing though. I added a full cup size after my 20th birthday. Other women have this experience as well with breasts and other parts of the body.
The growth during adolescence requires nutrients – lots of nutrients. Even though you may not be growing as we usually consider it, individual organs are developing (breasts, uterus, vagina, hair); bone structure is changing, joints are developing and the body is becoming specifically feminine.
The risks of sex during this time are very high. If the menses are irregular, so is ovulation. More careful use of contraception is required if a woman chooses to become sexually active early in adolescence because the timing of risk is virtually impossible. Some women do not ovulate every month; others ovulate several times each month; some begin to ovulate from one ovary and not the other. You must consider yourself to always be fertile

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