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User Guidelines & Privacy Policy

User Guidelines

We need rules and guidelines with this many people and sensitive subject matter, and because we value the safety and quality of our community. Scarleteen has one of the busiest and longest-running young adult boards and sites around, and that involves a little cooperation to make it work for everyone. It is our job at Scarleteen to provide a safe venue through the boards and main site for discussion of sexual issues. If people are harassed or put down, or if language is used which is discriminatory or insulting, no one feels safe: if personally identifying information ends up on our pages, it can compromise our users safety. We've found our rules work, make us the most popular site -- and one of the most respected -- for this sort of information and this audience, and we can do our jobs and feel good about them this way.

If you registered for the message boards, you agreed to this set of rules and regulations (and you can review them here, at the bottom of the page), after which you clicked "I Agree." These are also the general rules for the site as a whole. Please respect these rules and guidelines. If another poster isn't abiding by the rules or is harassing you, you should inform us immediately via email.


Protecting your privacy is important to us, and we do the best we can to help with that. But you also need to protect yourself. When registering, choose a username that is NOT a variant of your real name and is NOT a handle you have used or will use anywhere else. We'll edit it out if you do, but don't put any personally identifying information in blog comments, board posts or advice questions, like your email or MySpace/Facebook page. In fields that ask for your location, be general in registering: a state, province or even country is fine. Don't use real names of people, schools or places in any content you post here. If you make the effort to protect your privacy in ways we can't control, we'll help you protect it in the ways we can. If there is anything you do NOT want seen on the internet, even anonymously, or potentially be posted here until the end of time, don't put it here.

You will be held to these guidelines when using Scarleteen, whether or not you choose to read them. Not abiding by the guidelines can result in suspension or termination of your use, and/or a report to your ISP. They're what we expect from users utilizing our free service, as a measure of respect for the whole community. If another poster isn't abiding by the rules or is harassing you, please inform us via email.

Due to United States COPPA law, registration at the boards is not available for users under the age of 13. If you are under 13 and want an account, we will need a parent or guardian to email us permission for you. For more information on COPPA and our privacy policy, click here.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is NOT meant to and cannot substitute for the advice 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 physician and medical advisors if you have a health problem or medical condition.

You agree, by registering to use Scarleteen, you will not use Scarleteen to post any material which is knowingly false or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, hateful, harassing, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violate of any law. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you, within Fair Use or you have permission of the author to post it.

To best protect your privacy and to comply with our guidelines, when choosing a username do NOT use your real or full name, a name you use or want to use anywhere else online or in offline life, or a handle which you think those who know you would recognize.   Users themselves are responsible for the handles they choose and choosing to post: once you post on the boards, understand your post will be something permanent. It is up to you to ONLY post what you are comfortable being viewed publicly and posted permanently. Per staff, time and resource limitations, we generally cannot and will not remove posts at a user's request.

Safeguarding your identity at Scarleteen is your responsibility. For your safety, you may not post personally-identifying information, such as full names, phone numbers, personal photos, links to social networking sites, and/or e-mail or postal addresses.

Please post with care for grammar and punctuation, so that it is easiest for everyone to understand, and easiest for users to search for subjects. When posting content, you are expected to be respectful of fellow users and our staff; to use language which is clear, not salacious or overly explicit, and which encourages intelligent, safe and mature discussion. Name-calling, abuse or harassment of any staffer, volunteer or other user will result in an immediate termination of use without warning or explanation. Scarleteen is a safe space: bigotry is not tolerated here. That includes victim-blaming, character judgments about anyone's sexual history, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, ageism, sizeism and any other -ism which keeps this from being a safe space for any of our users or staff. You are entitled to think whatever you like, but when participating here, required to keep the space emotionally safe for everyone.

You may not post multiple identical or similar topics in different threads or areas, and may not use more than one username for posting. You also may not allow friends or family to use your handle for their posts: each user needs to have his or her own registration. Please also be mindful if linking out to other sites: sites which have over-18 warnings, which are clearly geared only to adults, or which have content which is hateful, inflammatory or inaccurate are not allowed to be posted here.

We respond to posts as quickly as possible, but do not guarantee any post will be responded to within a set period of time, or at all. Posts which exist solely to complain, potentially harm or insult our staff or readers will be removed, as may information posted which is, to our knowledge, fallacious or incorrect, may potentially endanger our users, and those who post them may have their posting privileges suspended, or may be blocked from use of the board in the future, as may users who do not follow any of these stated board guidelines. If you have a concern or complaint to lodge with our staff regarding any aspect of Scarleteen or its boards, it should be sent via e-mail or posted in the Staff Stuff area of the boards.

Scarleteen reserves the right to not answer questions which pertain to explicit sexual techniques or illegal activity, and posts which request such material may be closed or deleted, which includes, but is not limited to, such questions and subjects as:

  • How to perform specific sexual activities (i.e., "How do I give a blow job?" "What are some new sexual positions?")
  • Illegal drug use or abuse, or illegal or patently unsafe sexual activities (i.e., bestiality, rape, incest, purposefully transmitting disease or infection, etc.)
  • Stated intent to engage in potentially dangerous or illegal activities or practices

Scarleteen is a pro-choice site, which advocates personal, sexual and bodily autonomy and integrity. We will not entertain discussions or comments about whether or not women should have the right to full reproductive choice, whether or not people of all genders should have the right to full sexual consent and to complete ownership of their own bodies. Scarleteen does not support or endorse nonconsensual, premature, involuntary or nonelective body or genital cosmetic surgery, alteration or mutilation (such as forced dieting, FGM, genital surgery for intersex infants or male infant circumcision), though we do support those individuals who have had these things done to them.

Posts which contain any of the above may be removed or edited at our discretion for your safety and ours. As a private entity, we reserve the right to delete any message or user for any or no reason whatsoever, without notice or warning, at any time. Advertisements or solicitations are not allowed on this board when posted without permission.

Things that will get you in hot water and may or will result in termination of use are:

  • falsifying information or identification via multiple handles, copyright infringement or other means,
  • harassment of any sort via the boards or e-mail (and that includes proselytizing or antichoice canvassing, as well as barking at or name-calling users, staff or volunteers for a given answer or response), or predatory behaviour,
  • misuse of the site in terms of things like trying to use them as a dating service, posting only to incite conflict or crisis,
  • spamming the site in any way (either via soliciting products, or by posting replies or topics very rapidly and repeatedly in short periods of time -- posting for the sake of accumulating posts is not acceptable)
  • refusal to follow any aspect of this user agreement,
  • three or more posts closed, deleted or direct warnings given due to your behavior or misuse of the site per the user agreement,
  • refusal to comply with any aspect of these guidelines.

We reserve the right to no longer answer a given user's questions on a given topic if:

  • that user has already been answered, in depth by one or more staff and volunteers, but continues to ask the same question,
  • We know that user to be a fraud or a user is identified as a previously banned user
  • and/or if a user has had more than THREE pregnancy scares and/or STI scares we have addressed but continues to take risks which present those scenarios after we have advised them at least three times as to how to make safer choices.

Considering the real-time nature of the message boards and comment areas, we cannot review all messages or confirm the validity of all information posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the content of any message that has not been posted by Scarleteen staff. Messages express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of Scarleteen. You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless Scarleteen with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s). We also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a harassment complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you.

The message boards and Sexpert Advice sections exist to offer support for the existing material published at scarleteen.com, not to replace that information. Before posting, please educate and inform yourself with existing information from the site. We also ask users to bear in mind that Scarleteen has NO public or federal funding, and is a free service provided to you.

Lastly, copyright for all material posted to the boards herewith belongs to Scarleteen. Posts may be used by the owner of Scarleteen without permission for promotion, articles at or about Scarleteen, books and other related works.


For Your Safety

You should NEVER be asked by anyone for personally identifying information at Scarleteen UNLESS you are asking for a referral for local services, in which case you will be asked by staff or volunteers for your postal code, which you may supply on the message boards or via email.

You should NEVER be invited by anyone to disclose personal identification or invited into private discussions away from the site. Scarleteen does not allow users to post personally identifying information -- such as pictures/photos, real names, email or post addresses -- and does not have user PM, chat or personal avatars enabled to help protect you and your privacy.

You should never receive an email from anyone at Scarleteen unless: you have submitted an advice question in which case a link will be mailed to you; you are receiving notice of a member suspension or warning due to violation of our guidelines; you have subscribed to our RSS feed, in which case new articles will be mailed to you through your RSS service; you have asked to be notified of responses to a message board thread, in which case the email will simply note you have a new response to your thread; you have registered for a member account for the site (which allows use of the message boards and question submissions, only), in which case you will receive an email with your username and password. If you have sent us an email through our contact form with a question, you may also receive email back addressing that question or referring you to what you have requested, but the nature of that email will always be professional and brief, without another response from us unless you email again. In very limited circumstance, we will sometimes engage some users over 18 in email should they be in profound crisis and need help for a situation in which posting in public areas would put their privacy or safety at risk.

If you ARE ever personally solicited in any way by anyone claiming to be representing Scarleteen, invited into private sexual or otherwise personal conversations, or are asked to provide personally identifying information besides a zip code or email in order to refer you to local services you are requesting of us or in response to something you have asked for about your account, PLEASE notify us and/or another trusted adult or agency immediately.


Privacy Policy

Scarleteen is committed to protecting the privacy of our visitors and keeping them as safe as possible online. This privacy policy discloses how we collect, protect, and use information you provide us online, as well as how we protect children's privacy. By using the pages on this site, you are accepting the practices described in the Privacy Policy.

There are certain actions and areas of the site that will require you to provide some information, such as:

  • The message boards
  • Sending an e-mail question
  • Leaving a question for Sexpert Advice
  • Registering as a user to leave comments or other content

Any time you provide information, you should remember the terms of this privacy policy, as it will govern our use of the information you have provided.

We will update this privacy policy as we deem necessary, so be sure to reread it from time to time. By submitting information to us, you agree that Scarleteen may use the information in accordance with this privacy policy.

1. Information You Choose to Provide

In order to gain access to certain areas of our site or to use certain features of our site, you may choose to provide information. If you do submit information to us, we will use that information for the purposes for which it was submitted. For example:

• If you register for the message boards forums, we will ask for your date of birth. You will also need to provide your email address, which is publicly hidden. You will be identified on the forums by a user name of your choice, and we ask you do not register with a legal name, for your safety and privacy. We will have a record of all of this information and we will use it only to allow you to interact with our site and for general statistical purposes.

• We will receive any other information you choose to provide, such as e-mail questions, answers to polls, feedback, articles or other materials you submit.

In addition to the uses described above, Scarleteen reserves the right to share information you provide with legal authorities if we find it necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding suspected fraud, situation involving threats or potential harm to the safety of any person or property, or if required by law (such as if required by a subpoena, court orders or other legal means).

2. Submission of Materials and Information by Users

When you submit an e-mail, a forum post, site comment, or other material to Scarleteen through the Web Site, you are authorizing Scarleteen to read it, edit it, publish it on-site or in any of our future publications and authorize other organizations to publish it. This means your submission can be read publicly, downloaded and copied, as well as in other on-line or off-line forms. If you don't want your forum post, comment, or other materials to be posted and read by others, do not submit it. After posting a submission on the site, Scarleteen may edit it for reasons of clarity or to protect your privacy. You can do your part by editing it yourself first to eliminate anything that might identify you or other people mentioned in your submission. Scarleteen is not obligated to and makes no representation that it will publish any particular submission.

Furthermore, all of the material you submit must be your own creation -- not copied from someone or something else. Once a submission is published on the site, Scarleteen may take it down for any or no reason.

Registration, polling, forum topics, along with our accounts of what pages users are reading the most, will be compiled into statistics to inform us about your needs and interests. We may also share this statistical information with writers, web site writers, media, and outside experts, to help us improve the site and give you more on the subjects and things in which you show the greatest interest.

3. Information Automatically Collected and Stored

As is true of most websites you enter, we automatically collect and store some information about your computer and your visit in log files. This information includes your computer's Internet Protocol (IP) address; the domain from which you access the Internet (such as "AOL.com" or "msn.com"); the name, version, and specifications of your computer and your computer's operating system; the Internet address of the Web site, if any, from which you came to our site; the date and time you arrived at our site and how long you spent on the site; and which pages you visited.

We use this information to formulate statistics that show the number of visitors to the different sections of our site and to help us make our site more useful to you. These statistics do not reveal personal information.

4. Cookies (not the crunchy kind)

We use session cookies on the main site and the boards to allow use of certain features only by members, to track the number of times you have used a certain feature and to keep track of unique visitors to the pages of scarleteen.com.

Session cookies are small text files that are placed in your computer's Random Access Memory. If you register or login as a member of scarleteen.com, we place a session cookie on your computer so that you can use certain features of our site that are accessible only to members.

The cookie only resides in your Random Access Memory for the length of your browser session. For example, if you log in as a member and then browse through different pages of the Web site, the cookie will allow you to use certain features (e.g., posting on the forums or commenting on a blog post). However, once you close your browser window, the session cookie times out. If you open a new browser window and return to our Web site, you will have to log in again to gain access to the member-only features.

5. Special Information for Children under 13 and their parents

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) protects the personal information of children under the age of 13. This applies to individually identifiable information about a child that is collected online, such as full name, home address, email address, telephone number or any other information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child. The Act and Rule also cover other types of information -- for example, hobbies, interests and information collected through cookies or other types of tracking mechanisms -- when they are tied to individually identifiable information. It is important for you to understand this law; we encourage you to read more about COPPA.

Scarleteen is committed to providing a safe and secure online experience for children who visit our site. We are dedicated to safeguarding any personal information collected online and to helping parents and children have positive experiences on the Internet. Consistent with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, we will never knowingly request personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 13 without prior verifiable parental consent. If you are under 13 and would like to participate in the message forums or other areas of the site that require your information, please have your parent or guardian send an email, with a verifiable identity, giving us permission to allow you to register. If we have not received parental permission for a user who states to be or is found to be under 13, we cannot, by law, respond to your questions or publish any content from that user.

Parents can revoke their consent and ask that information about their children be deleted from the site by contacting us via email. To do this or to review personal information collected from children, we must verify the identity of the requesting parent. When a parent revokes consent, we will stop collecting, using, or disclosing information from that child. To respect the privacy of parents, information collected and used for the sole purpose of obtaining verifiable parental consent or providing notice is not maintained in retrievable form by the site if parental consent is not obtained after a reasonable time.

Scarleteen believes it is good policy not to collect more personally identifiable information from children under 13 than is necessary for them to safely participate in our online activities. In addition, be aware that all sites that are targeted to children under 13 are prohibited by law from collecting more information than they need.

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.