About Scarleteen

Who are we? What do we do here, and how do we do it? What’s the history of the site and its services? What are our core values? Where have other people and places talked with us or about us? What exactly is a “Scarleteen,” anyway? From simple FAQs, to staff, volunteer and contributor bios, to timelines, to longform pieces we’ve written to talk about what we do over the years to our user guidelines and policies, you’ll find it here.

Scarleteen is a progressive, inclusive sexuality and relationships education, information and support organization and digital clearinghouse. There hasn’t ever been and still isn’t anything else online quite like it. We’re a unicorn⁠ !

Founded in December of 1998, Scarleteen is visited by about 4 million people from all around the world each year -- thousands of whom we speak with directly -- most between the ages of 15 and 30. We were one of the first and remain one of the few websites and organizations focused on directly providing sex⁠ , relationships and bodies information and support for and to young people. We're also one of the rare and remaining independent, grassroots feminist media sources left online: we are not affiliated with any other organization, company or governmental agency. Our leadership, volunteers and contributors are mostly queer⁠ , women, trans or gender⁠ -expansive, diverse in our ethnicities, locations, embodiments and economic class, and quite a few of us live with disability and frequently are not or have not been considered generally respectable by people generally concerned with respectability.

In 2023, Scarleteen became a shared leadership model. Two co-directors lead Scarleteen with founder Heather Corinna: longtime volunteers and staff Sam Wall and Jacob Mirzaian. The team at Scarleteen also includes our volunteers, most of whom are under the age of 30, a diverse team of freelance writers, and the skills, knowledge and talents of other educators, consultants, illustrators and tech helpers.

Awards: 

  • 2007: The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism from the National Sexuality Resource Center/SFSU 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2009: The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region's Public Service Award
  • 2009: Our Bodies, Ourselves' Women's Health Heroes Award 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2011: Seattle Web Awards: Best Nonprofit Website and Best Nonprofit Twitter Feed 
  • 2012: The Joan Helmich Educator of the Year Award 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2013: The Woodhull Foundation's Vicki Award 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2015: The Steinem-Waters Award 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2015: The Golden Brick Award 
    (to Heather Corinna)
  • 2023: The World Association for Sexual Health's (WAS) Award for Excellence and Innovation in Sexuality Education. 

Scarleteen and its accomplishments have also been recognized by many other organizations, and our content has been used or provided in clinics, outreach programs, college and high school syllabus, and by sexuality educators, healthcare providers, teachers, counselors, therapists and other youth-serving workers and agencies.

We provide

Online text-based content

Scarleteen contains thousands of original, comprehensive, and accurate sexuality, health and relationship⁠ articles, guides, factsheets and advice answers, based on the expressed needs of young people themselves and all available at no cost. Our widely inclusive, expansive content is thoughtfully written and edited by adult, emerging adult or teen writers, and regularly fact-checked and updated as needed with current, medically-accurate information.

Direct services

Our message boards, live chat, text/SMS line and our reddit offer young people the ability to talk directly with one of our staff and members of our community at no cost to them. Our direct services are actively moderated to provide a safe, comfortable space and accurate, compassionately delivered information, staffed by our staff and trained peer volunteers. Our direct services are used for an array of questions and answers, long discussions, emotional support, help finding in-person care or other resources, and, in the services that are community based, to engage in safe, respectful peer-to-peer discussion. Our direct service interactions primarily inform our static content and outreach.

Outside resource referrals

We frequently help our users find outside sexual⁠ /reproductive healthcare services, mental healthcare, LGBTQIA+ support, local children and family services, sexual abuse⁠ and other crisis care, books, other websites, community centers and other resources. Staff can also be available to users to make screening/intake phone calls if they feel nervous about first calling themselves or if they are not sure a service is bonafide.

Other outreach

We provide offline teen outreach education, support and training to other organizations and groups, primarily through or at sexual/reproductive health clinics, community and school groups and teen homeless/transitional shelters. We have provided additional outreach, training and education at colleges, universities, schools, community centers and conferences, to students, parents and to fellow teen and sexual health workers and educators. Scarleteen also frequently provides expert information for articles, books, podcasts, studies and other media about topics like teen, emerging adult and general sexuality, sexual health, relationships, queer⁠ sexuality and gender identity⁠ , parenting, and sex⁠ education. You can see some of where we have appeared in media over the years here.

Mentoring and leadership

Scarleteen provides active, engaged mentorship and guidance for our volunteers and interns, and participates in and supports youth leadership events and initiatives outside the organization. Scarleteen is long considered by many to be a highly influential leader in progressive and inclusive sexuality education, and we have directly participated in and supported activism to influence and change public policy, like teaming up with the ACLU to fight the COPA.

Contact Information

Our email:

You can reach us through our contact form.

Our mailing dddress:

  • Scarleteen
  • 2522 W Lawrence Ave
  • Chicago, IL 60625

Our social media:

Our Team

Who runs Scarleteen, creates and manages its content, and staffs its services? Our founder, co-directors, volunteers, our in-house and freelance writers and illustrators, sometimes with help from colleagues, peer organizations or projects, consultants, and other friends and supporters of Scarleteen.

Our Philosophy

We feel sexuality education for young people is best guided by things like respect for young people's own agency and self-knowledge, diversity and inclusion, cultural sensitivity, consent, liberty, listening, ingenuity and creativity, accuracy, flexibility, care and other aspects or expressions of our core values and aims.

Our Model & History

In 1998, Heather Corinna started answering emails young people sent them asking for information about and help with sex and relationships. Their answers, and how Scarleteen was built and run thereafter, included their background in learner-centered education, in creative writing and design, and their life experience as a queer, progressive, community service-minded and profoundly sex-positive person.

Testimonials

How do some of our readers, users and supporters feel about Scarleteen? They're really, really into us. We try not to get too big a head about it, but over the years a whole lot of people have had a whole lot of really nice things to say about us. You can read some of therm here!

Latest Media & Announcements

Announcement Our Work After Dobbs
Announcement Dreaming of Queer Futures: Scarleteen Pride 2022
Announcement Queer Media for Pride Month and Beyond
Announcement Queer Futures: Siân
Announcement Queer Futures: Mo