(hell, yeah) Scarleteen

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Posts tagged "Scarleteen"

We’re finishing up some major updates to the tech that holds the site up and makes it work.  So if your find the site down or behaving strangely, rest assured that we’ll have it up and running again soon.

heavyboots asks:

I will be a junior in high school next year, and because I’ve been lucky to stumble on a lot of really great sex-positive resources, I’ve learned I have a pretty strong interest in sexuality—as in, studying it/doing something in it as a career. However, getting information about this field is much more difficult than, say, engineering or law. What are jobs within this field, what are areas in college/majors you’d advise, and what are some ways I can get involved now, as a minor? My areas of interest are not really in the medical field—I’m more interested in counseling, giving advice, activism, and education

Also, do you have any advice for telling people about my interest? Right now the only person who knows is my boyfriend, because it’s really difficult for me to trust most other people to not equivocate wanting to study sexuality with being obsessed with having sex. Esp my parents, who are politically liberal in every way except in their parenting. They ask me what I want to do with my life really often, and it’s kinda stressful to not be able to talk to them.

Sam W replies:

Hello Me-from-the-past, I’m glad to see you discovered a means of asking questions of your future self.

I kid, but believe me when I say that your questions strike a chord with anyone who’s found themselves drawn towards sex and sexuality based professions (for the purposes of this articles, I’ll use sex ed as shorthand for all of these jobs, but know that I’m including work such as counseling and activism under that heading). Because wanting to spend your days working with and thinking about sex and sexuality is not a desire that comes with a clear path stretching out before it.

This lack of a clear path is both awesome and terrible. On the one hand, it means that people can come into sex education and related fields from all walks of life, and it means that taking a slight detour doesn’t mean giving up on the path entirely. On the other hand, it can leave people who are just getting started in the field feeling completely lost. So, while I can’t guarantee what your path forward looks like, I can give you some advice on how to get a clearer sense of it.

Read the rest here

gorg.mel asks:

How do I text my significant other without coming off as a thot or a whore?

Heather Corinna replies:

The idea that women who sexually express themselves in any number of ways — like something as simple as expressing sexual desires to a partner through words, be it in speech or text — are sluts, people without or with less value or only sexual value, “bad” women or any of the other crappy things usually meant by people who think like this comes from sexism.

It’s sexist to believe that women can only sexually express themselves acceptably in certain ways or else they lack value or worth because they’re women. Words like you’re using here are almost exclusively applied only to women. Even when they’re rarely used about men, they don’t pack anything close to the same punch. We get questions from users who are girls or women nearly every day expressing this kind of concern. I could count the number of times on my fingers in fifteen years of this work that men or boys have expressed similar concerns, and most of them have been gay or bisexual.

Even the idea that people who are earnestly whores (who engage in prostitution or other kinds of sex work) are “bad” women is usually about sexism. Hint: they’re just people with a job they can do or want to do for the same or similar reasons people choose other kinds of work, like so they can eat and keep a roof over their heads. It’s also often about some other kinds of discrimination — like discrimination around economic class or race: women of color, for instance, are far more frequently arrested for prostitution than white women — but sexism is usually the biggie.

Ultimately, what you’re asking me is how to avoid sexism.

Read the rest of the answer here

A fantastic new piece written for women of all stripes (and spots!) by intern Samantha Benac, with some rad illustrations by Isabella Rotman to boot. Score!


Meet the founder of hellyeahscarleteen, one of the best sex ed websites for teens!

Our amazing founder, Heather!

Hello Tumblr-verse!

We’re getting started on our shiny new boards ! 

We haven’t yet linked the new boards in our main site navigation, because we’re still putting some finishes on them, and want to softly launch them to make sure we’re all good to take more traffic in there.  But if you’d like to come over and get started now, you’re more than welcome to.

We will likely be quiet and pretty inactive on all our social media channels for the next week or so.

Our much-loved and intensely-used UBB — the first direct service we created, and still our most utilized, with close to 70K in registered users! — has not only been dying a slow death, it’s been trying to take other parts of our site with it to the grave. (It’s been acting like one seriously pissed-off zombie.) This has been, as it turns out, the primary cause of our technical issues lately.

So, it is time for us to let it go in peace and create a new message board system. Because summer for us involves both more traffic, but also often less volunteer availability, we already have our hands very full during the summer as it is.  We would not have picked this time to make such a big change and do such a big project, but ultimately, we don’t have a choice.

So, we’re limiting what other efforts we can to hopefully get this up and running, put our dear, old UBB in its final resting place (we can’t migrate any of the data or accounts, but it will be made a read-only archive in perpetuity) and get our site back at its usual zippy speed and functionality.

We’ll be back on all our channels soon, and appreciate your patience! :)

Hey Y’all,

We’re looking to make some changes to our social media presence, and we’re looking to get some thoughts and feedback from our followers and users.  So, if you’ve got a minute, we’d love to hear from you!

Just a brief request from us to the world-at-large, primarily with the aim of making our users lives a little easier. Secondarily, it’d also make the lives of those of us who work to help them daily in these areas easier, too, which would sure be nice.

Please do us and everyone else a favor and stop using certain words with very specific meanings as general shorthand.

Often some of these words and frameworks just really aren’t shorthand for what you mean, and they confuse the heck out of people and make something even less clear that’s already confusing enough. We do have clear, specific language we can use for many of the things people tend to use vague language or shorthand for, and when it comes to something as complex as sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, it really helps people out most when we use the right words to express what we mean.

In other words, this isn’t about us or others being nitpicky jerks about semantics. Rather, it’s us — and usually others when they ask for the same — trying to do what we can to help people understand things clearly, and feel less confused, rather than more.

For instance:

When you say sex, do you mean intercourse? Then say intercourse, not sex, which can mean an incredibly wide range of things, of which intercourse is only one. Do you even more specifically mean penis-in-vagina intercourse? Okay: then please just say that. So easy!

• On a similar note, when you are talking about rape or sexual assault, that is what you’re calling it, right?  Not sex or “unwanted sex?” If you’re doing the latter, please stop.

When you are talking about any vaginal bleeding in general, are you calling it a period? If so, please stop. A menstrual period — which is actually not even mostly blood in the first place! — is a very specific kind of flow that occurs for very specific reasons. But either vaginal bleeding or uterine bleeding can happen for any great number of reasons, none of which are a menstrual period: from vaginal abrasions or cervicitis, from spotting with ovulation, the withdrawal bleed for those using hormonal methods of birth control, breakthrough bleeding from those methods, from some sexually transmitted or other infections, ovarian cysts, polyps or fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, the side effects of some medications and even things as seemingly unrelated as something like celiac disease or thyroid disorders. None of those things, or any of the other many, many causes of vaginal bleeding are a menstrual period.

When you say “pregnancy symptoms” do you mean things happening with the body expressly, and only, due to someone actually being pregnant? If not, please stop saying that. Things like feeling tired, having weird food cravings, breast changes, missed periods, bloating, weight gain, increased discharge, frequent urination and a host of other things that certainly can and often do occur with people who are pregnant but which also happen to occur for a wide array of other reasons, both for people who are not pregnant as well as people who are.

When you say vagina, do you specifically mean the vaginal opening and canal? If not, please don’t use that word. We have language that accurately describes the genitals, and when we all do our best to use them, it helps people to avoid freakouts for no good reason, to best describe issues to healthcare providers so they can be served best, and to best communicate clearly with partners when it comes to what they are and are not consenting to with sexual activities.

When you say bottom or butt, do you mean the buttocks? Or do you mean the anus? Or the rectum? Or the entirety of someone’s genitals? (Or that someone is bottoming to someone else who is topping?) Whichever it is, do try and be specific. Consider this: someone saying it’s okay for a partner to touch “their butt” may mean their buttocks, not their anus. We’ll want to know, and be clear, what is meant.

When you say “safer sex,” do you mean the tools and practices we can use to reduce our risks of sexually transmitted infections If so, great!  Or, when you say that, do you mean contraception or birth control, the methods or devices we can use to reduce the risk of pregnancy?  If you mean the latter, there are your words: contraception or birth control.  Family planning is another one used to describe pregnancy — not STI — prevention.

When you aren’t sure what’s going on with something or someone, or do not know what to call something, do you just grab for some vague shorthand, or use words for that thing that you’re not sure are the right ones?

If so, allow us to introduce you to one of the most helpful, honest and gorgeous phrases — in my personal opinion — in the English (and every other) language:

"I don’t know."

(Insert the sound of angels, unicorns, spaghetti monsters or whatever-you-want on high with harps and sparkly things here to express the glory of this phrase adequately.)

"I don’t know" is such a wonderful thing to say, especially if and when we really just don’t. Giving someone the idea we do when we don’t doesn’t help them, and often it only sends them on a wild goose chase to follow whatever trail leads after the wrong crumb was left for them.  We get to not know things — us, you, everyone.  No one is the expert of everything, and good gravy, no one should be expected to be.  If you’re working in sex ed at all, be it more formally or DIY, you are not going to know things a LOT, because sex and sexuality has some serious legs that for everyone to always have an answer, you would basically have to be an expert on everything.

So, we strongly endorse, “I don’t know,” as well as a follow-up to that that involves doing our best to refer someone who wants an answer we don’t or can’t have to the kind of person or service which more likely would know, or could do whatever is needed that we/you/whoever can’t to find the answer.

There’s also an extra bonus to saying “I don’t know” as a practice when you don’t and you are working with young people. As anyone who has ever been a young person knows, you can easily feel like you’re a big jerk because you don’t know everything, but everyone else seems to. When the everyone-else are people older than you, that also often involves them lording that over you, and giving you the idea that you can’t know things and they can (even when they don’t), so you’re lesser than them.

Of course, eventually, you figure out everyone really doesn’t know everything, it’s just that an awful lot of people act like they do.  But before you figure that out, not only are you likely to give people authority — including in areas where that choice can really impact your life and how you are making your choices — who sound like they have it, but probably don’t, you also feel like a dope for longer than anyone needs to.  So, when you start to hear people you respect saying they don’t know everything, it can cut that dopey-feeling-time down substantially, leave you feeling like a lot more of an equal, and also helping to assure that you don’t make choices based on information that isn’t sound. In other words, “I don’t know,” not only is the best thing to say when you really don’t, it also gives the gift of making clear to a young person that they are not the only one who does not know things and that it’s okay not to know things. Sweet.

There’s a pretty long and wretched historical precedent of people using unclear or vague language when it comes to sex, sexuality and sexual health that has most often arisen out of the desire to assure people don’t fully understand things as best as they could.  We’ve got a long history in most of the world of sex, sexuality and sexual and reproductive health being used as ways to control people, and intentionally enabling ignorance or obfuscation has always been a big part of that. So, while it may seem small, in a lot of ways using clear language also does a pretty kickass job of pushing against that kind of stuff, and little by little can go a really long way when it comes to empowering people in these areas. We get a lot more control and agency with our own lives and bodies when we have clear ways of communicating about them that are earnestly meaningful.

Ah, the bonuses of communicating clearly: they really do never end! :)