By the time a young man has entered puberty he is well aware of the female of our species. He is aware of the young women around him with every aspect of his consciousness. He is alert to how everything he does and says reflects in the perception that females have of him. He is hyper-sensitive to every female’s opinion of him. His body literally forces him to do things geared to draw the attention of the females around him. We call it showing off but what it is really is nature’s way of getting the attention of a female so that he can procreate. Male animals and birds have brightly colored plumage and perform bizarre dances and rituals to attract a mate; young human males get attention by doing outrageous stunts, racing cars recklessly, and performing death-defying acts of skill. Because males of nearly all species invest less in nurturing their off spring than females do, males are genetically predisposed to attract as many females as possible to ensure the survival of their blood line. Females tend to be more selective in choosing a mate. That means the male must expend a large amount of energy attracting the largest pool of candidates possible. So we see young males getting attention by doing provocative and physically dangerous, even crazy activities.
Despite this bravado though, he’s probably scared to death of girls and confused by the strange power they have over him. Under the best of circumstances females are confusing to males. When hormones are surging through him for the first time, his inexperience around the female gender can be extremely intimidating. It doesn’t help that females mature earlier physically, have greater vocal skills, and are much more attuned to their bodies and emotions than males are. Of course most young men bluster and act overly confident in order to cover this fear and feeling of inadequacy. The world of boys requires that they be sexually knowledgeable, unafraid, and show no weakness—especially around girls.
Because he is wired the way he is (to respond to female sexual advances or opportunities) it is vitally important a boy get from his parents information and training on what constitutes healthy female sexuality. Too often a boy’s first sexual encounter comes with a girl who has been wounded, abused, or abandoned by the men in her life. These girls crave masculine affection and often confuse sex for the love they so desperately seek. These experiences are not good for either the young men or the young women.
Start talking with your son about girls and the challenges of adolescence before he enters puberty. He needs the benefit of your knowledge and experience in order to make good choices during these turbulent times of rampant hormonal changes and confusing emotional ups and downs.