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 of pages of information here, so sometimes new users feel a little bit lost about how to get started. This page should help make you an expert at navigating the site and all it has to offer in no time.
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. Links to all three of our fast direct services are also on the top of every page of the site.
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 or 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 from us, but message and data rates from your mobile provider may apply.
3) You can use our live chat service. That link leads you to information about it, including our current typical chat hours. When we're online, you can click into chat and one of our staff or volunteers can talk with you right away.
Getting Around and Finding What You Need:
Scarleteen is a very colorful place. If it's got too much color or too many graphics for your neurological system, disability, or something you use for a disability (or even just your taste), the site also exists as a text-only version, which you can access at the top middle of every page, right under the main navigation menu, where it says "text-only." You can switch back and forth from that version to the graphical version any time you want.
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 a few new or featured articles we suggest.
To the right of the text-only link, you'll see a button to donate to the site: Scarleteen is an independent, grassroots organization funded by independent donors, not by federal, state or institutional funding.
Beneath that line is a block we use for announcements.
From the front page, or any other page on the site, you'll see a main navigation box, top and center, which contains the section indexes and links to our direct services.
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: First-person pieces from our readers -- you can read or submit one yourself.
- Advice: Answers from our staff, volunteers or guest columnists to user-submitted questions.
- Quickies: These are short one-page articles often made from existing pieces of ours at Scarleteen. They each have a printable version attached. They're meant for younger readers, those with cognitive disabilities, and/or for educators, parents or others to use to support their lessons, talks or anything else they work for.
- Etc: For things that just didn't seem to fit in any other section.
- That navigation menu also contains links to our message boards, live chat and SMS services.
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 advice columns relevant to the subjects of that section, and another below that provide links to other great sites.
Some articles have been translated into other languages. On each article, to the top right above its title, is a "translate" tab. When you click it, it will show you which, if any, languages a piece has been translated into.
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.
At the bottom of every page of the site is a red block that contains important links to other parts of the site, site and user guidelines and policies, information about us as an organization, our social media channels, a link to a place you can get some swag if your heart so desires, and, on the left hand side, a short list of tags with a "more" link at the bottom that leads to a list of all our tags.
You'll also notice that at the bottom of every article there is anything from one to several lines, with little stars to the left, in grey boxes: that's a list of sections the piece you're looking at is posted in and words or phrases relevant to that article. Clicking on any of those tags will bring you to other articles and resources related to that subject, 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 and what you're looking for is more specific than general.
- 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.
- The Glossary: 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.
- Our Social Media: On the top of every page, you'll find icons for our main Twitter account, our Instagram account, Facebook page, and our Tumblr. 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. We've also got a sub-Reddit over here, at: Queer Sex Ed for All.
You can always get back to the front page by clicking on the Scarleteen logo in the upper left corner of every page or the home link at the bottom of every page in the red block.
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 white navigation bar. You can figure out that a couple of those sections are most likely to have what you need, like the Sexual Health section, or the sexuality section, and indeed, both have that information. OR, you could use the tags on the bottom of every page, or the tag page that has all of them, 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 would also 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, live chat or through our text service to set our readers up with a list of links to suit their needs.
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, using the "contact us" link in the red box below, 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.