Parents Are Taking Sex-Ed into Their Own Hands With 'Puberty Parties'

puberty party
Fatu Forna Sesay/Facebook

Many of us remember blushing our way through sex-ed in school, so mortified by the word "sex" while our crush was in the room that we didn't learn much from the class. Hoping to spare their kids that same fate, some parents are throwing in-home "puberty parties" for their daughters and friends.

  • The idea is the brainchild of Dr. Fatu Forna, an ob-gyn who splits her time between Atlanta and Sierra Leone.

    A mother of four, Dr. Forna wanted to find a way to educate young girls about the changes their bodies go through during puberty and provide practical sex education in a way that's celebratory, not shameful. 

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    Dr. Forna posted photos of the puberty party she hosted for her own 10- and 14-year old daughters and their friends on Facebook. She shared video of herself encouraging the girls to have an honest discussion with their parents about when to have sex. "Say 'Mommy, Daddy, what do you think?'" she tells the girls. "Should it be when I'm married? Am I old enough when I'm in college?" 

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  • Instead of a stuffy classroom atmosphere, she made the event into a true party.

    On her website, Dr. Forna sells slideshow packages to use when throwing your own puberty party. She offers two separate packages: One is designed for girls ages 10 through 14 and covers topics such as puberty, periods, sex, and abstinence; the other is for girls ages 14 through 17, and covers the same topics with the addition of information about STIs and contraceptives.

  • Her post has been shared over 6,000 times and has over 1,000 comments. Most parents can't wait to host a puberty party of their own.

  • Not everyone is on board with parents being so open with girls as young as 10 about such serious topics.

  • 10 may seem young to talk about sex and periods, but it really isn't.

    While the average age a girl gets her first period is 12, some girls do menstruate as young as 10. And giving them information about sex and their bodies early can help them understand the important concept of consent. Trying to make the discussion fun with the addition of cake and games could go a long way toward getting them to listen and having the information sink in.

  • Along with fun discussion and cake, Dr. Forna says goodie bags are another way to help girls understand their periods are positive experiences.

    She sent her guests home with pads, some chocolates, a beach towel, and her book on reproductive health. Her young son helped pass them out, because even though boys don't get periods, that doesn't mean they can't also learn that they're perfectly normal! 

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    Sex and puberty are hard topics to get kids to open up about, and if gathering up their friends and trying to make it into a party helps, then we're all for it. As long as all the parents of the invitees are on board, any excuse to eat cake is fine by us. 

sex tough topics puberty menstruation