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The Scarleteen Tour Bus: A Quick How-To

Welcome to Scarleteen: we're so glad you found us! You're in the excellent company of millions of young people who've used our site and its services every year since 1998 for sexuality, sex, sexual health, relationship information, advice and support. Because we've been around so long and been so busy, there are thousands and thousands of pages of information here, so sometimes new users feel a little bit lost about how to get started. The following should help make you an expert at navigating the site and all it has to offer in no time flat!

Insert Your Rainbow, Unicorn or Glitter of Choice Here: Scarleteen is a diverse, inclusive space where we are strongly and actively committed to making and keeping a space that feels as safe as possible for everyone, which honors the diversity of human sexuality and identity. Scarleteen is a queer-friendly (we're queer-owned-and-operated, so it'd be pretty odd if we weren't) and inclusive space. We also welcome users of all gender identities, belief systems, ethnicities, economic classes, relationship constructs and languages. We ask everyone here to work together to co-create and help nurture such an inclusive space, where often very loaded topics are discussed, by following and respecting the user policies and guidelines, and our users and staff together do a great job of nurturing a community that's safe and friendly for everyone.

Do you need help as soon as possible?

As you can find on the front page, right in the middle, under the text that reads "Need Help Now?" we have a few ways to get you connected with help pretty darn fast:

1) You can go to our message boards.You need to register to use them, but that only takes a minute and an active email address where you can collect your password and then log in. After you do that, you can post at the boards, and a member of our staff or volunteer squad will usually reply within a few hours, often far sooner.

2) If you are in the United States, and have a cell phone, you can use our SMS service, where you can ask for help from one of our staff or volunteers directly. To do that, just text your questions to: (206) 866-2279.  The service is free on our end, but message and data rates from your mobile provider may apply.

3) If you are in crisis, you can look to the left of this text, or on any page of the site, to see if there's an icon that says live site help, our crisis chat service, is online. If it is, have a click, and one of our staff or volunteers can help you figure out what you need and how to help you get it right away. If you're not sure if what you have is a crisis, and one that we do and can help with, you'll find that made clear in the chat portion of this page. 

Getting Around and Finding What You Need:

Near the top right of every page, including the front page, you'll see a search window you can use to search for whatever you like. On the front page, you can also check out some new or featured articles we suggest.

This page can help get you started with some of the most common concerns new users come in with.

From the front page, or any other page on the site, you'll all see wide swatch of white, top and center, which contains the indexes for the site.

Those sections, and their general content, are:

  • Bodies: Anatomy, body parts, general physical health and body image.
  • Gender: Anything specific to gender or which addresses or is about gender.
  • Sexual Identity: Parts of sex or sexuality that are, or can be, part of who we feel we are sexually and as a whole person, like orientation, certain relationships models, kink and more.
  • Relationships: Relationships and relationship issues.
  • Sex and Sexuality: Just what it says -- sex and sexuality basics and not-so-basics.
  • Sexual Health: Sexually transmitted infections and diseases, contraception (birth control), and other parts of sexual health and sexual healthcare.
  • Pregnancy and Parenting: Pregnancy, how it happens, what all your options are if and when it happens, and parenting.
  • Abuse and Assault: Sexual abuse, assault and other kinds of interpersonal violence: how to prevent it, and how to heal when it happens to you.
  • Sexual Politics: Political aspects of sexuality, gender, bodies and more.
  • In Your Own Words (IYOW): First-person pieces from our readers -- read or submit one yourself.
  • Questions and Answers: Where to get or read one-on-one advice on sex and sexuality issues from our staff, volunteers and guest columnists.
  • Help Near You: An international, easily searchable database of youth-friendly doctors, sexual healthcare clinics and crisis services to find help you need, or add reviews to to help other young people find the best care in their area.
  • Etc: The miscellaneous stuff.
  • Message Boards: The busy, fully moderated discussion community at Scarleteen.

If you click on any of those links , you'll be brought to the main page for each of those sections, most of which will have an index of articles.

Some sections have more than one page of articles: if you scroll to the bottom of the page and see a "next" link, you can click on that to be brought to additional pages of articles within that section. As well, all those sections also have a right sidebar of links to blog posts, polls and advice columns relevant to the subjects of that section.

Clicking on the link for any article brings you to the article. Let's click on one, What's Sex? just to see. On the left sidebar of that article, you will see some links to basic information about Scarleteen, including this page, our history and background, our privacy policy, user guidelines and more.

At the bottom of every article or advice column is a grey block titled "More like this." Those links are to similar or related content. Under that, and also at the bottom on the front page, is a blue bar with some additional links to more about us, how to help support us, some media coverage of us, a note and other information for parents, and a link to contact us via email.


You'll also notice that at the top of every article is a line called tags, with a list of words or phrases relevant to that article. Clicking on any of those tags will bring you to other articles and resources related to that word or phrase. So, let's say you want to know more about the clitoris, so you'd click on the tag for clitoris. Then you'll see some other suggested articles and resources.

Tags are a great way to help you find exactly the information you're looking for quickly, so you don't have to go through the indexes when you know exactly what you want or need. On the lower left hand sidebar of every page, below the last read articles, as well as at the bottom left of the front page, you'll find a "cloud" of some of the most frequent tags used for quick reference: clicking on any of them will lead you to articles, resources and blog posts given that tag.

Other Bits:

  • The Blog: Sex education, sexuality, sexual health and young adult issues in the news, presented by Scarleteen staff and volunteers as well as guest writers.
  • Glossary Words: In our content, you'll see some words highlighted, and when you roll over them, will see all or part of a defintion.  Those are words or terms that are in our glossary -- which you can also look at in full, if you like, here -- to help users who aren't familiar with those words to know what we're on about.
  • Polls:
  • Our Social Media: On the top of every page, you'll find icons for our main Twitter account, our Facebook page, our Tumblr and our Pinterest pages. We'd love to connect with you that way. You'll also see an icon -- the orange one -- for our RSS feed if you want to be able to get notified through an RSS feed of any new articles, blog entries or advice columns as they're added.

Let's go back to the front page. You can always get back to the front page by clicking on the large Scarleteen logo in the upper left corner of every page. There, you can also find our latest user poll, the most recent new message board topics and advice answers, our recent blog entries, our last few tweets,a random quote or geeky sex factoid, a link to information about our book, and a few more tidbits. Explore!

Below all of that, at the bottom right, is a smaller blue rectangle, like the main navigation at top, with links to information about Scarleteen, our media kit, info for parents, a link to our blog, a site map and then a button through which to contact us.

Let's try finding some information, so you can see how this can work. For example, if what you came here wanting to know was what you needed to do to practice safer sex, the first thing you could do was look at that top blue rectangle. You can figure out that a couple of those sections are most likely to have what you need, like the Sexuality section or the Infection Section, and indeed, both have that information. OR, you could use the tags on the left hand sidebar, and click the tag that says "safer sex." That will give you a list of every article, blog post, page and advice question that deals with safer sex. OR, you could input "safer sex" into the search window, and that wouldalso give you a long list of relevant articles, answers and resources.

In the case that you can't find exactly the answer you need already here, you can always ask it either at the message board or through the Questions and Answers section. We're also always happy on the boards or through our text service to set our readers up with a list of links to suit their needs.


Many users will not need to register to use the main site. (Registration for the boards is a separate account: to register to use the boards, click here. If you only register for the main site, you will not be able to use the boards with that account. Those are two different registrations.)

If you want to leave a comment on the blog or on polls, input a question to be answered, use the In Your Own Words section, or be counted in last read articles, then you'll need to register and log in.

On any internal page of the site -- like this one: any page but the front page -- on top the left-hand sidebar, you'll see an option to register or log in. Registration requires only that you be over the age of 13 (sorry, but that's the law in the United States, where we're hosted, not our own rules) a working email address, and adherence to our user guidelines and privacy policy, which is the same for the main site as it is for the boards. You can find and read that here. Once you're registered and logged-in, then you'll see your name attached to that box on every page, and your options as a user.


At the bottom of every page, you'll see a smaller blue rectangle with some extra links in it: to the information about us, donation information, a note for parents, our blog, a basic map of the site and tags, and a link through which you can contact us via email.

At the top right of every page, you'll also see a box through which you can search the site for whatever it is you're looking for.

And that's that! You should easily have a handle on getting around Scarleteen, and we hope you're able to find all you need here. Should you be on the lookout for something you need pertaining to sexuality that isn't on the site, by all means, drop us a line and share your suggestion with us. Scarleteen's content has always been based in responding to user-expressed needs, so we're always open to new ideas and always want to make sure the site is as useable and useful for everyone as it can be.

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.