Want to Write for Scarleteen?

Diversity of voices and perspectives is important to our organization and our users. So is having some of the best content for young people about sex, sexuality, relationships and identities there is. That's where you could come in.

We want some more great, original and radical writers, sex, bodies and relationships educators and thinkers on our freelance team. We welcome and are open to all kinds of voices, though we are especially seeking content from queer and LGBA writers, Black and other POC and/or indigenous writers, women, trans and nonbinary writers, people with disabilities, young writers and other marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Our current rate for most pieces is $100, paid to you as an independent contractor, by check via mail within 30 days of publication. We do not support work-for-hire: we share copyright, so you retain the rights to your work. You may reprint or republish as you like, we simply ask that for the first month a piece is published, it is exclusive to Scarleteen. As well, if and when a writer turns out to do a great job for us, and work for our readers, we love keeping writers on as part of our ongoing freelance team, and do our best to make writing for us a positive, relaxed and supportive experience. Our writers often report having a very good experience working with us, and feeling like both they andf their work were treated with care and respect.

Content for Scarleteen needs to be written professionally -- with solid, correct and accessible grammar, spelling, style and structure -- as well as inclusively, considering factors like diversity of economic class, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability and agency. We ask that writers demonstrate and convey a true respect for young people, presenting themselves as a helper or guide, not a parent, leader or director. Young people trust Scarleteen as a place that has and always conveys a real value of them as whole people with agency. If you're familiar with our content, you know already that it is primarily user-driven; most influenced in content and tone by what users have expressed to us fits their needs. It is friendly and accessible in style, plain and direct in tone, while treating sensitive topics with the sensitivity they truly demand.

Our site serves around 25,000 users daily (and around 8 million unique readers a year), and many likeminded organizations and media services link to our content, so your work will be seen very widely. Scarleteen is and remains the most widely used site specifically for young people seeking out sex and relationships information, so it's a great place to get targeted readers for that content. We do not have commenting available for articles or advice columns, but do for the blog. In areas where commenting is open, it is strongly moderated. We like writers to engage with any comments from users when made, but you will not likely ever have to deal with any abuse from comments made on our site, and we will always advocate for you if and when it is needed, including with anything that happens on social media due to work you have published here. We have your back.

Our users -- and thus, your readers -- are primarily between the ages of 15 and 25, and live all over the world. About 50% of our users are from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Around 50% of our userbase identifies as heterosexual; the other half as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning or asexual. We also serve many trans and nonbinary users.

Pieces here can vary in length: if the piece is engaging, how long or short a piece is is mostly influenced by the topic at hand. Human sexuality and relationships are very complex topics, so typically very short pieces are not right for us: clear, engaging longform, or a longer series made of short pieces tend to be more of what our readers want and respond to. We expect writers to say as much or as little about something as needs be said for a reader to benefit and clearly understand, and to do so in an engaging way. Literacy tends to be high for many of our users, but we still ask that writers do their best to use plain language and explain any terms or acronyms. Demystification of all the things is the name of the game around here.

How This All Typically Works:

1. You take a look around the site, including our publicly posted direct services (that's the message boards and advice columns), and what we do and see if the tone, style and subject matter here feels like a good place for you as a writer. Please familiarize yourself with our content and style before pitching: some of the most popular current styles of internet content -- super snappy, snarky and short, or where much of the content is image-based -- are not a good fit for us.  We need writers who can give our users real depth, and the feeling of someone really taking the time to talk with them in a rich, caring and sensitive way.

2. You look at the current needs listed below, throw us a couple examples of your writing, let us know where you have been published before (but that's not a requirement: new writers are totally welcome!), and a pitch in email based on that list, or another subject you don't see represented enough, or in our content and is near and dear to your geekdom.

That pitch should include: who you are (including your name), what writing experience you have, the right email for us to get back to you at, and any other basic bits you want to let us know about you and your ideas.

It should be emailed to: editorialATscarleteenDOTcom

3. We look at what you send, email you back if we're interested, have a chat, set a deadline for a first draft, then send you off to get cracking. We care a great deal about fair conditions and value for labor: we believe the agreements we suggest and ask for respect the rights and value of our content creators and collaborators, but if you have any special needs or concerns with it, you can always let us know and we're happy to consider adjustments or changes.

4. You come back with a first draft.  If it looks like something we just can't work with, or will have to do a lot of work on ourselves, we'll have to decline taking it any further. If it looks pretty solid, we will review, leaves notes and and edit it, and then you'll ideally make a final draft based on those notes and edits. Then we'll review and edit that draft, polish it up any more as needed, and publish the piece. You invoice us, and then we pay you by mail within 30 days.  This process can take anywhere from a week or two to a couple of months, depending on the length of the piece, how quickly or slowly you and we are working, and where it fits with our editorial schedule.

Current Topic Needs (last updated 4/6/19):

  • More disability content about sex and sexual/dating relationships, especially for those with cognitive disability, chronic pain and disabilities limit mobility
  • An in-depth primer on intersexuality
  • Self-esteem and self-acceptance
  • Dating & relationship information for young men (of any sexual orientation, but we have a particular need for information for gay or bisexual men)
  • Positive content about being and staying single
  • Pregnancy and young parenting content, including: going through a pregnancy, obstetric care and choices, doulas and midwives, childcare, managing intimate relationships while pregnant/parenting, body changes and issues, self-care
  • Youth rights guides 
  • A primer on microaggressions
  • Healing from sexual assault or abuse. We especially have a high need for information and support for queer, men and transgender survivors.
  • Pieces on some sexual/reproductive health conditions, namely: PCOS, some intersex conditions, reproductive cancers, PID, bacterial or fungal infections, pain conditions that impact sexuality
  • Living/Dealing with HIV
  • Practical information about accessing abortion or funds to pay for abortion (ideally not just for those in the United States)
  • How to survive while living in abuse you can't currently leave or get away from (eg, a legal minor in an abusive home)
  • Learning to create and nurture healthy relationships for those who have grown up with normalized abuse or dysfunction
  • How to better support and care for one another; practical kindness and compassion help
  • Support, information and acceptance for bisexual people
  • Emancipation
  • Creating positive masculinities
  • Helping and supporting friends
  • Processing and managing familial conflicts with sexuality
  • Pieces for emerging adults to help them transition with sexual issues such as arranging, managing and paying for sexual/reproductive healthcare, managing intimate relationships in college/after leaving home, managing increased sexual freedoms
  • Content for people starting dating or sexual interactions or relationships later than their peers (in their mid-20s or beyond)
  • Learning to feel more comfortable with bodies, sexuality, sexual identity and sexual interactions
  • Assertiveness
  • Adoption and abortion first-person stories
  • Sexual/reproductive/LGBQA+ and trans activism how-to's