Gonadarche refers to the earliest gonadal changes of puberty. In response to pituitary gonadotropins, the ovaries in girls and the testes in boys begin to grow and increase the production of the sex steroids, especially estradiol and testosterone.
- In boys, testicular enlargement is the first physical sign of gonadarche, and usually of puberty as it is generally thought of to be.
- In girls, ovarian growth cannot be directly seen, so thelarche and growth acceleration are usually the first evidence of gonadarche.
Gonadarche should be contrasted with adrenarche. Gonadarche is the visible process of change that a young person's body exhibits when puberty has begun, while adrenarche is the actual beginning of puberty in young people.
Importance to BoyLovers
BoyLovers who are pederasts are usually attracted to boys who already exhibit some secondary sexual characteristics, e.g. the growth of some body hair, etc. while "true" BoyLovers are generally attracted only to boys who have begun adrenarche (boys around age 8 and above) but who do not strongly exhibit any secondary sexual characteristics (boys who are under the age of around 12 or 13 years old).
- Weiner, Irving B.; Freedheim, Donald K.; Schinka, John A.; Velicer, Wayne F.; Lerner, Richard M. (2003). Handbook of Psychology. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 298. ISBN 0-471-38405-4.