Heather Corinna founded Scarleteen in 1998 and remains its creative and executive director, lead editor and designer. Heather is still engaged with all aspects of the day-to-day operations, including its direct services. Scarleteen is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary year.
Scarleteen is an independent, grassroots sexuality and relationships education and support organization and website for young people in their teens and twenties. It is primarily online, truly comprehensive sex education that draws from educational theory and models like those of Maria Montessori, John Holt and A.S. Neill, that’s medically accurate, progressive, inclusive, pleasure-based, unabashedly pro-choice, trusts young people, and is queer, feminist and working-class led.
Scarleteen.com is visited by millions of diverse people each year — and works with thousands of them directly through its direct services and in-person outreach — most between the ages of 15 and 30. It was one of the first and only sites specifically providing sexuality and relationships information and support for young people, and has remained the most popular and most widely used of such dedicated sites worldwide throughout its tenure.
- Static content online: Thousands of original and comprehensive sexuality, health and relationship articles, guides, factsheets and in-depth advice answers, and external resource lists. Scarleteen’s content is informed by the express needs of its readers, written by adult, emerging adult and teen educators and writers, has long set the standard for inclusivity in sex education for young people, and is always fact-checked and based in current, medically-accurate information.
- Interactive services: Scarleteen offers highly moderated message boards to provide a safe space for its users to ask questions, get emotional support or get help understanding or finding our static content. Scarleteen also operates a text/SMS helpline — staffed by real people, not bots — and an online live chat service, in addition to maintaining active, largely-followed social media. These direct and interactive services and interactions inform Scarleteen’s content by design.
- Referrals: Scarleteen refers users and readers to other sexual/reproductive healthcare services, likes STI testing, contraception, and pre-natal or abortion care; mental healthcare, LGBTQIA support, general children and family services, and sexual abuse and other crisis care.
- Outreach: Scarleteen provides offline teen outreach and staff training, primarily through sexual/reproductive health clinics, community and school groups and shelters. Additional outreach, training or education has been provided at colleges, universities, schools, community centers and conferences. Heather Corinna and other Scarleteen staff are frequently asked to speak with the media about teen and young adult sexuality, sexual health and sexuality education.
- Mentoring and leadership: Scarleteen provides ongoing mentorship and guidance for its volunteers, and supports youth leadership inside and outside the organization. Scarleteen is considered by many to be a highly influential leader in progressive and inclusive sexuality education, and we have also directly participated in and supported activism to influence and change public policy, like teaming up with the ACLU to fight the COPA.
To find out more about Scarleteen and its approach to sex ed:
- About Scarleteen
- Where The Wild Things Are, Or, How Scarleteen Came to Be
- Scarleteen testimonials
- About the Staff & Volunteers
- Scarleteen Is…
- What is Healthy Sexual Development?
- What Would Maria Do? One Sex Educator’s Ever-Evolving Manifesto
- What is Feminist Sex Education?
Scarleteen is an entirely independent, grassroots organization without any kind of public funding: it is and has almost exclusively been funded solely by private, individual donations and grants. The majority of our users do not have their own incomes with which to donate, and there is very little funding available for inclusive, comprehensive and innovative sex education, so fiscal support must come from individual adults. Staying afloat and continuing to provide all that Scarleteen does with its meager budget is exceptionally challenging. If you’d like to support Scarleteen by making a donation, you can do that here.