Over the years, we’ve had many Scarleteen fans — especially older siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, camp counselors, babysitters or other folks who’ve loved Scarleteen for themselves and wanted to pass its goodness on to the younger people in their lives — ask if they should refer preteens to our site.
The thing is, most of our content is aimed at and made expressly for those who are in their mid-to-late teens or their early-to-mid twenties. Our readers and users have generally wanted and most appreciated in-depth, longer pieces with information and approaches most relevant for their age groups. Our content can work for some younger readers, but in general, due to its length and depth alone, it just usually isn’t that accessible for most younger readers.
Some of the subject matter we cover also won’t be all that relevant for them: preteens or very young teens, for instance, aren’t typically going to need to manage long-term sexual relationships, sexual healthcare or more complicated relationship models, make choices about cohabitation or often even yet be considering the kinds of sex where contraception or even most STIs are a potential issue.
We’re not worried that our content will harm or traumatize younger readers who try and read it (that’s not a thing), we just know much of it won’t fit most of their needs that well. Plus, while seeing just how much content we have on the site can feel like a real boon when you’re a little older, it can feel overwhelming to someone younger, especially someone younger who might get the idea they will need all that content in order to manage their sexual life. We’ve always done our best to be in-depth, because sex, sexuality and relationships are complex, but to also make things that ultimately make sex, sexuality and relationships feel more manageable for our readers and users: we certainly don’t want to make it seem harder or more complicated than it is!
- Amaze and Amaze, Jr.: a series of videos expressly designed to provide accurate, fun and engaging sex, sexuality and bodies education for pre-teens and very young teens
- Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
- Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies and Growing Up by Heather Corinna and Isabella Rotman
- The Our Whole Lives (OWL) program has curriculum for younger learners
- This article from Planned Parenthood about how to talk with pre-teens about sex and sexuality
- Unhushed curricula for middle school (and more)
But we’ve also always understood, appreciated and empathized with this ask! Solid sex ed resources for preteens, particularly those that are also inclusive and sex-positive, are unfortunately still few and far between (but do check out that sidebar there for some good stuff). We want them, too! We’ve also figured that once Wait, What? came out, we might start seeing more users younger than our usual folks at Scarleteen. Lastly, we’ve also wanted some shorter, easier-to-read, more basic pieces for our disability section so we can start to do better when it comes to providing content for those with (or those helping people with) intellectual disabilities.
All of this and more is why we are ultra-mega excited to introduce you to our new section: Quickies!
Quickies are condensed, simplified versions of some of our most-read, best-loved content that also will often be a good fit for many somewhat younger users, or those new to sex education. They’re those core pieces of sex education that we think should be available to everybody, if possible. Like everything we do around here, they’re highly inclusive, and don’t uneccessarily or arbitrarily assign gender or orientation to anything. We’ve carefully created and edited them for lower literacy and to work better for those with intellectual disabilities, too. (We’re in the middle of working out a tiny hiccup on the index page with advice columns in this section, but expect that to be ironed out shortly.)
Over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out 20 – 30 of these. Today, we’re debuting with Quickies that cover:
- sexual anatomy
- the menstrual cycle and periods
- healthy relationships
- pleasure and fulfillment
But wait, there’s more! Each quickie also has a printable PDF version that fits on one double-sided sheet of paper, attached to the bottom of the page. Like our other content, these are free resources anyone is welcome to use within the basic conditions we mention on them (you use it as-is, including the attribution to us on it, and you don’t use it for profit). We know how many educators — whether you teach in a school, clinic, shelter, community group or in unschooling/homeschooling environments — don’t have big (or even any) budgets for sex education materials. We hope having these free resources can help you out. They’re all potentially good for younger or pre-adolescents, those with learning or other intellectual disabilities, ESL readers or groups where you just want to start with the barest basics of a thing and then branch out on your own from there.
They might also come in handy if you’re doing general education, caretaking or group leading when any of these issues come up, so you can get a quick start to a bigger discussion. If you want to talk about more ways you can use these or any other part of Scarleteen in the work you do, we’re always happy to help out with that, just drop us a line here. In the event you’ve got a special request for one of our articles you’d love to see made into a quickie, feel free to let us know about that, too!
We’re pretty stoked to get this project started, and we hope you’re as into it as we are!