Let's say I have a character whose body stopped aging at say 7 years old, prepubescent; just say a wizard did it.

The individual is now into their 20s, but their body never ages and, in particular, they never go through puberty.

What sort of effects will it have on the mind to never go through this phase? Will they think or feel differently because of this? For instance, I imagine they likely would not be physically attracted to the other sex, having little sex drive? Would they be less aggressive due to lack of testosterone? Basically, how will the lack of the usual chemical concoction of crazy that is puberty affect someone who has matured mentally without going through it?

Edit: in terms of sex I'm more interested in a male, but would love answers for both sexes if sex becomes relevant. Hmm...maybe I should stop saying the word sex on a question about a 7 year old in which the word 'pedophile' already exists in comments...

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    $\begingroup$ One difference that you might think about is the fact that even though the mind of the person may mature, the interactions this person has with the "mature" people around them will seldom be that of equals. Even if you know the little boy you are talking to is older than he looks, it may still be difficult to make the psychological leap necessary to react to him as if he was an adult. This might lead to a fair amount of anger and frustration. It also might cause the person to become manipulative. And not going through puberty doesn't guarantee that he will never experience sexual desire. $\endgroup$ Dec 1, 2015 at 0:41
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    $\begingroup$ @iAdjunct I make no such assumption. That's sort of why I'm asking the question :P $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 1, 2015 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ There is a documentary, I believe it's called, "The boy who can never grow old" or something, about a boy with a disease that caused him not to age. $\endgroup$
    – komodosp
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ Read Larry Niven's "A world out of Time" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_World_Out_of_Time which has a working out of pre-pubertal immortality. One effect is that Girls and Boys effectively become separate species without sex to bridge the gap. $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ See also: Kallmann Syndrome $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2015 at 15:52

4 Answers 4


In many animals, including humans, the young go through a "learning and experimenting" phase in which they're very curious and very open to new ideas. Eventually they leave this phase; they become less interested in learning, and more interested in doing well for themselves with the world as they understand it.

It's difficult to know how much of this phase transition is "hormonal" versus how much is based on the person getting older and simply deciding they have enough experience, but I'd speculate that someone whose body was frozen at a young age would feel more playful and more curious than someone who aged normally.

I also agree with you that not going through puberty would likely make a person less aggressive.

But probably the most important effect to think about would be the social effect on a person who always looks like a child. This person is mentally an adult, and presumably would like to be treated like one, but everyone they meet reacts to them like they were a little kid. When they say something, nobody listens to them or takes them seriously. People tell them to "run along and play"; people ask where their parents are and who's taking care of them. Even their friends, people who know they're mentally an adult, have to keep fighting the reflex to treat them like a small child.

This person's approach to social interaction is built around this problem. Everything they do is focused on the need to compel people to take them seriously. They might act very aggressive, because (1) nobody will get seriously angry when threatened by a little kid, but (2) the threats just might compel them to treat the kid as a real person. They look for ways to appear more important -- standing on things to look taller, wearing formal clothing, et cetera.

They might spend a lot of time online, where their age wouldn't be visible. Or they might spend most of their time with a few close friends. They'd probably find it pretty stressful to interact with strangers -- if nothing else they'd get really tired of having the "yes I'm old enough to count as an adult" conversation over and over.

I think this effect would mostly override the effects due to hormones or lack thereof.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a definite observable change in brain tissue at puberty. The meylin sheaths around nerve cells thicken. I've read that what is going on is a reduction of mental plasticity and a locking-in of acquired experience against the subsequent ravages of age which is why Alzheimers' victims and others suffering advanced senility often seem to regress back to their childhoods. $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ In the story I referenced above, the adult in child's body was quick to threaten to yell rape, and get people who didn't take him seriously into some deep societal shit. Same thing was used as a trope in "Fables" with the 200+ year old Pinocchio (who couldn't get laid). $\endgroup$
    – anonymouse
    Oct 24, 2016 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @nigel222 "The meylin sheaths around nerve cells thicken." I heard that the fatty tissue around nerves in the brain helps insulate them, thus boosting signal strength and by implication, concentration. So people with thicker tissues tend to be higher intelligence. Might this suggest that a child-adult would always have child-like issues with boredom? $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2016 at 14:00

Addendum: from https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/71719/playing-a-child-oracle-in-pathfinder-how-to-prove-age-and-how-open-will-populat I see that you're actually thinking about doing this in a system that has magic.

In a world with magic, looking important becomes much easier. People have already learned that someone who isn't physically imposing can still have great magical powers. I imagine most villagers, if they encounter someone who doesn't look like an ordinary villager, will immediately assume: "Oh, this is a shapeshifted dragon, or a case of demonic possession, or a curious planar traveler, or an elf prince, or an adventurer with a weird curse, or something to that effect; whatever it is, it's way above my CR and I should get out of its way."

If your character wants to "blend in", an easy option is to buy a hat of disguise and make himself look like an adult dwarf or halfling.

If your character just wants to be recognized as an adventurer, any magical-looking prop will do the trick. For example he could carry around a wizard staff, or he could cast continual flame on any of his possessions.

After your character gains a few levels, he'll be carrying around enough magical-looking knickknacks that his adventurer status will be obvious even without special effort. Basically all medium-level adventurers will be wearing a fancy cloak (usually a cloak of resistance) at all times, and villagers only wear cloaks if it's cold out, so a cloak becomes a clear signal that "oh, this person is an adventurer".


I expect a protagonist with mentioned features to feel underestimated (no wordplay intended), which causes stress, anger, etc. S/he is to manage it or not. His/her expectations will be slightly or majorly backdrawn by the chances/possibilities given, comparing to a standard same age one, so the life experience will trend in that way too. Most probably s/he will choose to attend activities, which s/he can blend in socially for mind age 5-10, later something which involves no conflicts of body type expectation. Like reading. S/he might be even considered to be talented child as long as the peers do not realize the situation...but maybe even so. Parental surroundings are high time for an age of 7, it is a major factor to calculate with. With a mind of 20, s/he may stick with the idea being or acting as having this typical body issue.

Plenty depends on the mind's motives. Like is it rebellious, or avoiding conflicts, or fighter type. Is his body gifted with above or lower average (not mythical, just normal diversity of same age bodies) strength, dexterity, toughness, etc. Is he actually a charmer or not (or same in girl)?

Maybe some refined description would come handy.


I highly recomend either reading the book or watching the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". sort of has a similar story to your character and he aged in reverse, he was born old and grew young, ending up with a child's body and and old mans mind. it's a very good story.


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