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sex ed

Scarleteens of Yesteryear

Scarleteen (then Pink Slip): 1998Scarleteen (then Pink Slip): 1998
As we're rolling out some redesign we've been working (and working to fund) over the last year or so, we thought we'd celebrate by sharing some of our history.

Mind, it's probably more fun for our readers than it is for me, since showing designs from times when the tech to do design blew, and one's (notice how I avoid saying my?) skills were less honed is a bit like streaking naked through a busy city street, or winding up at the ER after an accident when wearing the rattiest undies in your drawer.

Thank goodness, I came to web design with some solid design skills already -- though some not-at-all-solid coding skills, I pretty much had to learn that by the seat of my pants -- so I was better equipped than a lot of people making sites, but that still doesn't mean everything was awesome, and that I don't shudder a little bit to see some of my designs of yore.

However, I've at least resisted the attempt to embarrass myself less by showing screenshots


Won't You Be Our Valentine?

Last December, we began our end-of-year fundraising for Scarleteen with a goal to raise the minimum we needed from online donors for 2012, $35,000, a very modest ask compared to other organizations or projects of or near our tenure and level of service.

Unfortunately, we still have not yet been able to raise even half of that sum. As of today, we have raised almost $15,000. We're so very grateful to the 135 individuals who donated generously to help us get to that sum, but that total just won't do. We run our organization and services far more cost-efficiently than similar organizations or groups, and can stretch a dollar like nobody's business, but that can only get us so far.

We need that minimum of 35K for this year -- which, combined with a private grant and existing donors, still giv us only $80,000 to do everything we do -- in order to sustain and maintain our services and those who provide them, create new content and tools, and to keep our organization afloat.

We don't like t


Support Scarleteen: Your Support Gives Young People Our Support

last updated 4/13/2012last updated 4/13/2012You probably heard that Siri, the digital assistant on the iPhone 4S, could help someone find Viagra or a sexual escort, but not a family planning clinic, a local pharmacy to get a birth control prescription filled or an abortion provider. Whether that was intended or a glitch, it was understandably very upsetting. At Scarleteen, people can get easy help finding those important services and more through our SMS service, our fully moderated message boards, our growing Find-a-Doc database and, of course, our exhaustive information about contraception, abortion and other reproductive choices, sexual healthcare and so many other sexuality and sexual health topics.

Some people sure paid a lot of money for a tool that didn’t serve them or others well. Scarleteen users get those services and much more for free. We give teens and young adults real people to talk with, for nearly 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, when the thousands of pages of in-depth, thoughtful informa


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


Where do I even get started in educating myself about sex?

aguynamedrourke asks:

I'm a 19-year-old virgin and I don't know enough about sex, period. I went to Catholic and Christian schools with terrible sex-ed classes (I learned the basic biology but virtually nothing about actual sex, condoms, safe sex, or anything like that). I looked at your list of books to read and I've browsed through the questions, but I still don't know where to start. I know a lot about gender but very little about sex. What kinds of books should this straight pro-feminist college freshman read?

That Guy

Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who tre


Legit or Unfit? Finding Safe, Sound Sex Educators & Support Online

How can you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to sex educators, sex education services and online sexuality spaces for young people online? We walk you through it so you can be more sure that wherever you're talking, you're getting good information in a space that's safe for you.

Normative Sexual Development and Your Child

This is a guest entry from Dr. Ruth Neustifter -- who we know here at Scarleteen as Dr. Ruthie -- for the month-long blog carnival to help Support Scarleteen. Can we get your support?

I remember it very clearly. I was a senior in high school and we were all noshing together in the lunch room when Darla, who was two years my junior, blurted out that she had seen her boyfriend naked and that they were planning to have sex soon. It would be her first time, although we thought he probably had more experience. ”I sure hope it gets smaller before it goes in, because my hole isn’t that big!” she declared and we all laughed together.

The thing is, she didn’t know whether it would or not, and none of us were willing (or able) to give her much information. Within weeks she recruited another friend to purchase a pregnancy test with her, but I don’t believe any of us considered STI tests.

Back then, I was a youth leader of our church youth group’s True Love Waits effort, a national program


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


Some More Scarleteen Blog Carnival Highlights

We're just getting caught up with the myriad of fantastic blog entries that are part of the blog carnival that's been going on over the last three weeks as an effort to help cultivate support for Scarleteen. We've been reprinting some entries here at our blog, and will keep up with that, but here are a handful we can link right to for you to take a look at:

From Cory Silverberg at About.Com:

Scarleteen does sex education from a social justice model. Whether it's an article on the site, a response in the forums, or a request for more information in order to refer a youth out, they acknowledge the multiple ways that youth are systemically denied basic rights and access to sex education and sexual health. It's not unusual for a question about, say contraception or sexual pleasure, to elicit an answer that accessibly and seamlessness weaves information about race, class, and gender, in with information about how to go about choosing and accessing contraception, or negotiating with a part


Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.