The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Is it normal to be at stage 4 of puberty at 17?

I recently turned 17 and I noticed my penis has been growing, but my testicles still seem a little small and don't hang down very often. Are they still developing and will they get bigger and hang down?


When it comes to development, normal is expressed in a range of ages. That is because everyone is different. Boys can reach stage 4 as early as age 12 or as late as age 18. However, the typical age is around 15. The further you get from the typical age, the less common it is, but it is still considered normal. And since each stage is not a single point in time, but a period of time, generally lasting about two years, you will find that most boys are still in stage 4 at the age of 17.

The other difficulty in measuring development is that doctors and other experts are limited to looking at the side-effects of growth and development. We can't actually measure the actual process. What is done is to look at what the development process causes and then make educated guesses as to how far you've developed. The Tanner Stage Calculator for Boys is a self-assessment tool. It takes the things normally looked at to gauge progress and then comes up with a number. It isn't perfect because most boys tend to over-claim their characteristics, but it comes close.

One part of the calculator has a chart for the size of a man's testicles. It is a bit hard to guess from two-dimensional drawing how large a three-dimensional object is, but you can come close enough. Notice that it is divided into the five stages of development as well. Also notice the scale in the bottom right corner. Various computer screens have different size pixels, so the image may not be at the correct scale. The line at the bottom should be 1 inch (or 2.5 centimeters). If it isn't you will need to make some mental adjustments in your head.

As far as the amount of hanging, not only does this depend on your development, it also depends on how warm you are. The scrotum's main job is to keep the testicles at an even temperature that is about 1 to 4 degrees below your body temperature. It does this by expanding when you are hot and contracting when you are cold. Obviously, if you are on the cool side, they won't hang down much.

A secondary job of the scrotum is to protect the testicles. So when you are running, they draw the testicles up to keep your legs from banging them. The scrotum also draws up when you are having an erection to keep the testicles from being banged around during sex.

Whether you are still developing is something I can't answer for you since I've never met you. If you have concerns you can talk to your doctor who can assess your progress.

My only concern, to be honest, is my testicles. They seem a little smaller than average and don't hang down very far and are sometimes tight. Will they grow more and hang down further as I age? My penis has been growing but my testicle shape, size and scrotum have stayed the same. Will they change soon? Am I just a late bloomer? I also don't have much arm pit hair. Will there be more changes happening at stage 4? I have noticed my muscles have started to increase and I haven't really been doing much strength exercise. Is this a start of things to come?

While I know you have an ideal in your mind as to what you would like to look like, sometimes it is better to just accept what comes and "enjoy the ride," so to speak. You are as God made you. If He finds that acceptable, then that is more than good enough for you or I. Neither of us should get into a mode of arguing with the maker. "But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand" (Isaiah 64:8).

It is easy, when you are a teenager, to become obsessed with an idea and you get stuck repeating the same concerns over and over. Obviously your testicles are growing. You told me they are in the 14ml range, if I recall correctly. That is a LOT larger than they were in childhood and not as big as they will be getting eventually. Be patient. They will get to their full size eventually. 

Everyone's scrotum does not hang down the same amount. The amount of hang isn't what is important. The scrotum's job is to keep your testicles at the ideal temperature for producing sperm. Thus, the amount of hang depends on how warm you are (your normal body temperature) and how warm the outside air is at the moment. A girl isn't going to judge your potential for being a husband by your hang. Your wife won't even see it until after your married if you follow God's laws and she won't have anyone else to compare it. Nor will she care, a girl worth having for a wife is looking for a man who will take care of her and the children the two of you have.

You are not a late bloomer. Being 17 and in stage four is fairly typical. During stage four, your muscle size will increase on their own. They will increase more and quicker with strength training, but just natural daily work will increase them anyway. Your penis will get bigger in circumference, but you probably won't notice it, expect in erections. Your body hair will definitely increase during stage four and your facial hair will become more pronounced during this stage.