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Here at Scarleteen we view being a sexual person and having a disability, or two or three, as just as normal as any other human variation.
We also know, though, that there isn’t a lot of disability-positive material out there, and even less material related to sex ed.
As an educator and advocate of healthy sexuality, who also has some disabilities, I think it’s pretty important for people to have accurate information, but also to see themselves and their experiences included in the conversations we have about sexuality.
We get a lot of negative, or vague messages about sex, and people with disabilities often get left out of the conversation completely. Both topics—sexuality and disability—have loads of social and psychological complexities around them. So, I’ve put together a list of resources that put people with various kinds of disabilities smack dab back in the middle of the conversation.
You’ll notice that a lot of the information is the same as the standard material on sexRead more...
My 15 year old son has a first girlfriend who is a year older. My concern is that she lives with her dad only and quite often is home alone. My son has been there twice already and one time I made him leave because the dad was not home. I am besides myself about how to handle this. He said that he is not going to have sex with her but you know how that goes. I know what I was doing at 15. Do I make condoms available? But that would be condoning it. I will have a talk with the girl about not hanging at her house. They are always welcome at mine and I will try to speak to her dad about it.
In my experience it feels like there are two crowds, those who are 'cool' and have frequent sexual activity, hookups etc both in and out of relationships (or at least portray themselves as doing so) and those who are 'pure' who have decided at this point to abstain from sex until marriage, who are frequently Christian or otherwise religious. I think there's pressure to fit into one of those groups, either to go out and have lots of sex or to not have sex at all. There is stigma from both sides to each other, the cool group think the pure group are 'frigid' and boring, the pure group think the cool group are disrespecting themselves and God or something along those lines. If you're not willing to put yourself in either box then you can cop it from both sides. And if you are out LGBTQ then chances of fitting in either group are slim to none. I'm not sure if this is how it is for other people but that's how it feels to me in the last few years.
That's from Caitlin, a member of our communRead more...
Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy.
This is a subject that's talked about all the time, however, when it is, there's often little to no clear definition about what healthy sexual development is. Many easy assumptions get made, and ideas about what's healthy for all people are often based in or around personal agendas, ideas and personal experiences of sexuality, rather than being based in broader viewpoints, truly informed and comprehensive ideas about all that human sexuality and development involves and real awareness of possible personal or cultural bias.
We think this question is very, very tricky and that the answers aren't at all obvious or easy: sexuality is incredibly complex, especially given its incredible diversity, not just among a global population, but even within any one person's lifetime. Our cultures also are often sexually unhealthy in many ways, and so ideas about healthy sexual development, deeply iRead more...
As a youth-serving organization which provides most of our services online, we're all too aware the internet has limits. You can't get tested for chlamydia or pregnancy online. You can't get ongoing, one-on-one counseling or therapy where your counselor can hand you a tissue when you need one. The internet can't provide anyone a warm bed or a meal, an IUD, pre-natal care or an abortion. Google can't provide us HIV healthcare or emergency contraception.
As part of what we do, we refer users to offline services, but many of our users are often reluctant to seek out in-person services we or others can't directly vouch for. Years ago, we began to notice that when one of our users told another near them about a service they used and liked, or when one of our staff could vouch for having gone to a service ourselves,Read more...
(It's much more fun if you do your best Mary Catherine Gallagher moves when you say it.)
Today we're starting our yearly fundraising appeal -- the shiny marketing term for "beg for cash" -- for Scarleteen with some righteous month-long festivities and extras.
We aim to publish an in-depth advice column every single day from now through November 15th. Myself and Scarleteen's assistant director, CJ Turett, will be burning the midnight oil with answers, but we also have the help of some fantastically talented people to help this month, like Jaclyn Friedman, Kate Bornstein, Susie Bright, Zaedryn Meade, Cory Silverberg, Petra Boynton, Justin Bish, Amanda Marcotte, Carol Queen, s.e.smith, Nona Willis Aronowitz and more! You can get started with Jaclyn Friedman's guest advice on getting sexual assault awareness started in your college right here.
All across the 'net there's also a month-long blogathon for us starting today, and we will be reprinting most of the entries right here on our ownRead more...
I cannot stand this show. No sense in being shy about it, because this is a bias I cannot hide, as will be apparent in nanoseconds.
If I had anything even remotely decent or interesting to say about it, I would have blogged it before now. But every single blog post I have even started to think about writing in the past about it had the same title every single time, one composed entirely of profanity except for the articles of speech linking all my four-letter words together.
Summaries and commentaries that read like these do not balanced critical commentary make:
On top of doing what I do here at Scarleteen (and everything else I do), I also do some outreach sexuality and sexual rights education for a youth homeless shelter here in Seattle. My partner also now works full-time at that shelter, and when he came home last night and filled me in on some things that had gone on that day, I got struck very hard in the gut with some feelings I hadn't fully realized for myself until then, both about that work and the young people there, but also about some of my experiences with some of the users at Scarleteen.
So, I wrote the residents there a letter this morning that I'd also like to share with you, because the way I feel about them is also the way I feel about plenty of you. Because most of Scarleteen happens online, very few of our users are currently homeless or transient, but some have been or will be. In addition, plenty over the years have shared similar struggles, either being in the foster care system or in unsafe homes, surviving loss, assRead more...
Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but lately I feel like I have been noticing more people who really want to hear and know what young people think. Not who want to assume, presume, project or decide what you think, but who actually want to ask you and hear what you have to say about yourselves for yourselves.
If I'm not delusional in noticing this (always a possibility), I don't have to tell you this is obviously very good news.
One of the common complaints we hear a lot at Scarleteen from young people is how often you have to put up with older adults out and about in the world saying things about you that you don't think are true, or making broad generalizations about all teens or twentysomethings that don't accurately represent the vast diversity among you. And that last thing you need me to tel you is that that can be particularly problematic when it comes to talk that has anything to do with sex or sexuality.
Of course, one of the challenges when adults ask to hear what you haveRead more...