“Sex ed for the real world.” And it certainly is. Scarleteen covers all of the essentials, from the nitty gritty basics of what sex is all the way up to understanding how STDs work, exploring your sexuality in same-sex relationships, different sex positions, uses of lubricant, masturbation, consent, abusive relationships, the works. It’s aimed at teens and people in their early 20s but honestly, everyone could benefit from the information on this site.
“A youth led project to raise awareness about how boys talk to girls and what is appropriate.” This website is written from the perspective of women and girls being talked down to, intimidated and disrespected when it comes to relationships and sexual behaviour. While not a comprehensive sex education site it gives very thorough information on the issues of consent, sexting, and appropriate chat up lines. Its advice on what to do if you have sent a sext and now regret it is particularly good. Written specifically for teens, both boys and girls.
“Sexual health stories, FAQs and resources.” This site has a great combination of straightforward fact banks as well as written accounts by teens who want to share their experiences. It has sections for LGBTQ, abuse and violence, relationships, and the standard birth control and STDs. It’s a body-positive website written by teens, for teens, so they sure know their audience. It even tackles the issue of male rape, something you don’t often see on sex ed site. Check it out.
Planned Parenthood: Info For Teens
The title is a bit of a misnomer; while this site is definitely aimed at teens it deals with topics that affect full grown adults too. Planned Parenthood is a cornerstone of sexual education, abortion rights and other sex-positive movements which have caused quite a stir in the United States among more conservative residents. You can trust Planned Parenthood to talk you through anything and everything to do with sex education, and if you want to go beyond the “teen” section they’ve written about general health care, emergency contraception, men’s sexual health and more. Remember this website has a United States slant – “What does Obamacare mean for me?“ doesn’t apply to teenagers in the United Kingdom!
Go Ask Alice
Got a question? Go ask Alice! This isn’t just a sex education site, though they definitely cover that area: if you have questions about your emotional health, alcohol, drugs, religion, this site has it covered. Essential reading includes their section on Non-Consensual relationships, which includes pointers on identifying unhealthy and abusive relationships. The site uses a question and answer format (hence the name) with accessible, detailed answers provided. The site promotes sex-positivity and is a non-judgmental space. If you have questions about your sexuality or are struggling with your gender identity, they write about that too, though the site could benefit from collating its transgender articles more efficiently. It’s suitable for people in their teens and older.
Young Women’s Health
This website focuses on health issues for, you guessed it, young women. It’s a great site which addresses questions about lesbian sexual health, emotional wellbeing in relationships, knowing how to recognize abusive relationships, and more. It’s written to be supportive, positive and non-judgmental and goes far beyond the scope of sex education – this is a comprehensive website for young women who are going through puberty, dealing with secondary school and growing up. Aimed at teens and young women.
Young Men’s Health
Don’t worry boys, you’re not being left in the dust! This is the partner site for Young Women’s Health and covers many of the same topics. What I like most about this website is that it writes about abusive relationships in exactly the same way as it does on the women’s website – it doesn’t make assumptions based on gender in this regard, dispelling the common myth that men cannot be abused in a relationship. It also covers some of the must-know areas: sexual orientation, gender identity, but there isn’t very much about the topic of consent. Aimed at teens and young men.
Kink is not covered in your standard sex education websites, because it’s seen as a specialised or sometimes inappropriate area. However, understanding the ideas behind kink can prove an important part of understanding consent, the difference between fantasy and real life sex, and the concept of safe spaces for acting out our sexual desires. This does mean that the websites on the subject are often written for and contain content only suitable for people over the age of 18. Please bear that in mind before you click on any of the following links!
XeroxMag: Alright, So What Is BDSM?
Content warning: naked images in the header, written adult subject matter
This site is a great introduction to the concept of kink. It’s a no-nonsense written account answering the most frequent questions people have about BDSM kink. It explains definitions, and puts particular emphasis on the distinction between abuse and BDSM, as well as distancing BDSM practices from mainstream pornographic materials. It explores the ideas of how dominants and submissives can work together and dispels a lot of misconceptions people may have about BDSM. The page linked is a simple introduction and does not contain any explicit BDSM content (apart from the website header!) but there are links on the page to more detailed written accounts of BDSM practices for those who are curious or want to learn more.