Website review by
Susan Yudt, Common Sense Media
Scarleteen Website Poster Image
Parents recommend
Edgy sex-ed site best suited for mature teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn a lot about anatomy, their own growing and changing bodies, sexuality, and how to have healthy relationships. The advice, articles, and insight consistently encourage visitors to be smart, safe and make wise decisions and even includes specific information about what constitutes consent. Interaction is limited and most content is static, but its focus on self-respect, healthfulness and consequences is significant. Scarleteen provides frank yet friendly information and advice to questions about sex.

Positive Messages

The site emphasizes the importance of consent, respect, and equality when it comes to sex and relationships, and encourages readers to take care of their sexual health and mental health needs.


The site addresses topics like rape, abusive relationships, and self-injury.


The site covers a wide range of sex-related topics, including anatomy, pregnancy and STD prevention, abortion, sexual orientation, and sexual pleasure.


The articles are written in an educational voice that uses proper terms for body parts, sex acts, etc. Some user-generated content contains sex slang ("d--k," "jerking off").


Small Google ads; links to Amazon for purchasing a book affiliated with the site.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some content on drinking, smoking, and drugs that discusses health concerns and the risks of sexual activity while under the influence.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Scarleteen is a sexual health site that is educational and medically accurate but sometimes explicit. Parents' comfort level will probably depend on how much they think their teens should know about sexuality. The site includes information that's geared toward younger teens (articles about self-esteem and puberty, for example) as well as more "adult" topics that aren't normally addressed in sex-ed classes (like sexual pleasure). The site identifies as feminist and pro-choice and explains its philosophy as "a nonjudgmental and unbiased attitude of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding for young people, whether they choose to be sexually active or not."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCindyMeela April 5, 2019

It's okay. It has good information, but I have disagreed with the owner and her staff

This site is definitely better than a lot of American resources on sexuality. It's great information for someone just learning or someone who needs clarifi... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byell123 July 24, 2019
Teen, 14 years old Written byElle124 March 26, 2012


This site has really helped me learn about the psychological components of sex, and non-intercourse options. My school has a very minimalist sex ed program (ie.... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byxheartbeat May 22, 2011

For Teens

I felt a little awkward going to this site since I use a public computer but this is stuff that kids my age need to know and aren't getting it in many plac... Continue reading

What's it about?

Teens have several ways of finding information on Scarleteen. The home page alone is chocked full of information, from \"What's New This Month\" that includes seasonal themes (ex: summer love, and using your more flexible summer schedule to explore sexual health care options), to recent questions and message board posts; teens can also go straight to the topic on their mind. Scarleteen bills itself as the site with \"sex ed for the real world -- inclusive, comprehensive, and smart sexuality information and help for teens and 20s.\" Younger teens may appreciate the seeing that older teens and college students still have questions.

Is it any good?

Billing itself as "Sex Education for the Real World," SCARLETEEN takes a frank, nonjudgmental approach to talking about sex with a cheeky style -- there are puns aplenty -- that will appeal to older teens. While some of the subject matter may be controversial, the information provided is accurate and can give teens get a better understanding of their bodies and their sexual feelings. The advice on relationships and emotional health is particularly insightful, from tackling stereotypes like "real men don't cry" to exploring options for teens seeking psychotherapy -- subjects that many health classes never address. Also helpful is the "Find-a-Doc" section, which connects readers with health care providers, counseling services, and other resources.

Online interaction: Registered users can ask and answer questions in the forums. Users are respectful and helpful, and there are many staff and volunteer moderators who frequent the boards.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about media messages about sex. What TV shows or movies depict sex and relationships in a way that's realistic?

  • Every family has different opinions on the best approach to discussing sex and sexual health. Talk about your values and expectations when it comes to sex. Some teens are afraid to talk to their parents about sex. Would your teens feel comfortable approaching you if they had a question or concern? Why or why not?

  • How do you know who (or what) is a trustworthy source of information about sex and sexual health?

Website details

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