We all have a body. And each of our bodies is a different shape, size, colour, gender, age and a combination of many, many other things.
Sometimes these things affect what we are able to do – for example, someone very tall may be able to reach a high shelf without a step ladder, someone with strong muscles may be able to lift heavy weights.
And some of these things make no difference to our abilities whatsoever – for example, the colour of our eyes or our skin has no effect on our ability to think or talk or run or sing.
We become aware at quite a young age that there are different genders – usually introduced as the idea of there being “boys” and “girls”.
In truth, gender can be a lot more complicated than this (see our separate section on gender identity) but as far as your physical body is concerned, the main distinction is the different types of genitals you may have: either a penis (male) or a vagina (female).
As a child, the only practical difference this makes is whether or not you can pee standing up. But, as we grow into adults, these organs determine the part we are able to play in reproduction – that is: making a new person, a baby. For more on this, see Where do babies come from?…
It’s also important to know that your body belongs to you and no one else, and anything that is going to happen to it or with it, needs your consent.