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Happy 15th Birthday, Scarleteen!

We are 15 years old today. FIFTEEN! (In internet years, that's like being 500.)

We debuted online on December 15th, 1998 and here we are, still rolling, and wanting to keep on rolling some more, in 2013.

I can't thank our donors and supporters, all our volunteers past and present, and the tens of millions of users who have been the heart and soul of what we do, with them and for them, enough for being part of this grand experiment in sexuality education and emerging technologies. So much of Scarleteen is a community, and we have been blessed with a large, deeply diverse and incredible group over the years, one which has challenged, inspired, moved and motivated all of us, myself very much included. As the founder and executive director of Scarleteen, all of you have benefitted my own life, and been part of something I gladly consider the core of my life's work.

We intend to keep at what we do for at least another fifteen years if we can, experimenting and innovating, exploring and d

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How do I find out if I'm bi, or not?

Pandas_Arecute asks:

Hi! I am a 15 year old female and I think I may be bisexual, I have talked to a couple friends (who are straight) that I trust, They either said "It's just a phase don't worry" Or "There is only one way to know and that is to have sex/kiss another female." But I don't know any lesbian girls to do that with! I'm pretty sure it's NOT a phase but I need to know how to find out if I'm bi or not. My school/parents are not very accepting of lesbians, bi's and gays, so I wouldn't be able to talk to my parents. Another thing is I'm secretly sort of wanting to do something with a girl. Please help me!I feel so lost!

Scarleteen By the Numbers: What You Said

The last section of our recent demographics survey (click here and here for data from the previous sections) was an optional, open section where we simply stated, "If you have any comments you'd like to add about this survey or Scarleteen as a whole, please feel free to add them here."

Of the 419 participants who left comments in this section, most were about Scarleteen as a whole, rather than the survey. The few on the survey itself included a couple concerns about the previous section discussed here, a couple nods of appreciation for the inclusion in the education section of no schooling or alternative education, and two concerns (from people identifying as cisgender) that when we asked about gender, and provided fields for men, women and also trans gender, separately, we were suggesting trans people are neither men nor women. To clear that one up, the opposite was our intent. Our intention was to recognize and validate the many ways people who are not cisgender may and do identify

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Loving Your Body in 5-7-5

Starting in 2006, for NOW's Love Your Body Day, our volunteers, staff and users have been creating haiku about body love and acceptance on our message boards.

It's resulted in some fantastically cool pieces over the years, so we figured we'd share a few of them today as it's that fine day yet again!

dry mouth crooked teeth
smiling never stops despite
himself, filling doubt
- foraday

Fuller or thinner
My luxurious body
Rejoices to live
- Juniata

"Ew, don't wear tight stuff."
Said to me some years ago
Finally past it
- Hyancithe

Chopsticks might seem nice
But I walk on prized columns
So show some respect
- Insecure-Poetry

my eyes, almond-shaped
brown like the good earth, birthright.
china's descendant.
- winsome

my feet are too big?
mom, look at how I stand here
stable on this earth
- bluejumprope

Big tits, big round bum
but comes with a little tum,
it's proportional.
- Lady

skin hangs loose, with marks
from my belly, he emerged
tiny baby feet
- Alice

Dark as chocolate,
Warm and kin

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Can you help us help young people with Find-a-Doc?

Early this year, after a lot of struggling with the tech and funding, we rolled out Find-a-Doc, our database system to help young people find quality, in-person services like sexual and reproductive healthcare, counseling, and LGBT, youth and domestic violence crisis shelters and services. The database includes a rating system so that those who have used the services can add recommendations or comments to help other users choose services, or know things about services from a first-person perspective. As you probably know yourself, we all tend to feel a lot better about using a service someone else has personally recommended or vetted: that's why we set up Find-a-Doc, and did so the way that we did.

We also use the database as staff and volunteers when working one-on-one with a user to help them find in-person services they need. But since it's been slow-going to get the database packed, we still have to spend a good deal of time searching in other ways, which is far less efficient and

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Sp[ace] Exploration: What Sexual People Can Learn from Asexual Communities

Asexuality saved my sex life. No, seriously -- I mean that. I will declare it from the middle of a courtroom, with one hand on Our Bodies, Ourselves. Asexuality, as much as sex-positive feminism and far more than any amount of "hon, you just need to get laid already," helped me to access a confident, positive, and excited relationship with my sexual self.

Summering Safe and Sound

Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season. As an alternative educator all my life, though, I miss out on that thing where teachers get summers off (though I've also known few teachers in the public sector who could afford to take the summer off, anyway), and as the Executive Director and lead educator at Scarleteen, I really don't get downtime. Summer is and has always been our busiest season. Eh, so it goes.

It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. I'm a lot more concerned about those of you in that space than I am about my feeling occasionally ripped off of a summer vacation. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it'

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One Teenager in Ten

This is a guest entry from The Gaytheist Gospel Hour as part of the blog carnival to support Scarleteen.

Preface: I was recently asked to participate in a blogathon to support Scarleteen, an online sex education forum for teens. I was flattered. I was humbled. I was a little queasy and had to breathe in a bag for a minute or 12. I decided to contribute the story of how I survived homophobic bullying thanks a single library book. I’m living proof that progressive sex education (no matter how small-scale) makes an enormous difference in the lives of the very young. It’s my hope that all who read my sarcastic, satirically-tinged autobiographical account will consider making an enormous difference by supporting Scarleteen.

"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince

High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy

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The Young Women's Empowerment Project

The mission of the Young Women’s Empowerment Project is to offer safe, respectful, free-of-judgment spaces for girls and young women impacted by the sex trade and street economies to recognize their goals, dreams and desires.

Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

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