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young people

Our Volunteers: To Sex::Tech or Bust!

I'm writing today to make a modest funding ask of our allies and our readers capable of financial contributions on behalf of our volunteers.

What we're looking to do is to raise enough funds for all of our volunteers, who are able, to fly to San Francisco this April and attend the sex::tech conference together.

Doing so would allow them to appear on a panel we're giving composed of young adult peer online educators, in which they can talk about being educators and engage in a discussion with attendees which will, I expect, influence both attendees and the volunteers positively. I feel it's very important for them to be able to experience some outside, in-person recognition for the fantastic work they've done over the years and want that for them very much. This will also allow as many of us as possible to meet in person and do some important brainstorming about Scarleteen as a website and an organization. Many of them have never met in person, despite sometimes talking online for

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Introducing... Find-a-Doc!

(...or a counselor, LGBTQ center, doula, shelter, rape crisis center or other in-person sexual/reproductive health, sexuality and/or crisis care serving teens and young adults!)

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,

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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.

Sex Ed and Bleach

This is a guest entry by Max Kamin-Cross, originally published at abortiongang, that's part of the month-long blogathon to help support Scarleteen!

Sex ed. We hear that word a lot, but who really knows what sex ed is? It’s short for “sexual education,” but what’s that?

According to my handy dandy dictionary, sex education is: “education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, and intercourse and other human sexual behavior.” Lots of words, but it’s pretty much learning about the human body and its reproduction. Pretty much straightforward, right? Wrong.

I know how un-straightforward sex ed is, probably more than any other blogger you read. That’s because I attended health class, every day, for 20 weeks less than a year ago.

Every single morning at 7:40am I was in Mr. Hanson’s (he requested I not use his real name) class for 46 minutes. Monday-Friday from December all the way to February, I had to sit in this class. This was a chance for New York State and Pittsford Centra

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These are Good Things.

This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon. Want to take part? Toss us an email and we'll get you in touch with Laura, our blogathon organizer!

Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.

The school sex ed actually started out okay – in grades 3 and 5 we had health classes where we learned about the human body and how it works. In 5th grade, we separated out into groups of just boys and just girls, and got some of the details of puberty and what would happen to our bodies. We learned where babies came from and all that before the abstinence-only programs were started.

By high school, however, we were not getting much in the way of good information. We didn’t learn about birth control at all – it wasn’t even mentioned, not even in a negative way. We saw lo

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Be a Scarleteen Superstar!

(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 own

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Why can't I stop being so scared of pregnancy?

lucyinthesky asks:

I have a problem, and I'm ready to crack with the stress of it. I've been on birth control (Yaz) for a year, to help with my acne, though I don't always take it at the same time every day. Sometimes I've missed pills or taken them over 12 hours late. That shouldn't really matter, though, because I'm not sexually active. My boyfriend and I have decided to wait until we get married to have sex. We only ever make out. Still, I find myself worrying about pregnancy risks even though there are no apparent ways to get pregnant from what we do. Some small part of my mind will whisper things like, "What if he has pre-ejaculate that seeps through his clothes onto you? What if he had a nocturnal emission that night he stayed over?" Nobody else I know seems to have this constant paranoia. I don't understand why I spend half my time worrying about a pregnancy that most people understand is impossible. I'm not sure what I'm asking here, other than, have you ever seen this before - a girl terrified of something happening when it isn't even likely? Is there any way I can help myself and get peace of mind? Thanks.

Scarleteens Speak

I have a very exciting announcement to make (and a little bit of a happydance that goes with it, but I'm not sure that's something anyone wants to see, so I'll stick with just the announcement for now).

As of today, readers and users at our message boards have the chance to participate in a twitter feed of their own. Scarleteen already has a twitter feed updated by Heather Corinna and a few other volunteers and staff members (it's at http://www.twitter.com/Scarleteen if you're interested). But this new account is going to be created, updated and maintained by our message board users and readers.

From time to time, volunteers may step in to add quotes from posts at the message boards, but the content will be exclusively the words of the young people who use Scarleteen. There is already a section of the main site dedicated to young people's voices - "In Your Own Words" - but this new twitter feed is an opportunity for the amazing teens and young adults we have here to get their voice

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Scarleteen Peer Sex Educator Training Announcement

Many people have been asking about when our next peer sex educator training will be, and I'm sorry to say that I'm coming in with my founder and executive director hat on to deliver some not-so-awesome news about it.

We have a very long waiting list for another session of our training. I was hoping to be able to do another round this spring or summer, but as of right now, it simply will not be possible to do until late fall, and may even need to stay on hold until 2011.

I like to run the organization as transparently as possible, so I'll briefly explain what's up with the holdup. Long story short, there are three major factors right now which are the issue.

With the waiting list being so long, we want to train a larger group in than last time. But even with the small group that we had last year, it was clear that doing the training mostly on my own was very difficult, and I feel that shortchanged our trainees. So, I need some pro-bono help from a handful of other qualified educators

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One of the 80 million ways young people are my s/heroes

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, ass

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