Most preteens have not yet reached sexual maturity, which usually occurs between the ages of twelve and fifteen.
If you are a girl, you will know you are becoming sexually mature when your breasts start to develop. Other signs include hair growth under your arms and in your pubic area, and the beginning of your monthly menstrual period.
If you are a boy, you will notice your scrotum and penis enlarging. Your voice will deepen. Like girls, you will also experience hair growth under the arms and in the pubic area.
According to the Kinsey Institute, most teens in the United States do not report having sex for the first time until they are between sixteen and seventeen years old. This age is slightly younger for Black teens and slightly older for Asian-American teens.
Just because most preteens do not have sexual intercourse doesn’t mean you don’t have sexual feelings. At one time or another, most preteens engage in experimentation and sex play with both same-sex and opposite-sex friends. This can include looking at, touching, and exploring each other’s bodies. This type of curiosity is natural, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it or embarrassed by it.
A word of caution: There are some adults who initiate sexual contact with preteens. They are called pedophiles, and they are always bad news, no matter how nice they seem to be. It is illegal for an adult to have sex with a kid. If an adult tries to touch you in a sexual way, say no and tell a trusted parent, teacher, or other authority figure what has happened.
There is nothing wrong with experimenting with other kids your own age. There is something very wrong with an adult trying to take advantage of your inexperience to gratify his or her own sexual needs.