why does girls’ self-esteem drop so much more than boys’ does at adolescence? Broadly, puberty and first sexual experiences affect girls and boys quite differently More specifically girls’ self-esteem drops because girls learn cultural meanings about gender, particularly negative discourses about women’s bodies and female sexuality, that cause them to feel devalued. Girls learn as they develop through puberty that they are headed toward an adult female sexuality that is derogated. Thus, they often feel fat, dirty, ugly, objectified or ashamed of their bodies, a fundamental part of the self. Similarly, girls’ first sexual experiences tend to leave them feeling confused, unagentic, unpleasured, and unsure of themselves, their decisions, and their bodies. These feelings all take a toll on girls’ self-worth. Boys are also affected by puberty and first sex, yet not as negatively as girls are. In particular, boys often feel uncertain about their bodies’ changes. This may account for the smaller drop in 122boys’ self-esteem. However, boys’ first sexual experiences often serve to bolster their agency, masculinity, and self-worth.